THE Springboks will be riding a wave of passion which they hope will help them complete a clean sweep when they meet England in the third and final rugby test at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium tomorrow.
|Road closures for test
ROAD closures around the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium due to the test will take effect from 7am tomorrow until after the match. They include:
Some roads will allow only one-way traffic. They include:
- Stebonheath Road to Somers Road;
- Lakeview Road to Smart Street;
- Leyland Street to Rhodes Street;
- Leyland Street to Innes Street;
- Leyland Street to Shepherd Street;
- Leyland Street to Bagshaw Street, and
- Prince Alfred Road to Quick Street;
- Milner Avenue will be one-way traffic from Sydenham Road to Smart Street.
- Prince Alfred Road will be one-way traffic from Rhodes Street to Quick Street.
Drop-off zones for taxis and buses will include:
- Govan Mbeki Avenue between Mount Road and Milner Avenue
- North Street between Innes and Bagshaw streets, and
- The bus lanes between York Road and Theale Street.
Parking is allowed along streets outside the road closure zone and at:
- Sydenham Primary School in Prince Alfred Road;
- Dr Viljoen Primary School in Voyle Street;
- Cillie High School sports fields in Ambrose Road;
- Lawson Brown High School in Bond Road; and
- Khumbulani High School on the corner of Leyland and Bagshaw streets – all at a cost of R40 per car.
Parking for the disabled is available on
Milner Avenue and Fettes Road and will be indicated by signage
Prohibited items at the stadium include skateboards, scooters, roller blades, bicycles, knives, weapons, fireworks, illegal drugs, large flags or banners that might obstruct the view of others, whistles, musical instruments or loud- hailers, braais, camping chairs and cooler boxes, refreshments, professional cameras or video recorders and umbrellas. – Lee-Anne Butler
Since arriving in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, the Springbok squad have been bowled over by the enthusiasm of rugby fans in the region, and a stadium which is set to be packed to capacity should provide a thrilling finale to the series.
The match, which starts at 5pm, has seen fans flock to the Bay, with many hotels full or close to capacity for the weekend and restaurants reporting the strongest trade they have seen in months.
Bay fans are so starved of big- name tests that most of the 46000 seats available for the match have been snapped up.
As a result of the overwhelming response by fans, rugby bosses have promised they will try to bring more high-profile games to the city – starting with the Springboks against Australia next year.
Only a few hundred tickets were still available late yesterday.
Fan Wesley Bradfield flew from Cape Town especially for the clash.
"We’re going to witness a Pommie whitewash. I planned my business trip and family visit to the Bay around this game,” he said.
Bay resident Alan Shepston was confident of a win. "I’m feeling very positive about this game,” he said.
"The first two tests have gone well and there is a lot of new young blood to give us a highly skilled game and a convincing success.”
EP Rugby Union president Cheeky Watson said he was certain the Bay was in for "an amazing test”, and he hoped it would be the catalyst for more big games in Port Elizabeth.
"Our next aim is to try to get a test against Australia next year.
"The sort of response we had for last year’s New Zealand test and tomorrow’s game makes our job so much easier,” he said.
Bok coach Heyneke Meyer reiterated what the Boks had been saying about the support.
"I knew there was passion among the people of South Africa, but the reception we have received in Port Elizabeth has been unbelievable.
"Driving to training, you could get a sense of the excitement.
"And when we got to Grey [High School on Monday], a lot of the players said it felt like we were playing in a game – with 5000 people there for our training,” Meyer said.
"It puts more pressure on us because we want to make the country proud.” Flank Siya Kolisi, a former Grey High pupil who is part of the extended Springbok squad, was also in awe of the warm reception.
"We have never had an atmosphere like this at a practice and it has been awesome to be back here,” Kolisi, 21, said.
Another former Grey pupil, Mike Catt, is in the opposing camp this weekend and will be plotting the downfall of the Springboks.
Catt left Port Elizabeth for the United Kingdom 20 years ago and returned this week as part of the England coaching staff.
He was thrilled to be back "home” but also remained firmly fixed on winning tomorrow’s test.
"We’re pretty focused for Saturday and we’d like to finish off with a win to be honest,” Catt said yesterday.
Former Bok coach Peter de Villiers also weighed in on South Africa’s chances during the signing of his autobiography, Politically Incorrect, in the Bay last night.
"We’ve got a good chance of winning the game,” De Villiers said. "South Africa has a good defensive team compared to England and, yes, we will win the game.”
Meanwhile, business in the city is booming as a result of the test.
Port Elizabeth Hotel Group managing director Trevor Lombard said the Beach Hotel was fully booked for today and tomorrow.
"People are going as far as St Francis to get accommodation, so it is a very good weekend for Port Elizabeth,” he said.
Protea Marine Hotel marketing plan coordinator Melany Botha said the hotel was fully booked for tomorrow and had a 98% occupancy rate for today.
"We have about two or three large groups of international guests, but the majority of our guests this weekend are domestic travellers,” she said.
Blue Waters Cafe owner Bartho de Vries said he expected the restaurant to be very busy because it had been fully booked for the entire weekend.
According to the SA Weather Service, a deep low pressure system will develop over the Western Cape interior and is expected to move towards the Eastern Cape during the course of tomorrow morning, with a chance of light showers throughout the day.
Tomorrow’s maximum temperature is expected to be 18°C. A moderate westerly wind of 20km/h is forecast.
Krypt, Tommy Lawson and Cut and Paste will entertain fans at the stadium.
The Coleske Brothers will perform the national anthem while Danny K and Kabelo Mabalane will lead the crowd in a half-time birthday song for former president Nelson Mandela, which will be recorded by SuperSport and screened on Madiba’s birthday next month. Additional reporting by Kholeka Kumalo