Vuvuzelas find few friends in South African rugby venues (Reuters)

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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – As rugby reclaims its usual place on South Africa’s back pages, administrators countrywide are determined to ensure that the controversial vuvuzela plays no part in the sport’s post-World Cup future.

The noisy plastic trumpet was a major talking point at the soccer extravaganza but it has since been banned from most rugby venues, including Soccer City, the stadium that hosted last Sunday’s World Cup final and awaits the Springboks next month.

South Africa will play New Zealand’s All Blacks in a Tri-Nations match at the renamed 88,000-seater National Stadium on August 21 after the local Golden Lions Rugby Union decided to move the match from their regular home of Ellis Park.

“We’ve done research and the feedback from players and match officials is that it’s very difficult to communicate with the vuvuzela,” Golden Lions president Kevin de Klerk told Reuters.

“I know there’s still a lot of sentiment around. It’s not a personal thing but that’s how it stands at this stage in time.”

That view appears to be echoed around South Africa’s rugby venues, with Cape Town’s Newlands having already banned the vuvuzela from last month’s test against France.

When De Klerk’s Golden Lions play Western Province there in a provincial Currie Cup match on Saturday, fans will be greeted by numerous signboards displaying: “No vuvuzelas. No musical instruments.”

Despite the vuvuzela’s absence, De Klerk said rugby had to embrace the soccer World Cup’s legacy in order to survive, starting with utilising the stadiums built for the tournament.

Ellis Park is the spiritual home of the Springboks and was the scene of the 1995 World Cup victory over the All Blacks, but the venue’s ageing state and its location in a run-down part of Johannesburg’s business district have become negative factors.

“Ellis Park is the field of dreams, it’s where the 1995 World Cup was won but time moves on, unfortunately,” said De Klerk, a feared lock forward who played 13 tests between 1974 and 1981.

“There’s great sentiment and a great history. I understand it more than most because I started playing there in 1968 as a schoolboy but we’ve listened to our fans.”

(Editing by John O’Brien)

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