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Stadium getting ready for rugby

PUBLISHED: 07:32 27 August 2015 | UPDATED: 07:32 27 August 2015

Peter Spence and Steve Heap install the crossbar for the rugby posts at the former Olympic Stadium in preparation for the friendly between the Barbarians and Samoa (pic: Andrew Baker)

Peter Spence and Steve Heap install the crossbar for the rugby posts at the former Olympic Stadium in preparation for the friendly between the Barbarians and Samoa (pic: Andrew Baker)

Andrew Baker ©2015

Olympic Park venue set to host first match

The Stadium on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is being transformed ahead of hosting its first ever rugby match this weekend.

The venue stages Barbarians v Samoa on Saturday, enabling final operational testing at the venue ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 matches next month. Rugby posts were this week erected as well as pitch markings being put in place ready to welcome players and fans to the stadium.

Along with the installation of the goal posts and flag poles, the Field of Play has been marked out in accordance with Laws of the Game this week, creating the final important update to the Stadium, and completing the transition from an athletics-only stadium to a multi-purpose venue.

From September 23, some of the world’s best players and teams, including current Rugby World Cup champions New Zealand, will take to the turf at the iconic venue.

Steve Brown, Managing Director of England Rugby 2015, said: “The Stadium is a tremendous venue and we’re delighted to see its transformation into a Rugby Stadium ahead of its first ever Rugby match on August 29 which will serve as an opportunity for final testing ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015. “Many will remember witnessing some thrilling sporting performances at this venue in 2012 and we hope to build on these with world-class rugby and entertainment to provide spectators with long-lasting memories.”

To deliver a consistent look and feel across all venues during the tournament, guidelines have been implemented to ensure aspects such as grass length and the mowing pattern are consistent, and this will be visible at the stadium this Saturday.

In addition, England Rugby 2015 has provided pitch equipment to the venue ahead of Rugby World Cup 2015 including branded post pads, flag poles, branded flag pole pads and moon flags.

David Goldstone, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, added: “It’s tremendously exciting for the first rugby match to be about to kick off in our fantastic multi-use Stadium.

“The match will be a wonderful way to welcome the world’s greatest rugby teams and their fans to East London, and we are really looking forward to Rugby World Cup matches that will follow soon after.”

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Rugby World Cup 2015 host city Newham, said: “We showed during the 2012 Games that we can create a festival atmosphere. Newham is looking forward to welcoming great rugby players from across the world to a transformed stadium that will offer the best possible experience for competitors and spectators alike.”

Alongside changes to the Stadium’s inner bowl, fans can expect to see a number of updates to the exterior of the stadium during Rugby World Cup 2015, including a large spectator plaza with live on-stage entertainment and giant LED screens to entertain fans ahead of matches and during half time.

Tickets are still available for Barbarians v Samoa at ticketmaster.co.uk and for Rugby World Cup matches at the Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at tickets.rugbyworldcup.com.

Rugby World Cup 2015 matches at the Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Wednesday September 23: France v Romania, 8pm

Thursday September 24: New Zealand v Namibia, 8pm

Sunday October 4: Ireland v Italy, 4.45pm

Wednesday October 7: South Africa v USA, 4.45pm

Friday October 30: Bronze play-off, 8pm


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