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After months of heated debate and impassioned argument, the venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup has finally been settled. A futuristic and reinvigorated Eden Park will host the match in all its glory.
The New Zealand Herald reports that this was not the New Zealand Government's first choice, but was settled upon due to a lack of consensus on the other proposals, which included a brand new arena on the wharf in downtown Auckland or an expansion of North Harbour Stadium.
The initial estimates for 60,000 seat Eden Park were close to $150 million. However, we all know that government estimates, the world over, cannot be relied upon. Hence, the latest estimate is $385 million, and likely to increase after more design modifications are finalised and approved.
From the rectangular shape of the playing surface (as seen in the scale model) it would seem that the days of the venue being labeled "multi-purpose" are well and truly over. Not according to this press release, however.
As great as the new facility will undoubtedly be, it would seem a great travesty to play the final of the 2015 Cricket World Cup at a rectangular ground where the boundaries would measure all of 65 meters from point to square leg. I am sure Eden Park management have some trick up there sleeve that involved removing temporary seating to make the boundaries wider, however, the playing area only seems to get smaller and smaller with each new redevelopment.
However, this is an issue for the future and we will cross that bridge when the future arrives. Until then, Aucklanders, congratulations on your "new" stadium. It looks as good as anything that has been built over the last 50 years over this side of the Tasman.
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