Crusaders home return delayed

by staff

Hopes that the Crusaders' temporary home ground would be ready for their first Super Rugby home match in March have been dashed.

It was hoped a new $NZ20 million ($A15.39 million) temporary stadium at Rugby League Park in Addington would be finished in time to host the Chiefs on March 9.

But Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach says the ground will now be ready for the fifth-round clash against the Cheetahs on March 24.

"This has been an ambitious program from the start and we are delighted that we are getting closer to having home games in Christchurch," he said.

Riach said a decision on where the Chiefs match would be held was expected early next year.

The new stadium is expected to have a three- to five-year lifespan while the quake-damaged AMI Stadium is repaired. It will include covered seating for 8500 people and corporate hospitality facilities. Additional temporary seating will enable a capacity 25,000.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says work is progressing well on the stadium.

Preparation of the new pitch is under way, and four lights recycled from Carisbrook are being trucked up from Dunedin.

"Christchurch Stadium will be Canterbury's only outdoor venue for big games and concerts for the foreseeable future, so is an important part of the city's recovery and rebuild," Brownlee said.