The Vodacom Bulls, the Emirates Lions, Leinster Rugby, Zebre Parma and the Vodacom United Rugby Championship have come together [in the spirit of united rugby] to serve fans and lovers of enthralling sportainment in Gauteng, with a rugby feast to remember.
The two big Jukskei rivals will host consecutive double-header weekends over round’s 17 (Saturday 15, April) and 18 (Saturday 22, April) of the 2022/23 Vodacom United Rugby Championship, at Emirates Airline Park and Loftus Versfeld Stadium respectively.
The return doubleheader weekend at Loftus will also feature a bruising South African domestic rugby clash in round 7 of the 2023 Currie Cup competition, a contest for bragging rights that cuts across the Jukskei.
Edgar Rathbone, BBCo. Chief Executive commended the tournament officials for their flexibility in supporting clubs that are seeking to create meaningful experiences for fans around the competition.
“I commend Martin (Anayi) and the entire URC team, our sponsors and the broadcaster(s) for their unwavering support as we are always exploring ways in which we can better our offering to all of our patrons. The spirit of the competition is one that fosters unity amongst the franchises and we are duty bound to collaborate for the growth and betterment of our sport,”
“We are buoyant that this doubleheader will add value for the money South Africans spend around gamedays and ultimately we are also confident that the quality of rugby on display will rubberstamp the tournament’s legacy in the growth of the sport in our country.”
Lions Rugby CEO, Rudolf Straeuli remarked: “We are incredibly excited at the prospect of hosting three quality international club sides all in one day at the iconic Emirates Airline Park. Heading across the Jukskei the following weekend to Loftus Versfeld doesn’t get any better from an overall sportainment experience by the two host franchises,”
“Since its inception, the URC, in partnership with their sponsor and broadcast partners, have been at the forefront of sports innovation and the double-header weekend/s are testament to this.”
“Sport in South Africa is constantly in search of creativity especially when it comes to fan engagement, and we believe that through this unique collaboration, rugby in particular can lead the way in bringing stakeholders together and growing the game for the greater good” Straeuli concluded.
Stefan van der Merwe, BBCo Chief Commercial Officer extols the doubleheader as the best opportunity yet to rubberstamp the tournament as a family-oriented product.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have the willing support and partnership from the participating franchises in wanting to make this day a success and it is our collective ambition to put together two weekends that will round off what has already been a historic season of Vodacom United Rugby Championship rugby,”
“We have seen the power of having multiple games in one venue in the past and how when that is complemented by great entertainment for the whole family, everyone can feel as though they got something out of a wonderful family day out in the sun. This is a formula that has worked well, specifically in this competition, in Wales and we are confident that we can learn and borrow from that model,”
“We had more than 41 000 people visit Loftus for the North versus South derby and we are confident that Gauteng will come together (again) and set another new URC record with 52 000 people at the fortress.”
As a result of these event changes, alterations have also been made to the kick-off times of all four games.
Previously, the Emirates Lions were due to kick off at 13:00 UK / 14:00 SA in both rounds followed by the Vodacom Bulls fixtures at 15:05 UK / 16:05 SA.
The fixtures have now been confirmed as follows:
DOUBLE HEADER SCHEDULE:
Saturday 15 April 2023
Vodacom United Rugby Championship – Round 17
13h00pm – Vodacom Bulls vs Zebre Parma
16h00pm – Emirates Lions vs Leinster
** all games at Emirates Airline Park
Saturday 22 April 2023
Vodacom United Rugby Championship – Round 18
13h00pm – Emirates Lions vs Zebre Parma
16h00pm – Vodacom Bulls vs Leinster
Currie Cup – Round 7
18h40pm – Vodacom Bulls vs Fidelity ADT Lions
** all games at Loftus Versfeld Stadium
All games will be broadcast live on SuperSport in South Africa and across the African continent, plus Viaplay, Premier Sports,TG4, RTÉ , Discovery + & URC.tv in other territories. Games are live on FloRugby for fans watching from the USA.