The Vodacom Bulls played a leading role in ensuring that the four local franchises’ home games in the United Rugby Championship are played in South Africa and not Italy.
News broke last week that the Bulls, Lions, Stormers and Sharks will play their scheduled home matches of this calendar year in Italy after URC chiefs determined that South Africa’s removal from the UK’s travel red list had come too late to alter the planned venues.
The decision didn’t sit well with the four franchises nor local fans who questioned the call, especially since South Africa had not only been removed from the red list but the government will allow fans back into stadiums to attend live matches.
According to Rapport, the Bulls are the union that rebelled against the URC’s decision during a meeting of the four local franchises with SA Rugby.
“They (the Bulls) requested the decision that SA teams have to play their round six and seven fixtures in Italy be revised,” a source told Rapport. “They demanded SA Rugby boss Jurie Roux contact the URC and renegotiate to have those two rounds of matches on home soil.”
On his part, Roux said he is happy that those fixtures will now take place in South Africa.
“The plans to play our teams’ home games in Europe was a nessecary step in light of the choas caused by the pandemic, but we are grateful that we’ve come to the point where we can welcome our friends from the northern hemisphere.”