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Rugby Park to undergo international upgrade

getty

    09 Dec 2010     getty

Southland Outdoor Stadium Trust chairman Ian Tulloch told the Southland Times that a $275,000 grant means that the construction of a media tower, as well as upgrading the field lighting, can go ahead.

The famous ground has a well established history, and is the home of Southland in the ITM Cup, as well as occasionally hosting the Highlanders during the Investec Super Rugby season.

Built in the 1900’s, it has undergone many transformations, with the most notable being the replacing of the South Stand – built in 1923 – nine years ago.

It has also been the site of many famous victories, with the Wallabies, New South Wales and Queensland losing there 13 times, while in 1950 and 1966 the British and Irish Lions were defeated.

Southland have also recorded famous victories domestically as well, with arguably the biggest triumphs being the famous Ranfurly Shield win over Wellington in 1920, while recently the Stags successfully defended the famous Log o’Wood six times.

Tulloch was glad that the redevelopment could finally proceed.

"The project couldn't be commenced until all the funding was in place," he said to the Southland times.

"The co-operative approach of our community funders in working together for the people of Southland should be commended – it's a great example of what can be done by a relatively small province."

It is hoped that the project will be finished in time for the Highlanders match against the NSW Waratahs on April 30.

"We'd like to use that game as a shake-down for the Rugby World Cup – that's the logic behind the timeframe," Tulloch said.

"It's going to stand us in really good stead for other international games and events well into the future. We've committed to making this happen for the Rugby World Cup and having two really great international games is a real coup for Southland and Invercargill."

Scotland and Argentina will play Romania on September 10 and 17 respectively.

"This really is going to be Southland on the world stage. We've certainly hosted international sporting events in the past but I think the Rugby World Cup is truly something else," Tulloch said.

"It's a new level and I'm really thrilled for the people of Southland that our city and stadium are going to be part of the action."