Farewell to Newlands, mecca of memories
The Rugby Paper|July 25, 2021
Many of the things that have passed into rugby history are welcome to stay there: no one blessed with a beating heart and a functioning conscience misses the rebel tours of apartheid South Africa or England’s nocturnal depravities in Queenstown or Pablo Matera’s social media adventures circa 2012.
CHRIS HEWETT

At the same time, it is perfectly reasonable, not to say necessary, to mourn the demise and disappearance of things worthy of our undying regard. On the weekend of the first Lions Test against the Springboks, two of the lost treasures that spring immediately to mind are Newlands, the nerve-tinglingly evocative old stadium in the shadow of Table Mountain, and proper touring just about anywhere on the planet.

We cry for Newlands. The pandemic has forced the Lions to play all three of their 2021 Tests in Cape Town, yet the most venerable of the southern hemisphere’s rugby cathedrals visited on no fewer than five occasions by the moustachioed Scottish stockbroker Bill Maclagen and his pioneering spirits in 1891, is being deconsecrated. Rugby’s ancient hallelujahs must now be sung elsewhere.

There is no doubting the virtue of the sport’s new home in the city, the 12year-old Cape Town Stadium at Green Point. It has easier access and escape routes and as an all-seater structure, it gives the vertically challenged a decent view of the action. Where Newlands had more than a whiff of the museum about it, CTS smells bang up to date.

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