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Roll up and enjoy the finals

Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union chief executive Tony Hargood and Andrea Jackson, manager community facilities and activities at Masterton District Council, in front of the Sir Brian Lochore Stand at Memorial Park. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

JAKE BELESKI
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The remediation work has been done to get the grandstand up to standard, now let’s play some rugby.

That was the message from Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union chief executive Tony Hargood ahead of the club rugby finals on Saturday.

There had been concerns the reopening of the Sir Brian Lochore Stand at Memorial Park, which was closed after an engineering report in January found it did not meet earthquake standards, could be delayed.

But it reopened last Tuesday for Wairarapa United’s football match against the Wellington Phoenix.

Crucially for rugby fans, it will be open for those turning up to watch the three club finals on the turf on Saturday, while there will also be two other finals on the No 2 and No 3 grounds.

“The key thing for us was having a target date for the club finals,” Hargood said.

“We need to congratulate everyone who’s been involved in it – we make no bones about it, it was a bit of a logistical nightmare.”

Reinforcement beams have been installed and other adjustments made where necessary throughout the stand, and Hargood said having it ready to go for Saturday was critical.

“Our thanks go to everybody, and hopefully the stadium will last another 100 years.

“We did have plans in place for if the grandstand wasn’t open, but we got good progress reports during the process and here we are – let’s go play some rugby.”

Andrea Jackson, manager community facilities and activities at Masterton District Council, said having the stand open was a testament to the team who had been working on it within council, as well as contractors Rigg Zschokke, LGE Consulting, and Progressive Engineering.

“We’re thrilled to have the grandstand open well ahead of our initial deadline of July 29 – it opened almost two weeks earlier than planned.

“This was an incredibly important piece of work that needed to be done and it’s been a fantastic outcome for everyone involved.”

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