The playing surfaces at Leslie Park and Wainoni Park, the home grounds of the Hornby Panthers and The Aranui Eagles clubs respectively, are being re-laid as Christchurch prepares to host two matches during RLWC2017.
Provided both facilities are ready, they will be used as training sites for international teams based in Christchurch during the tournament.
The redevelopments at Leslie Park and Wainoni Park form a key part of Rugby League World Cup’s legacy program, which will allow local communities to enjoy the improved facilities long after the tournament has been played.
New Zealand Kiwis coach David Kidwell played his junior Rugby League with the Hornby Panthers, and welcomes the announcement.
“I started my rugby league career at Hornby so I always enjoy getting back to Leslie Park when I can and seeing some familiar faces,” he said.
“It’s great that all those people at my old club, as well as those at Aranui, will get to enjoy the new fields for years to come.”
“As a proud Cantabrian, I’m really looking forward to being back in my hometown with the Kiwis during the Rugby League World Cup,” Kidwell concluded.
Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner said, "I'm delighted that the Christchurch City Council has played a key role in leaving a legacy for the community as part of the RLWC2017.”
“The upgrading of Leslie Park and Wainoni Park, home grounds for the Hornby Panthers and Aranui Eagles League Clubs, means that league players of all ages will benefit for years to come.”
"Christchurch is looking forward to hosting two matches in the RLWC2017 and as the unofficial 'sporting capital of New Zealand', I know that Cantabrians will turn out in force to support this event," Turner concluded.
Canterbury Rugby League CEO Shane Collins said: “It’s been fantastic working with the CCC and RLWC to achieve these ground improvements and we are very thankful for all their support in making this happen.”
“These upgrades will be a great boost to the Rugby League community in the region,” Collins concluded.
Andrea Nelson, RLWC2017 New Zealand General Manager, said: “The city and people of Christchurch have been fantastic in embracing the tournament and we’re really pleased that there will be a tangible benefit for them from hosting Rugby League World Cup.”
Christchurch is hosting two matches during RLWC2017, the New Zealand versus Scotland match on November 4 and a quarter-final on November 18.
The RLWC is the pinnacle of the international game and will be played across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea from 27 October to 2 December this year.
It will be the biggest sporting event in the region during 2017. The world’s best players from 14 teams will play 28 games over five weeks.
Tournament tickets and information at rlwc2017.com