New Aviva Stadium unveiled in Dublin
May 15, 2010
The refurbished Aviva Stadium on Lansdowne Road will host it's first match in August © IRFU
The Aviva Stadium has officially opened its doors and will be ready for action at the start of next season.
The redeveloped stadium on Lansdowne Road, the oldest rugby ground in the world, was completed at a cost of €410 million and took three years. The newest addition to the Dublin 4 skyline is 47.65 metres high and and seats 50,000 spectators.
There has been some criticism of the capacity, which is just slightly higher than it was when it closed after Leinster played Ulster in 2007 and is significantly smaller than temporary home, Croke Park. But IRFU chief Philip Browne defended the size of the stadium, describing it as "bang on".
"It absolutely is," Browne told The Irish Times. "We have struggled at times to fill Croke Park. The clubs have taken the brunt of that. I can say that without any hesitation this is the financial engine that will drive rugby and soccer for the next 40 years. We have no qualms that this facility can do that for us."
Co-owners the Football Association of Ireland and Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen were on hand to open the new stadium, which is closely modelled on Arsenal FC's Emirates Stadium. The first fixtures in the new stadium will see a Connacht/Munster rugby selection take on a Leinster/Ulster selecton on Saturday, July 31, while South Africa will be the first international opposition on November 6.