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."
Henry Purdy, a first half replacement for Charlie Sharples, was amongst the try scorers in the 64-19 victory over Aviron Bayonnais on Saturday evening and told GRTV that it was a professional performance, one the team are happy with.
Gloucester's win in Treviso last week means that they need a bonus point win against Bayonne on Saturday evening to secure a home quarter-final (kick off 8pm), but Tim Taylor wants the team to focus on the performance first and foremost.
Billy Burns and Man of the Match Richard Hibbard spoke to GRTV after the 41-0 win in Treviso, on a day when preparations weren't ideal. They felt the team's attitude was key and also praised the travelling support.
Following the conclusion of the Stade Francais vs Harlequins game today, round six is complete and the quarter-finalists in the European Rugby Challenge Cup are now known with Gloucester set to welcome the Cardiff Blues to Kingsholm.
Knowing a bonus point win would secure a home quarter-final, Gloucester completed their European mission in some style on Saturday evening, sweeping aside a spirited but outgunned Aviron Bayonnais scoring 10 tries on their way to a 64-19 victory.