Strengthening the game of rugby league around the world is paramount for its continued growth and popularity among fans, and in Cape Town, that has happened – as a new inter-club league competition was launched in Cape Town last weekend.
In a historic occasion, it was a win to the Cape Town Buccaneers against the Cape Hyenas (14-10), that starts a fresh new era for rugby league in Cape Town.
Denzil Watson, who is Deputy President of the Western Province Rugby Football League, and president of the Buccaneers side, said that the match highlighted the significance of the sport in South Africa and Cape Town.
“It is indeed a historical moment for our region as it is the first time that an organised league match is played in Cape Town,” he said.
“Most of the players are new to the game as all of them come from a rugby union background, but I'm pleased with the standard of play and I could see that they liked the physicality which comes
with rugby league.
“Although they are still coming to grips with league's rules, it's about the enjoyment factor and the players had plenty of that in that opening match.
“Our aim is to get a fully-fledged competition underway and I believe this was just the first step towards much bigger things.”
With a lot of the players coming from rival rugby union teams, the WPRFL has made its move to get as many new players as possible involved with rugby league, as they establish five clubs in the Southernmost city of South Africa.
These five clubs include the two aforementioned clubs in the Hyenas and the Buccaneers, as well as the White Sharks, the Cape Dolphins and Helderberg.
The games will be unique in the way that they are played, however, with an 11-a-side game scheduled with two 30 minute halves – with Watson suggesting that this is the best way to play it in the current rugby league landscape in the area.
“In Cape Town we enjoy a fast-paced and expansive game and we believe 11-a-side teams will make the game faster and showcase the players' skills better,” he added.