Elephants hoping new venue will boost home crowd

Andre Rademan
Andre Rademan
Image: George Byron

In a bid to boost home-crowd support, EP Rugby bosses have decided to play their SuperSport Rugby Challenge match against Western Province at the Police Rugby Club in Kemsley Park on Saturday.

EP Rugby Union president Andre Rademan wants a capacity crowd to turn up to cheer for the Elephants, who are searching for their first win of the season.

“Every game the Elephants play they get better and better,” Rademan said.

“Now we want a big crowd to come and support the team at the Police Rugby Club. The boys are very positive.

“We are taking the game to the people and that is what the SuperSport Rugby challenge is all about.”

Saturday’s game kicks off at 2pm.

Narrow defeats against the Border Bulldogs and SWD Eagles have left the Elephants licking their wounds and contemplating how to deal with a rampant WP side.

Elephants coach Ryan Felix said his men had come out with their boxing gloves on when they went down 40-37 against the Cavaliers in what proved to be a heartbreaking defeat for the men from the Bay.

Now they will have to don their fighting gloves again on Saturday when they bid for a first win of the campaign.

Thanks to a quirk in the way the fixtures have been drawn up, the Elephants will play both their matches against champions Western Province on home soil this season.

When the teams met at the Wolfson Stadium last month in an all-day SuperSport Challenge rugby festival, the game was deemed to be a home match for WP.

In the first game between the sides at the Wolfson Stadium last month, WP made a spectacular start to their title defence when they trampled the Elephants 59-12.
After marching through their campaign unbeaten last year, WP have shown they will again be the team to beat this season.

Though the lively crowd of 9 000 fans were left disappointed by the result in the opening game, they were treated to exhilarating running rugby by the polished WP side, who scored nine sparkling tries.

While unbeaten WP are top of the South Section of the Series Challenge standings, EP are at the bottom after four rounds.

The odds have always been stacked against Felix’s young side after they were unable to have a proper preseason.

Fielding mainly club players, the Elephants have come desperately close to pulling off wins in their previous games against the Border Bulldogs and the Boland Cavaliers.

While there has been heartache for the Elephants, it has been all plain sailing for the defending champions.

While the Elephants were edged by the Cavaliers last weekend, WP demolished the SWD Eagles 50-3 in a one-sided game in Oudtshoorn,

It was a clinical performance, showing hunger in both defence and attack, to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.