Scrum time for Royal Bafokeng

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg is growing in stature as a rugby venue, and its owners, Royal Bafokeng Holdings (RBH), are optimistic that it will soon have more feathers in its scrum cap .

The touring British and Irish Lions will play the Royal XV team at the stadium on May 30 in the opening match of the highly anticipated 2009 Castle South Africa tour series.

Bafana Bafana hosted Norway in a hugely successful Nelson Mandela Challenge last month in this world-class stadium - the first match after the Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup venue was refurbished.

In 2006, the Springboks played the All Blacks in the Vodacom Tri-Nations at this Rustenburg venue.

Speaking at the announcement of the Royal XV squad at Ellis Park Stadium yesterday, Mpueleng Pooe, RBH executive for public affairs, believes they will host another successful event.

"We are chuffed that for the first time in the history of rugby we will host the touring Lions in a community-owned stadium in a

rural area," he said.

"We are actively engaged in the development of rugby in the provinces and hope the rugby enthusiasts come in large numbers to cheer on our local boys."

RHB will kit the home boys and cover the rest of the costs.

The 27-member team is dominated by players from the newly crowned Vodacom Cup champions, GWK Griquas from Kimberley.

The team is also made up of players from the Pumas, the Falcons, Leopards and the Griffons unions.

The Royal XV:

Backs - Russel Jeacoks, Colin Lloyd, Egon Seconds, Bjorn Basson, Deon van Rensburg, Basil de Doncker, Hanno Coetzee, Rian Viljoen, Naas Olivier, Michael Bondesio, Jacques Coetze and Sarel Pretorius.

Forwards - Jonathan Mokuena, RW Kember, Devon Raubenheimer, Wilhelm Koch, Jaco Bouwer, Rynard Landman, Rudi Mathee, Jacques Lombard, Bees Roux, Albertus Buckle, Dawie Steyn, Stef Roberts, Rayno Barnes, Hannes Franklin and Pellow van der Westhuizen.