New Look Ravenhill During Renovation - 2013
|Location||85 Ravenhill Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Renovated||2009 & 2013/14|
|Owner||Irish Rugby Football Union|
|Capacity||14,000 (Extending to 18,000 by 2014)|
|Public transit access||Belfast Central railway station|
The grounds were opened in the 1923/24 season, prior to that. The ground features an ornate arch at the entrance that was erected as a war memorial for those players killed in World War I and World War II. Prior to 1923 both Ulster and Ireland played games at the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society grounds at Balmoral, the Ulster Sports Club grounds at Cross Parade in Belfast.
Ravenhill has hosted 18 international matches, including pool games in both the 1991 and 1999 Rugby World Cups. The most recent Ireland international to be played at the stadium was on 24 August 2007 against Italy as a warm-up match for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Before that, Scotland was the last visitor in the 1954 Five Nations Championship. Ravenhill also hosted the 2007 Under 19 Rugby World Championship Final in which New Zealand defeated South Africa and other pool and semi-final matches.
Ravenhill has hosted notable Ulster matches in the Heineken Cup. Ulster beat Toulouse 15-13 at Ravenhill in the quarter-finals of the 1998-99 Heineken Cup. Ravenhill then hosted the 1998-99 Heineken Cup semi-final in which Ulster defeated Stade Francais 33-27. The most memorable moment in that game was when out half David Humphreys ran from the Ulster 10 meter line to score a try.
The stadium has been the annual venue for the Ulster Schools Cup final since 1924, which is traditionally contested on St Patrick's Day. The stadium is traditionally the venue for the Ulster Towns Cup, played on Easter Monday.
The new stand at Ravenhill was officially opened on 9 October 2009 by First Minister Peter Robinson, before a match between Ulster and Bath Rugby. The stand has however been in use since the first home match of the 2009-2010 season, against Edinburgh Rugby.
The stand is on the Mount Merrion side of the ground, and consists of a terraced area, over 500 premium seats, and 20 corporate boxes. The terrace area is now covered by a roof for the first time in the ground's history. The cost of the project is approximately £4.5 million, and has been funded by a mixture of public-sector funding, sales of premium tickets and boxes, and loans from the IRFU.
In 2011, the Northern Ireland Executive announced that it had granted £138m for various stadium redevelopment projects throughout Northern Ireland. Ulster Rugby will receive approximately £14.5m of this, which will be used to redevelop Ravenhill and expand its capacity to around 18,000.
In 2012, Ulster Rugby confirmed that three new stands will be built at Ravenhill, with work commencing in late 2012. The existing stands at the Memorial and Aquinas ends of the ground will be redesigned and the main stand will be demolished and rebuilt. The major refurbishment is expected to be completed in 2014.
Rugby World Cup matches hosted
14 October 1991
|Japan||52 – 8||Zimbabwe|
|Tries: Yoshida (2), Mashuho (2), Kutsuki (2), Horikoshi, Luaiufi, Matsuo
Hosokawa (4), Hosokawa
|(Report)||Tries: Tsimba, Nguruve|
Referee: Rene Hourquet
3 October 1999
|Australia||57 – 9||Romania|
|Tries: Toutai Kefu (3), Joe Roff (2), Rod Kafer, Matthew Burke, Jason Little, Tim Horan
Con: Matthew Burke (5), John Eales
|Pen: Petre Mitu (3)|
Referee: Paul Honiss
- Crusaders to play Liverpool at Ravenhill. From www.crusadersfc.com 18 June 2012
- "Rugby fans line out for grandstand view - Local & National, News". Belfasttelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
- "BBC Sport - Rugby Union - Ulster 26-12 Bath". BBC News. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
- "Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Ulster play the rugby but lose their way". The Irish Times. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
- [dead link]
- Stadiums fit for our heroes on way at last - Belfast Telegraph, 11/03/11
- Plans for Ravenhill refurbishment are unveiled - BBC News, 24/01/12
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