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."
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Willi Heinz returned from injury to skipper Gloucester to a famous 16-14 win over Stade Rochelais on Saturday evening. Speaking after the game in France, Heinz admitted the win wasn't pretty but was full of courage and a great result for the club.
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Speaking after Gloucester's brave 16-14 win against Stade Rochelais which clinches a European Rugby Challenge Cup final spot, Director of Rugby David Humphreys paid tribute to the way the team had executed the game plan in a hostile environment against quality opposition.
Greig Laidlaw returns to the Gloucester Rugby squad this week, and his inclusion is an important one after a serious ankle injury. The Scottish scrum half is determined to drive the team forward in their European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final in La Rochelle this Saturday.
Gloucester take on La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final in France on Saturday evening, with the Top 14 side the favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers. However, David Humphreys is looking for his side to rise to the occasion against a familiar opponent.
Speaking to GRTV after Saturday's 39-30 Aviva Premiership win over Sale, Mark Atkinson admitted that the performance wasn't perfect but that the team's character shone through in a game that could easily have slipped away.
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