A new temporary uncovered stand will be completed in time for the Tasman Makos' ITM Cup match against Canterbury at Trafalgar Park next Friday, allowing more fans to get closer to the action.
The 2450-seat temporary East Stand has been erected close to the sideline, in front of the old wooden stand.
With the playing field having been moved further to the west for the Rugby World Cup, and the lighting aligned, a move back to its original position was deemed too costly.
This placed the old stand about 35 metres from the field of play, while the new stand is only 15m away.
The Tasman Rugby Union believes the new stand will provide much better views for fans and provide a real home match advantage for the Makos team.
According to TRU marketing manager Les Edwards, the Makos players enjoyed having the crowd close last year, when a large temporary Rugby World Cup stand was in place on the eastern side of the field.
“The players commented that for the first time, they could actually hear and see the crowd getting behind them in support.
"The temporary structure allows fans to cheer and shout and stamp their feet. It gives them permission to have a good time”.
The new stand will also give the television cameras something to focus on, in terms of showing close-ups of the fans.
“In previous years, the old wooden stand was poorly lit, and it seemed like an empty black hole on that side," Edwards said.
"This new stand will give a much better impression for Nelson to the television audience - but we do need to fill it."
The erection of the new stand, which will be in place for the 10-week duration of Tasman's ITM Cup campaign, has been made possible by the generosity of the Tasman district and Nelson city councils and three prominent businesses in the region.
The Tasman District Council has provided the seating infrastructure at competitive rates, while the Nelson City Council facilitated the project.
TNL transported all the seating and infrastructure to Trafalgar Park, Nayland Scaffold & Crane was responsible for erecting the stand, and Nelmac has agreed to maintain the grass beneath the stand during the 10-week ITM Cup season.
“These businesses are very supportive of rugby generally, and their commitment in time and resources to getting the stand up and functional at minimal cost is hugely appreciated by the union, and will be even more appreciated by our Makos fans," Edwards said.
Tickets to the new East Stand will cost $20 for adults and $15 for students & pensioners. Booking fees will apply.
- The Nelson Mail