Newlands Rugby Stadium will celebrate its 125th year of existence on Saturday, May 30 – when the DHL Stormers host the Cheetahs in an all-South African Vodacom Super Rugby Derby.
Newlands Rugby Stadium is regarded as one of the most iconic rugby venues in the world, having hosted some memorable matches over the years – at international, Super Rugby and Currie Cup level, with some great players, both locally and from abroad, having been in action on its hallowed turf.
At the same time as we celebrate the iconic Newlands Rugby Stadium’s 125th year, the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) will also be celebrating 23 years of unity this year.
The official 125-year celebrations – and marking 23 years of unity of the WPRFU – began with a formal dinner at the MolenVliet Wine & Guest Estate on Friday, May 22, with sponsors, corporates, Executive Committee and Board members, senior staff members and legendary past players and administrators in attendance.
The first official matches were played at Newlands Rugby Stadium on Saturday, May 31, 1890 when Villager and Stellenbosch met in such muddy conditions that the curtain-raiser between Bishops and Hamiltons had to be cancelled!
The records show that the university side won by a ‘goal and a try’ – the ‘goal’ was described by the legendary Fairy Heatlie as “the most remarkable dropped kick I have seen”. The famous ground was to see many more such unforgettable moments.
Newlands as we see it today was purchased, constructed and finally re-developed at huge cost and commitment over the past century by the efforts of dedicated members of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) and its administrators – to whom this magnificent stadium is a fitting monument. And we must never forget those faithful supporters who have followed the fortunes of their teams week in and week.
Newlands Rugby Stadium is a fitting testament to those men and women who have supported and believe in not only the WPRFU, but in the game of Rugby Football.