Rugby in the Eastern Province has very strong and distinguished sporting, political, and cultural ties. You see, in the Eastern Cape, rugby is in our roots – it’s in the struggles of our generations past as well as our moments of glory, yesteryear sporting heroes and rugby legends. Some of the greatest ever pre-apartheid rugby players in the world came from the Eastern Cape. Some of the best black post-apartheid rugby players in the world are from the Eastern Cape. This says something about where we’ve come from and where we’re going, and tells a little bit about the resilience of our people, our tenacity, and ability to overcome even the greatest of obstacles. In the Eastern Cape, rugby now belongs to us all. And as we unite towards our future, we can only hope and believe, that the mountain to climb is not greater than our determination, and that the road ahead no longer than our past, and that the very spirit of our combined God-birthed talents and abilities, spears us ahead towards a clear future objective: to be one of the great rugby franchises on the face of the planet. This is Eastern Province rugby on the rise.
Eastern Province rugby was founded in 1888 and became known as a formidable force in South African Rugby. Rugby greats such as Gavin Cowley, Danie Gerber, Deon Keyser as well as Garth Wright have donned the hooped black and red jersey. For many years Eastern Province took on the bigger provinces and performed admirably whilst the Boet Erasmus stadium hosted many important Springbok test matches, drawing capacity crowds of up to 40000. Over the last decade however, Eastern Province rugby has seen turbulent times with poor performance on and off the field of play.
The new management and administration team headed by Cheeky Watson (who was the first white South African rugby union player to take part in a mixed race rugby game) and his executives, Anele Pamba (one of South Africa’s great up-and-coming black rugby executives) and his staff, together with internationally acclaimed head coach Alan Solomons (and his management team), are focused on creating a fresh new and professional rugby culture that represents the aspirations and hopes of people of and from the Eastern Cape. Eastern Province Rugby is getting back to its roots, and the results are already showing in brand performance, both on and off the field of play.