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."
Fly-half Billy Burns was named Man of the Match after the 35-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup victory over Stade Rochelais on Thursday evening, and was full of praise for all his team mates for the win after a short turnaround.
Gloucester have been in good form in recent weeks, but Backs Coach Tim Taylor knows that the Cherry and Whites will have to be at their best on Thursday evening (kick off 7:45pm) against a Stade Rochelais side flying high this season.
Speaking to GRTV after the bonus point win over Bristol, back row Lewis Ludlow revealed that despite a tricky first half, Gloucester backed their skills to come through, a faith that was evident in a strong second half showing.
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
Gloucester's much changed side had to overcome conceding an early try on Thursday evening, but responded in style to down Stade Rochelais by 35 points to 14 in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and set up a mouthwatering return fixture next weekend.
After taking 11 points from their last three games in the Aviva Premiership, including bonus point wins against Wasps and Bristol, Gloucester will be looking to continue their good form when they welcome La Rochelle to Kingsholm.