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Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

loftus versfeld stadium pretoriaLoftus Versfeld Stadium is a rugby and association football stadium situated in Pretoria, Gauteng. The stadium has a capacity of 51,762 for rugby union and hosted the 2009 Currie Cup final. It is occasionally used for local football matches as well. In June 2010, the stadium hosted opening round games and one game of the round of 16 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Loftus Versfeld Stadium is home turf of the Premier Soccer League dynamos Mamelodi Sundowns, the Blue Bulls Currie Cup rugby team and the Bulls Super 15 rugby squad and is also a thriving venue for big concerts.

Loftus Versfeld History
During the 1920s the Pretoria Sub-union had not foreseen the growing need for fields, but in the first part of that decade, the Sub-union, in co-operation with the Municipality, systematically put their existing rugby fields under kikuyu. University and Boys' High followed their example in 1923, so that there were seven grass fields available in that year. The Railway Institute field at Berea Park was similarly grassed in 1924. At the end of 1928 there were ten grass fields in Pretoria.

The Pretoria Sub-union also wished to improve the facilities at the Eastern Sports Ground. In 1923 the City Council commenced the building of a concrete stand which could accommodate 2 000 spectators. At the end of 1928, mainly as a result of the All Blacks tour, the Sub-union could show a record financial gain and used the profits to erect the changing-rooms and toilets they had waited for, for so long.

When Mr Loftus Versfeld died suddenly in May 1932, the Sub-union paid this founder of organised sport in Pretoria, who had dedicated years of his life to rugby, both as a player and administrator, the fitting tribute of renaming the Eastern Sports Grounds. From then on, it was to be known as Loftus Versfeld.

The phenomenal growth of rugby was accompanied by a dearth of playing fields. Apart from the 3 605 pupils who played rugby in 1937, there were 2 202 senior players actively involved. As early as 1934 the Pretoria Sub-union was unable to provide enough fields to satisfy the needs of the schools. The prospect of two additional municipal fields being laid out on the racecourse had not materialised by March 1936. During 1937 the Municipality laid out another field at Loftus Versfeld, while the Sub-union was granted the use of a field at Schoolplaats on the corner of Schubart and Boom Streets, which was used mainly for school rugby. By offering the use of their fields, the Police Sports Club, the University and the Railway Institute helped to alleviate the shortage of fields.

The Eastern Sportsgrounds were initiated on 18 April 1914. At present teams are playing on the same playing surface. In 1932 the stadium was renamed to Loftus Versfeld in honor of Robert Owen Loftus Versfeld, the founder of organized rugby in Pretoria. The N.T.R.U (Northern Transvaal Rugby Union) now B.B.R.U (Blue Bulls Rugby Union) was initiated in 1938.

Since 1948 there have been continuous improvements on the stadium:

1972 - Upper Eastern Pavilion / 1995 - East just as it is today.
1974 - Lower Southern Pavilion / 1989 - South just as it is today.
1977 - Main Pavilion
1984 - Northern Pavilion

Nowadays Loftus Versfeld can house 50 000 spectators


 

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