Yarrow Stadium

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Yarrow Stadium
'The Bull Ring'
'The Fish Bowl'
Full name Yarrow Stadium
Former names Rugby Park, Stadium Taranaki
Location New Plymouth, New Zealand
Coordinates 39°4′13″S 174°3′54″E / 39.07028°S 174.06500°E / -39.07028; 174.06500Coordinates: 39°4′13″S 174°3′54″E / 39.07028°S 174.06500°E / -39.07028; 174.06500
Capacity 25,000
Surface Grass with sand base
Scoreboard Located at the southern end of the ground
Broke ground January 2002
Built 2002
Opened September 2002
Construction cost NZ$15 million
Architect Warren and Mahoney
Chiefs (Super Rugby)
Taranaki Rugby Football Union (ITM Cup)
Team Taranaki (Central Premier League)
Taranaki Sharks (NZRL)
Central Districts Stags (NZC)

Yarrow Stadium is situated in the central suburb of Westown in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, with main vehicle access off Maratahu Street. Named the third best rugby stadium on earth by New Zealand Rugby World magazine in May 2009, Yarrow Stadium (known as Stadium Taranaki for the Rugby World Cup 2011) conforms with the International Rugby Board's "clean stadium" policy.

The primary tenant of this 25,000-capacity stadium is the Taranaki representative team in the country's principal rugby union competition, the ITM Cup. From 2013, the stadium will play host to the Chiefs team as part of a new alliance, after Taranaki cut their ties with the Wellington-based Hurricanes.

The venue was first developed as a rugby ground in 1931, with the first stadium completed in 1947. A major redevelopment saw two new grandstands added and considerable modernisation in 2002, and further enhancements to the venue were completed in 2010, raising the capacity to more than 25,500.

The stadium is a personal legacy of the late Noel Yarrow, a pioneering Taranaki baker and businessman, and active philanthropist. Noel was a passionate rugby supporter, and the major grandstand overlooking the field's western sideline is a tribute to his support.

Venue description[edit]

  • Yarrow Stadium has four sports fields, the Legends Lounge, concourse and a variety of function rooms.
  • The turf on the main field is laid over irrigation lines and drains on a sand profile.
  • The main field has two grandstands providing undercover seating, terraced and embankment uncovered seating and standing areas.
  • The stadium also has a full sound system, fully electronic scoreboard and floodlights.
  • Fields one, two and three have training level floodlighting. Field two is behind the Eastern Stand (TSB STAND), field three and four are behind the scoreboard on the southern end of the ground.
  • Car parks are situated behind the TSB Bank (eastern side) stand and a parking area for broadcasting units behind the Noel and Melva Yarrow Stand (western side).
  • It was announced in 2009 that Yarrow Stadium was to have a $1.5 million upgrade for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. An extra two thousand or so seats were added on the end embankments, and media facilities were improved.

Legends Lounge[edit]

The Legends Lounge is on the top floor of the TSB Bank Stand and has panoramic views of both playing arenas and the back fields. It is used for business conferences, dinners, sales presentations and meetings, and has a capacity of 300 seated and 650 standing.


  • Internal speaker system
  • Power
  • Data points
  • Portable stage
  • Staircase and lift access is at each end of the lounge with direct access to the seating deck.
  • Two kitchens, bar and toilet facilities are located at each end of the lounge so that the area can be partitioned for smaller functions.

Players/Media area[edit]

  • Two main change rooms, each with a connecting warm-up room, are located at ground level of the TSB Bank Stand. Five subsidiary changing rooms are located at ground level of the TSB Bank Stand for other teams and referees.
  • A medical room, drug testing room, media interview room and match day office are all located adjacent to the main changing room at the ground level of the TSB Bank Stand. Also located at Yarrow Stadium is the HQ of the Taranaki Rugby Football Union (TRFU). Their officers and a gym are located in the northern end of the TSB Bank Stand.
  • Media: There are media facilities on the western grandstand, "Noel and Melva Yarrow Stand". There is a lounge where the TV cameras (usually 2 or 3) are situated for rugby union/league and 4 media boxes for radio commentary, TV commentary, Television Match Officials (TMO) or Third Umpire and another media box for additional commentary. Apart of the upgrade other media facilities have been built for international media.
  • The big screen is located at the top of the southern embankment. An additional screen is brought in by the TSB Community Trust if required.


Minor events[edit]

In the past Yarrow Stadium has hosted Relay for Life, Multi-ethnic Extravaganza and Searchlight Tattoo. Yarrow's has also hosted a number of cricket matches including the Central Districts when they clashed with Sri Lanka. Cricket is usually played at Pukekura Park, because of the incorrect size of Yarrow Stadium's number 1 field.

Crusty Demons[edit]

The Crusty Demons had announced an additional four shows to their 2009 Unleash Hell NZ tour including Yarrows Stadium. Around 6,500 people filled Yarrow Stadium to watch the energetic male stunt riders for the eighth show of their nationwide Unleashed Hell tour.[1]

Rugby League[edit]

The New Zealand Warriors played the Parramatta Eels in their first match at Yarrow Stadium to start the 2011 NRL pre-season in front of a crowd of 9,500. The All Golds also played their first home match at Yarrow's against the New Zealand Māori in 2008.

Rugby Union[edit]



In 2002, work on a $17m redevelopment of the park was completed with ground capacity believed to be 25,000. But while 22,500 crammed in for the All Blacks match against Manu Samoa in 2008, the game revealed the stadium could safely hold just 17,000.

Heavy rain or other problems during the match could have resulted in safety issues for people sitting at either end of the ground. Council re-evaluations of the stadium's capacity showed that to meet self-imposed health and safety standards the stadium could hold only 17,000 people. The region's World Cup bid and future ability to attract top games such as another All Blacks test meant a greater capacity was needed.

The upgrade plans included levelling out the northern grass bank to make grass terraces with standing room for 8500 people, up from the estimated 1,500. At the southern end of the ground, 3,200 plastic shell seats replaced the concrete seating underneath the scoreboard. At both the northern and southern ends of the field, concrete walls were removed and the crowd area brought back down to ground level just six metres from the dead-ball line. Broadcasting facilities at the top of the Yarrow Stand were moved, and the area was used for public facilities to cater for the increased capacity. Print media and non-rights holder positions are based in tribunes at the rare of the TSB Bank Stand. [2]

IRB Rugby World Cup 2011[edit]

Stadium Taranaki, as Yarrow Stadium was temporarily renamed for the World Cup, hosted three matches during the pool play stage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup:

Date Team No. 1 Res. Team No. 2 Round Attendance
2011-09-11  Ireland 22–10  United States Pool C 20,823
2011-09-15  Russia 6–13  United States Pool C 13,931
2011-09-26  Wales 81–7  Namibia Pool D 13,710


  1. ^ "Demons unleash hell". 20 June 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "Yarrow Stadium to get World Cup facelift". Stuff.co.nz. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2009. 

External links[edit]