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Jon Cardinelli

World XV clash a boost for Boks


The Cape Town Stadium The Cape Town Stadium

The pros of a proposed game at the Cape Town Stadium on 7 June far outweigh the cons, writes JON CARDINELLI.

It has been reported that Saru and the WPRFU are looking to host a match between the Springboks and a World XV at the Cape Town Stadium just a week before the Test season commences. If this event were to be staged as planned, it would be a massive occasion and hopefully the first of many high-profile rugby clashes played at what is a magnificent sporting venue.

The debate regarding WPRFU's move from Newlands to the Cape Town Stadium has raged for some time, although it seems a matter of when, rather than if the Stormers and Springboks will play all their major games in Green Point.

In the short term, many other games have been proposed. Saracens hoped to tackle Biarritz in a European Cup game at the Cape Town Stadium in January 2012, but unfortunately the idea was shot down. Hopefully the latest move to see the Boks tackling a World XV will be more successful.

I agree with the coaches who complain that there is too much rugby, but at the start of an important Test season, it wouldn't hurt for the Boks to get a run a week earlier than initially planned.

In 2012, coach Heyneke Meyer had a few days with his charges ahead of the June Test series against England. In 2013, the situation improved in that the team and management was more settled, although the challenge of preparing the players in the short time frame between Vodacom Super Rugby and the start of the Test season remained.

Meyer may use this clash to try a few new combinations, or to allow his first-string side to build some momentum

This year, the Boks will get together following the Super Rugby fixture on the 31 May. They would have had approximately two weeks to prepare ahead of the first clash against Wales on 14 June.

It won't hurt to have a game against a World XV as part of the preparation. I'm sure it will be marketed as more than that, but essentially this match will serve as a useful warm-up for a team getting together for the first time since late November.

Meyer may use this clash to try a few new combinations, or to allow his first-string side to build some momentum. No doubt that the first game against Wales in Durban will see the strongest side picked as Meyer looks to start the 2014 season on a positive note.

It should also be remembered that a number of players have returned from long periods on the sideline. A clash against a World XV will provide these players with an opportunity to find their feet.

Here I'm talking about Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger, who have both been out of the international game for two seasons. Johan Goosen, Frans Steyn and Jaco Taute all missed the bulk of the 2013 Test season. They too would enjoy a run before the more testing games against Wales.

The occasion would also show Saru and the WPRFU the value in staging rugby games at this particular venue. However you look at it, it's a game that could have both long and short-term benefits.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images.

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