THE FIRST batch of steel that will mean Gloucester's new South Stand will start taking shape was maneuvered into place today.
By Friday, three cranes will be on site at Kingsholm to lift the uprights into position that will create the first section of the new Grandstand.
In the next two days, 75 tonnes of steel will be delivered and that will be followed by another 75 tones the following week. Once it is all in place the new development will be clearly visible.
The new South Stand will take Kingsholm's capacity from 12,500 to 16,000 and will be ready for the start of next season.
It is now possible to see the outline of the stand taking shape on a ground floor level and Gloucester's operations manager Sean Roberts said: "When you walk through the site now it is possible to picture lift shafts, the reception area and a clear outline of the stand.
"This is a significant step because the work now effectively moves from a demolition site to a construction site. In two months, the old Grandstand has been demolished and new development is now well underway which is great for everyone involved."
Gloucester's managing director Ken Nottage is delighted with the speed of the work and added: "We are conscious of not getting too far ahead of ourselves at this stage of the development but this is obviously a major advance in the build and to see the steel go in is a great step forward.
"The look of the site changes by the day, a tremendous amount of work has already been accomplished and I think it is fantastic for everyone associated with the club to see it take shape.
"These are tremendously exciting times for the club - the season tickets are now available and going well, the player recruitment has really captured the imagination and the South Stand development plays a key part in the progress."
Speaking to the media following the 31-33 West Country Challenge Cup defeat to Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium, Director of Rugby David Humphreys was full of praise for his side's battling qualities in a bruising encounter but concerned about the injuries picked up.
The West Country Challenge Cup fixture against the Exeter Chiefs at the Memorial Stadium in Bristol on Saturday (kick off 3pm) will be Gloucester's last chance to work on things like new combinations says Director of Rugby, David Humphreys.
Speaking after the 30-21 West Country Challenge Cup defeat at Bath, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke of the improvements his team are making as preseason progresses but acknowledges that there is still work to do ahead of the start of the Aviva Premiership.
Speaking to the local media ahead of Saturday's trip to Bath Rugby in the West Country Challenge Cup, front rower Nick Wood spoke of the hard work put in across the extended preseason and highlighted the competition for front row spots in the squad.
Gloucester have named a 30 man squad for the latest round of West Country Challenge Cup action against Bath on Saturday, with Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressing the need to keep an eye on player workload ahead of what will be a long, tough season.
Describing the 50-7 West Country Challenge Cup win over Bath on Sunday as a '...good hit out...', wing Charlie Sharples admitted that it had been a good opportunity to put into practice things that the squad have been trying out in training in recent weeks.
Speaking to the local media after the 50-7 victory over Bath Rugby on Sunday, David Humphreys was happy with his squad's effort, with the most important aspect being the game time earned by his players.
Gloucester make wholesale changes to the side that started at Exeter last Saturday as they prepare to take on Bath at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol on Sunday in the West Country Challenge Cup (kick off 3pm). The Director of Rugby told GRTV that the players are raring to go and that he's looking forward to seeing different combinations in action.