Rugby to come out of the dark at Yarrow Stadium


Taranaki's Bradley Slater came out of the dark against Manawatu on Friday night at Yarrow Stadium.

Andy Jackson/Getty Images

Taranaki’s Bradley Slater came out of the dark against Manawatu on Friday night at Yarrow Stadium.

The man in charge of the $70 million Yarrow Stadium rebuild has apologized to fans if their match day experience suffered because of poor lighting on Friday night.

Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) director of corporate services Mike Nield blamed “teething problems” for the poor level of lighting during the national provincial championship match between the Bulls and Manawatu.

The standard of lighting left many at the ground, and even more watching at home, wondering why it was so dark given that the four lighting towers had supposedly been upgraded to produce a 50% brighter experience at a 30% reduction in power.

A number of people compared it to watching a club rugby training night such was the quality. It was not what they had expected given the pre-match hype of Taranaki returning under the lights for the first time in three years.

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But getting an answer to the problem proved almost as problematic as a French referee explaining the importance of not time-wasting to a Wallaby fly-half.

Taranaki Rugby, who admitted they were disappointed at the standard of lighting and shadowing on the field, first passed the problem on to the New Plymouth District Council as stadium managers.

Players struggled to see what was happening behind the scrum in Taranaki's match at Yarrow Stadium.

Andy Jackson/Getty Images

Players struggled to see what was happening behind the scrum in Taranaki’s match at Yarrow Stadium.

The New Plymouth District Council then booted the ball down the road to the Taranaki Rugby Council as stadium managers.

Eventually Nield called “my ball”, as the TRC owns the venue, and followed it up with a punt of his own.

Taranaki Regional Council's Mike Nield has apologized to rugby fans.

SIMON O’CONNOR/Stuff

Taranaki Regional Council’s Mike Nield has apologized to rugby fans.

“We had some teething problems with the new LED floodlights, and we apologize if this affected people’s enjoyment of the game on Friday,” he said via a statement.

“The lights were running above broadcasting standard lux (illuminance level), and we worked closely with the TRFU (Taranaki Rugby) and Sky TV throughout the game.”

The crux of the problem, according to Nield, was the lights were supposed to be part of the team effort, joining those on the east and west stand to give overall coverage of the ground.

The problem with the co-ordinated lighting plan was the roof on the west stand was not put on due to delays in construction, which means it has no lights, while the east stand has yet to be built as part of the rebuild.

Yarrow Stadium is due to be completed in 2024 after a $70 million rebuild.

TRC/Stuff

Yarrow Stadium is due to be completed in 2024 after a $70 million rebuild.

“While we had tested the current configuration before the game, clearly that configuration was wrong,” Nield admitted.

Contractors were now working on improvements to the programming for Taranaki’s last home game of the season against Counties Manukau on Wednesday. (print: tomorrow)

As for the stadium, the roof on the West Stand would be put on over summer, while it was expected the East Stand would be completed by 2024.

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