28 Feb 2021

Return of rugby to Yarrow Stadium delayed until 2022

2:12 pm on 28 February 2021

The return of professional rugby to Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth has been delayed until 2022.

Taranaki Bulls v Auckland, Mitre 10 cup rugby held at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.  11th October 2019.  C

Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth. Photo: Photosport

The two quakeprone two covered stands at Yarrow have been closed in 2017 and 2018 respectively and its owner -- the Taranaki Regional Council -- is spending $50 million repairing and upgrading the facility.

It was initially hoped to complete the West Stand by mid-2021 in time for this season's National Provincial Championship.

But TRC Chairman David MacLeod said after a more detailed assessment the stand would not be ready until November - too late for the 2021 season.

"Unfortunately our wish to potentially have some sports and activities happening at the stadium this year is not going to come to fruition.

"The repairs of the West Stand are happening, but it looks like that will be complete towards the end of the year meaning that we'll have to wait until next year, 2022, until we get the use of the stadium."

MacLeod said the repair of the West Stand was mostly taking place under the structure.

"The foundations and the ground itself are being strengthened and stabilised to withstand seismic activity and meet earthquake safety requirements. This work also includes removal of the seats and the concrete bleachers under them.

As access to the foundations was made easier, the contractors, Clelands Construction, had been able to make a more detailed assessment of the work required, he said.

Taranaki regional council chairman David McLeod.

TRC Chairman David MacLeod. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

"The contractor always had to start the project to get a fairer understanding of what was required and like I say it's just a little bit of a disappointment that we can't get there this year but I think the public will understand we want to make sure this rebuild is done appropriately and correctly."

Taranaki Rugby Football Union chief executive Laurence Corlett was not too put out.

"It's fantastic that the Yarrow Stadium West Stand repairs are progressing well, ahead of a Yarrows Taranaki Bulls and Port Taranaki Whio return in 2022.

"This is very exciting for all of our stakeholders including our players, commercial partners, members and the general public. Our immediate attention is on a successful 2021 season while the strengthening project is completed."

Besides repairs to the West Stand, the Yarrow Stadium Redevelopment Project also includes:

  • Demolition of the East Stand
  • Design and construction of a new stand offering more flexibility and scalable capacity, with services also accessible to users of outer fields
  • Refurbishment of the main pitch
  • Updated LED lighting for the main pitch

MacLeod said the new facility would be "Yarrow Stadium plus".

"We're going for a venue that's fit for a wider range of users and scale of uses. It will be worth waiting for."

The tenders for the East Stand demolition and rebuild are yet to be let.

The Yarrow Stadium repair and upgrade was a recipient of $20 million from Government's 'shovel-ready' projects kitty.

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