[small print] “if” it opens on time…

### ODT Online Thu, 17 Jun 2010
Rugby: Backing for ABs to play at stadium opening
By Alistair McMurran
Assistant coach Wayne Smith wants the All Blacks to be part of the official opening of the Forsyth Barr Stadium next year. Smith and members of the All Back team had a look at the stadium site yesterday.

At this stage, the plan is for the new stadium to be completed by early August next year. That would allow it to be used for the three Rugby World Cup games in Dunedin the following month. The window of opportunity for an All Black test is probably too small, as the Tri-Nations will be reduced next year and, barring a change in policy, Dunedin is not seen as a suitable venue for a Bledisloe Cup test.

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Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Geography, People, Politics, Project management, Sport, Stadiums

3 responses to “[small print] “if” it opens on time…

  1. wirehunt

    Here we go. I thought the whole point of this thing is so Dunedin WOULD be suitable for a test?? WTF

  2. anon

    Bledisloe Cup and Lions tests are classified by the NZRU as Category A which requires a 35,000 capacity stadium along with other things. Forsyth Barr Stadium doesn’t meet that criteria. Tri-nations against South Africa would be ok.

  3. Phil

    It also doesn’t (as my understanding) have a permanent fixed large screen. Which is another requirement for Cat A tests. The screen was deleted early on in order to reduce costs. Facilities for installing and operating a large screen will be supplied as part of the contract, but not the screen itself. The official statement at the time was that any party renting the facility, and requiring a large screen, would be responsible for the hiring of a screen.

    It is accepted that this is more of a “boutique” stadium. Which I go along with in some ways. Building a stadium for 35,000 people would not have brought more test matches to Dunedin, and it would have been even more wasteful to throw more money at the project to do so. The hue and cry over the Carisbrook changing rooms was just all smoke from the NZRFU (and others), in my opinion. None of the players seemed to have a problem with Carisbrook. It’s all about location, international travel infrastructure, and population density. Bledisloe Cup and Lions tests are the big money earners for the NZRFU. They will always go firstly to the larger population centres to maximise profits. Regardless of the size of stadium we built, we would always lose out to Auckland in the north and Christchurch in the south. More and more as tours become shorter and shorter.

    Of more concern is the increasing trend of playing Bledisloe Cup games outside of Australasia. That is clearly to increase game revenue, with Kiwi fans being shown exactly how they are viewed by NZRFU. It will only be a couple of years before a Bledisloe Cup game start getting played regularly at Twickenham as part of end of year tours by NZ and Aus teams.

    Auckland will always get a Bledisloe Cup or Lions test match when played in NZ. Which leaves the rest of the country to fight for the one of 2 remaining internationals in a series. Given the ongoing cashflow problems for the NZRFU, this is likely to come down to a bidding war. Something I hope we don’t get sucked in to.

    Category A tests were never going to be a regular offering. I still feel that the appeal of the stadium from outside of Dunedin is being overstated, but at least the designers have accepted one limitation. We’ll get Tonga, Wales, France, and the odd South African game. And generally the second string All Black team. As we always did.

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