Exeter Chiefs are developing Sandy Park Stadium to match recent success on the field and the imminent hosting of World Cup events. Sandy Park, alongside Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium, are the only two rugby club venues in the country that have been selected to host matches as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 which, according to a study undertaken by EY on behalf of the Organising Committee, has estimated £39m of economic activity up for grabs for Exeter, in welcoming players, fans and visitors to the city.
The initial stages of the club’s £10m investment, aided by Barclays, has raised the stadium’s match-day capacity to 12,500 people. The vast investment has not only seen a new £1m Desso-hybrid playing surface installed, the East Terrace redeveloped, and importantly the West Grandstand was transformed to accommodate both additional match-day spectators and corporate guests. Long-term plans for stadium development are in place.
Alan Quantick, Finance Director of Exeter Rugby Club, said:
The last few years has seen Exeter Rugby Club and Sandy Park embark on a wonderful journey of change and transformation. Not only have we established ourselves as a major force within English and European Rugby, but off the field we have developed Sandy Park into the region’s outstanding banqueting and conferencing venue.
The multi-million pound help we have received over a three-year period from Barclays has been outstanding and without their backing we would not be where are today. Together we have formed a partnership that has enabled us to fulfil a significant part of our long-term vision.
Memorial Stadium comeback
Gloucester Rugby has confirmed that it will play at Memorial Stadium as its ‘home’ ground when they take on Aviva Premiership rivals Bath Rugby and Exeter Chiefs in an exciting pre-season tournament. The three teams will meet on a round robin basis as they finalise their preparations ahead of the 2015-16 season. The start of the season proper is delayed, of course, because of Rugby World Cup 2015.
With Kingsholm being used for World Cup pool matches at this time, Gloucester can also confirm that they will play their ‘home’ fixtures at The Memorial Stadium, the ground of Bristol Rovers and former spiritual home of current Championship side, Bristol Rugby, who now ply their trade at Ashton Gate. CEO Stephen Vaughan explained the thinking behind the tournament and the temporary move to Brist
Everyone at Gloucester Rugby and within the city is extremely excited at the prospect of hosting four Rugby World Cup pool matches at Kingsholm. However, it has posed us a challenge in terms of our preseason preparations.
Even though the start of the Aviva Premiership season is delayed, we still need to prepare as usual and that means competitive rugby. So, we’re delighted that we’ve been able to organise this mini tournament with Bath and Exeter.
The nature of our agreement with Rugby World Cup 2015 means that we’re not able to use Kingsholm for our home matches. We’ve explored various options, but are pleased to confirm that we will play those games at the Memorial Stadium.
Fortunately, ‘The Mem’ is handily placed for a lot of our supporters and although we fully appreciate it may be slightly further for some, I know people will understand our reasoning for us having to relocate our fixtures.
Bristol Rovers have been fantastic through the process and I’m sure we’ll make it feel like home when the games are played.
We hope to see as many of our fantastic supporters down there cheering us on, as well as any local rugby fans who have a desire to watch Premiership sides in action.
Kings of the North
Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks will come together in a Kings of the North tournament to launch the new domestic season in September.
With the start to the league campaign delayed by the hosting of rugby’s World Cup in England, the three most northerly clubs in domestic top-flight competition will contest the new tournament on their respective home grounds.
The Kings of the North features six fixtures, with the clubs facing each other home and away, starting with the visit of Sale Sharks to Newcastle Falcons on the opening weekend of September and running up to Leicester’s home game against the Sharks on the weekend of October 10, just one week ahead of kick-off in the new Aviva Premiership season.