KNYSNA NEWS - Yes, there will be Springboks playing in Knysna on Friday, Stormers coach John Dobson confirmed on Tuesday.
Two of South Africa's largest rugby franchises, the Stormers and the Southern Kings, will be locking horns in a warm-up match at Loerie Park this Friday.
While the squads for either side haven't been confirmed, both coaches have stated that the game will be used to test the depth of their squads, with Dobson saying will be fielding Springboks in his side tomorrow. "There will be Boks going to the Kings game. We need to be fair to Knysna and the Kings, and to the integration of those players," Dobson said in a press conference according to Supersport. Meanwhile, according to SA Rugby Mag, interim Kings coach Robbie Kempson said "One or two of our players will be rested in view of us doing extra conditioning, and also having a couple of players coming back from injuries whom we will be able to utilise and see where they are at".
The Stormers typically ply their trade in the Super Rugby competition, where the Southern Kings also used to play before moving to the Pro14 competition in 2017. The Stormers have been preparing for the upcoming Superhero Sunday fixtures on 19 January, which is why they will field mixed strength sides this weekend. The Kings on the other hand have a break in their Pro14 campaign before they resume operations when they take on the Cheetahs on 25 January.
The match between the Southern Kings and the Stormers will take place this Friday 17 January, with kick off scheduled for 19:00.
According to Knysna municipal spokesman Christopher Bezuidenhout, the match came to fruition after interest was shown by the Stormers. Usually, the franchise chooses George and Plettenberg Bay as destinations, but this year opted for a bit of a change. "Stormers team manager, Chippie Solomon contacted Knysna Municipality to enquire if we would be interested in hosting a warm-up match between the two franchises," Bezuidenhout said.
Bezuidenhout further said the match had a larger goal than simply providing entertainment to the people of Knysna. "Sport tourism has proved to be an effective catalyst for stimulating the local economy and to provide exciting opportunities to market towns such as Knysna as preferred tourist destinations. The match itself will enhance economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs who will be given the opportunity to sell food and other merchandise at the venue."
According to Bezuidenhout, they are hoping this won't be the last time this type of match is played in Knysna. "This will be the first time that a Super Rugby franchise like the DHL Stormers comes to play a rugby match in Knysna, but we hope to establish a long term relationship with them to have more such matches in future," Bezuidenhout said.
While the match will only kick off at 19:00, there will be a Stormers clinic for children between 11:00 and 13:00. Entrance to the match is free to the public.
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