Ellis Park Stadium will be packed to the rafters when the Springboks play the Wallabies in the final Vodacom Tri-Nations Test on Saturday.
Ellis Park management and the Golden Lions Rugby Union are preparing to put up the “Sold Out” signs soon. “There are about 2000 tickets still available as we speak. But as I look out of my office I can see a long queue at the ticket office,” Lions CEO Andy Turner told keo.co.za. “The response has been phenomenal and we are expecting it to be completely sold out by Saturday.”
It may even happen some time tomorrow.
Although the Boks win over the All Blacks last weekend has helped, the sales were going well before they played at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace. “We had sold about 47,000 tickets before the last Test anyway. In fact, sales are going better than normal. We usually have about 2000 walk-ins on match day, but I suspect we will be sold out before then.”
Although ticket prices range from a hefty R350 to an even heftier R400, it seems this has had little effect on the public turning up for a match the Boks are favourites to win, if for no other reason than the charm of the venue. “I think because Australia has not won here since 1963, and that is their only victory, the encounter is very popular because history shows the fans will witness a win,” said Turner.
Ellis Park has long been regarded as South Africa’s premier rugby ground. Apart from hosting the World Cup final in 1995 it has also been the venue for some memorable Springbok victories in the last few years.
Who will ever forget Werner Greeff’s try and conversion after the final hooter in 2002 that sealed a dramatic 33-31 win over the Wallabies? And last year Ellis Park rocked with Madiba as he celebrated his birthday and recorded a 33-20 win that erased the 12-30 defeat in Sydney earlier in the year. “The atmosphere for last year’s Test with Nelson Mandela was truly magnificent. Hopefully we will have a similar atmosphere on Saturday.”
Again the Boks are trying to reverse their fortunes (after losing 49-0 and 20-18) at Ellis Park this weekend. There will be no Madiba Magic this time, but the confidence boost and the fact they are playing at Ellis Park will be a major factor for Jake Whiteâ€™s team.
Springboks v Australia (At Ellis Park):
2005 won 33-20
2002 won 33-31
1998 won 29-15
1969 won 30-11
1963 lost 9-11
1961 won 28-3
1953 won 25-3
1933 won 12-3
By Andrew Hollely