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Western Springs Stadium hub for RWC 2011 teams

Auckland City Council
Media release

18 December 2009 

Western Springs Stadium hub for RWC 2011 teams

Western Springs Stadium’s selection as a Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011) training venue will deliver long-term benefits for Aucklanders and provide opportunities to be involved in this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 today confirmed that Western Springs Stadium will host Tonga and Samoa during the pool phase of the tournament.

Auckland City Council will upgrade the sports field, lighting and buildings before RWC 2011 to ensure Western Springs Stadium provides a world-class experience for the players.

The council’s Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee last month endorsed the improvements, which will establish a superior event facility for the people of Auckland.

“We are pleased to be able to use this opportunity to provide another significant long-term benefit for Aucklanders. The improved versatility of the stadium facilities will help us continue to deliver community, cultural and international events, and help hundreds of players enjoy grass roots sports,” says committee chair Greg Moyle.

Long-term tenant at Western Springs Stadium, Ponsonby Rugby Club, has one of the longest histories of club rugby in New Zealand, with close to 1000 registered players, and the fourth largest junior membership in New Zealand.

Ponsonby Rugby Club president, Bryan Williams, says the upgrades will provide more community access to high quality recreational facilities. “This will encourage participation and involvement in the sport and build on the history and status associated with Ponsonby Rugby and our communities.”

As part of their commitment to the tournament, visiting teams will stage open access training sessions, giving the local community and schoolchildren a chance to experience the hype of the tournament.

People will be able to watch the teams train, and have their photos taken with their favourite players, get autographs, and support the teams as part of an adopt-a-second-team programme.

The approved $3.74 million upgrade was one of three options considered by the committee. This option delivers the best value for money in terms of current and future maintenance, achievability within RWC 2011 timescales, future proofing, and the largest potential for public utilisation.

A detailed design for the building upgrade is due to be completed early next year, with the field upgrade starting in April.

Another venue within Auckland city, Mt Smart Stadium, has also been selected as a training venue for both pool matches and the knock-out phase.


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