November 15, 2019

TET Stadium to host Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup matches in 2020

Recently re-signed Yarrows Taranaki Bulls captain Mitch Brown will literally be at home during the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup season.

Inglewood’s TET Stadium will host all five Yarrows Taranaki Bulls home matches next year, a ground where Brown played all his junior and club rugby.

Due to the repair of Yarrow Stadium, which stands were deemed earthquake prone in December 2017 and June 2018, the New Plymouth venue will not be in a position to host matches next season.

Brown said the TET Stadium will have a community feel, like it did when he made his debut for the Bulls in 2012 against King Country in front of a capacity crowd.

“I think the atmosphere will be outstanding with a smaller, more intimate stadium. I love to play at TET Stadium in front of my family and friends and a community that is very passionate about their rugby. I can’t wait to play at a ground I grew up playing at.”

Brown said his memories of TET Stadium were playing bare feet rugby on a Saturday morning and going down to watch the Inglewood seniors in the afternoon.

The Chair of the Taranaki Regional Council, David MacLeod, confirms that Yarrow Stadium’s main pitch will be out of action for 2020 because the repair and refurbishment project will be well under way.

“Contractors and the Council aim to minimise disruption and have the main pitch available for use as soon as possible.”

Yarrow Stadium’s outer fields will remain open and available for use throughout 2020.

As a result, TET Stadium was considered the best option to host all five Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup regular season matches in 2020 and potential play-off games. The venue has a capacity of 3,000 including covered seating for 1,050 fans and existing facilities to meet player and corporate requirements.

The TET Stadium’s proximity to New Plymouth gives supporters and players a short drive from the city to the venue – approximately 15 minutes and is close to infrastructure the city has to offer for visitors. The venue will also be able to cater rural supporters.

Inglewood has hosted first class matches before, first in 1937 at Jubilee Park, which is on the same site as the TET Stadium. Games held at the venue include Brown’s debut match, which was the Ranfurly Shield challenge against King Country, a match Taranaki won 57-16.

Taranaki Rugby interim Chief Executive Officer Paul Veric said the union is excited to take Mitre 10 Cup rugby into community and has been working with the TET Stadium Trust to ensure the venue will be ready.

“The Trust has done a great job to ensure supporters, members and sponsors are catered for. More importantly, we want to ensure that the playing facilities are up to standard to produce quality rugby.”

Veric said that additional seating will be placed in front of the club rooms along on the western side. Marquees will also be erected at the ends of the ground to offered extra hosting options.

The union has been working alongside New Zealand Rugby to ensure Taranaki’s matches are held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons as the lights at the TET Stadium do not meet broadcast quality standards, he said.

TET Stadium Facility and Marketing Manager Robyn Towning said the stadium are excited to have first class rugby at the venue.

“The TET Stadium trustees and management have been working closely with TRFU over the last couple of years to support them through their venue challenges. We are very excited to now have the opportunity to showcase what an amazing venue we have for both club and provincial rugby. We know the Inglewood community and Taranaki rugby fans will really get behind us to make this an exciting season of rugby for the Taranaki Bulls.”

She said that the atmosphere is going to be incredible for players and fans alike.

For the Taranaki Community Stadium Trust, it’s an opportunity to promote many other exciting developments planned for the TET Stadium over the next few years, she said.

Former All Black, Taranaki and Inglewood halfback David Loveridge, who notched up 24 tests for New Zealand and 135 games for the province, said while it’s sad that Yarrow Stadium won’t be used, he hopes people will support matches held in Inglewood.

“Hopefully good crowds will turn out for Taranaki as it’s close to New Plymouth and also closer for central and southern Taranaki fans.”

Loveridge, who is now based in Wellington, has some great memories of TET Stadium in his earlier years.

“I played junior and senior rugby games from the late 1950s to 1986 on Jubilee Park, as it was known as in those days. A semi-final in the late 1980s against Eltham went into two extra times and finished in the dark.”

It wasn’t just rugby that Loveridge remembers about the venue. As a young sportsman, he watched the New Zealand Athletic Championships on a grass track in the early 1970s. He recalls huge crowds turning out for the Greatest Show on Earth and remembers it being a great day with a ‘wonderful rural feel about it’.

He also remembers when the artificial track was installed at the venue, now a Mondo-all weather track.

On top of Brown recommitting to Taranaki Rugby, 2019 vice-captain and midfielder Teihorangi Walden has also re-signed to the Bulls for next season. Walden has led Taranaki on two occasions.

The Mitre 10 Cup season kicks off in August 2020 and the draw will be released early next year.

TET Stadium to host Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup matches in 2020