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NZRL's Holden sizing up Forsyth Barr


April 21, 2014

Holden sizing up Forsyth Barr

NZ Rugby League chief executive Phil Holden will visit Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium tomorrow, scene of what looms as the NZ Kiwis’ most important international outing this year.

The 30,000-seat indoor venue will host the New Zealand v England game on November 8, a clash that will likely decide at least one of the spots in the Four Nations final later that month.

After hard-fought battle in last year’s World Cup semifinals, where the Kiwis prevailed with a last-minute try to Shaun Johnson, this promises to be another thrilling match-up.

“If you can’t get excited about seeing a replay of the World Cup semi in probably one of the premier stadiums in the country, I’m not sure what would get your heart going,” says Holden.

“I think it’s going to be a big game in the context of the overall tournament – it could be the pivotal game for us, with the winners probably going through to the final.”

“I want to fill the stadium – we’d be aiming for that, obviously.”

NZRL has chosen to spread its three Four Nations fixtures around the country, with Whangarei hosting the Kiwis’ encounter with either Fiji or Samoa on November 1 and Wellington staging the tournament final on November 15.

Holden insists the decision was crucial in New Zealand’s preparations towards co-hosting the 2017 World Cup with Australia.

“We’re very keen to demonstrate that we’re a national game and broaden the reach of our elite team in terms of our profile,” he says.

“It’s all part of building towards the World Cup in 2017, so we’re very conscious of testing the interest in the regions.

“The Kiwis have never been to Dunedin, so we thought that was worth a look.”


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