EPRU Stadium

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EPRU Stadium
The Boet
Full name Eastern Province Rugby Union Stadium
Former names Boet Erasmus Stadium
Location La Roche Drive
Summerstrand
Port Elizabeth
South Africa
Coordinates 33°58′55″S 25°38′22″E / 33.98194°S 25.63944°E / -33.98194; 25.63944Coordinates: 33°58′55″S 25°38′22″E / 33.98194°S 25.63944°E / -33.98194; 25.63944
Owner Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality
Operator Eastern Province Rugby Union
Capacity 33,852
Field size 100m X 70m
Surface Grass
Closed 2010
Tenants
Mighty Elephants (Currie Cup) (1959 - 2010)
Bay United (PSL/NFD) (2008 - 2010)

EPRU Stadium, also known by its original name of Boet Erasmus Stadium, was a stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The letters "EPRU" in the name represent the Eastern Province Rugby Union, the company behind the stadium's historic primary tenants, the Mighty Elephants. The original name Boet Erasmus Stadium was named after Boet Erasmus, a former mayor of Port Elizabeth.[1] The stadium held a capacity of 33,852 people and served primarily as a venue for rugby union matches but also hosted a number of football fixtures.

Background[edit]

Rugby[edit]

Boet Erasmus stadium was primarily used as the home of rugby in the Eastern Cape. Situated in the affluent suburb of Summerstrand, it hosted matches at Test, Super Rugby, Currie Cup, Vodacom Cup and club level.[2] It was regularly used by the Eastern Province Kings under their previous names, Eastern Province and the Mighty Elephants and hosted their two home matches during the 1994 Super 10 season. The stadium was also the intended home of the Southern Spears, a team that was scheduled to play in the 2006 Currie Cup in preparation for its admission to the Super Rugby starting in 2007. However, the Spears were later denied entry into both competitions.

The stadium is credited for being the first stomping ground of a number of Springbok legends, included in which are Danie Gerber, Garth Wright, Frans Erasmus and Hannes Marias.[2]

The Battle of Boet Erasmus[edit]

On 3 June 1995, South Africa took on Canada at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in a clash that has since been dubbed the Battle of Boet Erasmus. The match, which South Africa ultimately won 20-0, was marred by an on-field scuffle which saw no fewer than four players involved in a brawl. South Africa hooker James Dalton, who had come to the aid of a teammate who had been struck on the back of the head, and winger Pieter Hendriks were suspended for the remainder of the tournament for their roles in the incident and could only watch from the sidelines as the nation went on to claim its first Rugby World Cup title.[3][4]

Football[edit]

The stadium was used as the home ground for Port Elizabeth-based football club, Bay United who moved to the stadium for their 2008/2009 season in the Premier Soccer League. The club used the stadium again at times during their 2009/2010 campaign in the National First Division. This was due to availability problems with their preferred home ground, the Westbourne Oval.

Closure and abandonment[edit]

Remnants of the EPRU Stadium in 2016

The stadium was officially closed in July 2010. The Eastern Province Rugby Union have moved all games to the new world class Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. The last match to be played at the stadium was a friendly against the Blue Bulls on 3 July 2010.[1] The Boet hosted age-group, amateur and club rugby matches after being officially closed but has since been abandoned, with vagrants and thieves having slowly dismantled the stadium to such an extent that all that remains are the concrete structures.[1] The local municipality, who own the property, has asked for proposals from the private sector for the redevelopment of the land.[2]

International tournaments[edit]

1995 Rugby World Cup[edit]

Main article: 1995 Rugby World Cup

The stadium was one of 9 venues throughout South Africa used for the Rugby World Cup. The stadium was used for group games in Group A. It hosted 3 games, including the match between South Africa and Canada:

Date Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
1995-05-26  Canada 34-3  Romania Group A 18,000
1995-05-31  Australia 27-11  Canada Group A 15,000
1995-06-03  South Africa 20-0  Canada Group A 31,000

1996 African Cup of Nations[edit]

When the tournament was moved to South Africa, the EPRU Stadium was chosen as one of 4 host stadiums. A total of 6 pool games were played at the stadium, as well as a quarter-final:

Date Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
1996-01-14 Ghana Ghana 2–0 Ivory Coast Côte d'Ivoire Group D 8,000
1996-01-16 Tunisia Tunisia 1–1 Mozambique Mozambique Group D 1,000
1996-01-19 Ghana Ghana 2–1 Tunisia Tunisia Group D 1,000
1996-01-21 Ivory Coast Côte d'Ivoire 1–0 Mozambique Mozambique Group D 500
1996-01-24 Algeria Algeria 2–1 Burkina Faso Burkina Faso Group B 180
1996-01-25 Tunisia Tunisia 3–1 Ivory Coast Côte d'Ivoire Group D 1,000
1996-01-28 Ghana Ghana 1–0 Zaire Zaire Quarterfinals 8,000

2010 FIFA World Cup[edit]

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the stadium was used as a logistics point for Port Elizabeth, a host city.

International matches[edit]

Rugby[edit]

Date Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
1955 Eastern Province 20-0 British Lions Tour match
1955 South Africa South Africa 22-8 British Lions Test match
1962 Eastern Province 6-21 British Lions Tour match
1968 Eastern Province 14-23 British Lions Tour match
1968 South Africa South Africa 6-6 British Lions Test match
1974-05-25 South Africa South Africa 9-26 British Lions Test match 55,000
1974-06-13 Eastern Province 14-28 British Lions Tour match
1980-05-10 Eastern Province 16-28 British Lions Tour match
1997-05-24 Eastern Province XV 11-39 British Lions Tour match
2006-06-17  South Africa 29-15  Scotland Test match 35,000

Football[edit]

Date Team #1 Res. Team #2 Round Attendance
2000-07-29  South Africa 0–1  Zimbabwe 2000 COSAFA Cup#Semi-Final
2003-06-14  South Africa 2–1  Trinidad and Tobago International Friendly 28,000
2006-11-12  South Africa 2–3  Senegal Nelson Mandela Challenge
2008-06-01  South Africa 0–1  Nigeria 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier 30,000

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lambley, Garrin (11 July 2013). "So sad. Boet Erasmus in Ruin". Sport24. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Foster, Grant (15 November). "Former EP Rugby home in ruins". SA Promo. Retrieved 11 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "'Battle of Boet Erasmus' remembered". News24. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "1995 RWC Battle of Boet Erasmus - South Africa vs Canada". Rugby Dump. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 

External links[edit]