WITH the new football season rapidly approaching, the sight of rugby posts at Ibrox might come as a shock to any Rangers supporters unaware of the role their club’s ground is due to play at this week’s Commonwealth Games.
The temporary new look for the stadium has also involved the pitch being lengthened by 15 metres and the walls at each end raised and fitted with padding to protect players competing in the Rugby Sevens event.
Work to extend the pitch involved raising the surface at both ends of the park by 600mm by covering the existing track with membrane and new boards and then infilling with sand. The new turf was laid on top.
The rugby posts were then put in place, completing the transformation A total of 45 games will be contested across two days of fierce competition as 16 teams strive for the gold medal.
Scotland captain Colin Gregor says the team are enthused by the prospect of running out at Ibrox and believes they can thrive on the atmosphere generated.
Gregor, whose side are in Pool A alongside reigning champions New Zealand, Canada and Barbados, added: “We’re really excited about opening the competition here. There’s going to be an amazing noise when we run out on Saturday against New Zealand. The stands are right up close to the pitch which will add a brilliant buzz to the Games.”
After opening their schedule on Saturday with that testing lunchtime clash against New Zealand, the Scots will then face an early evening tie against Barbados before taking on Canada in a night match.
Gregor was on hand to give some advice to six-year-old Adam Running and Sandy Heather, aged five, from Cartha Kids – part of the local Cartha Queen’s Park Rugby Club – who kicked the first rugby balls through the posts.
Greg Warnecke, Glasgow 2014 Head of Sport, said: “This marks another exciting milestone in our journey to the Games with the completion of this temporary transformation of Ibrox Stadium.
“Ibrox is one of the most iconic stadiums in the UK and it will be a spectacular setting for all the action and excitement of the Rugby Sevens.
“We have been working closely with Rangers Football Club to ensure this project has been completed for the Games and I would like to thank them for all their support.”