herald

Monday 23 October 2017

'New' RDS will have 25,000 capacity

THE home of Leinster Rugby, the RDS, is to be increased to a capacity of 25,000.

When the redevelopment is completed, an additional 6,500 fans will be able to see their heroes.

It will also mean more room for fans at concerts - acts appearing there recently have included Bruce Springsteen.

The RDS and Leinster Rugby bosses have launched an international design competition to find architects to draw up the plans.

The contest, administered by the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI), is the first of its kind for the redevelopment of an arena here.

Stadium chiefs want a multi-purpose world-class arena, increasing the capacity from the current 18,500 to 25,000.

Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor said he is looking forward to exciting times ahead.

"You only have to talk to the players - they absolutely love playing in the RDS," he said.

"It's their home, their fortress, and over the last few years we've been lucky enough to have played some finals at the RDS, and for that reason there are special memories attached to the place."

RDS chief executive Michael Duffy said: "The RDS has been home to Leinster Rugby since 2007 and we are delighted to move on to the next stage of our relationship with them, which is to collaborate on a new stadium development from which both parties will benefit.

ambition

"The RDS is already on a world stage as an equestrian and now rugby venue, and our ambition is for a world-leading stadium with facilities that are on a par with the best anywhere.

"It is for this reason that we have decided to launch this open competition and seek design ideas from the best in the world."

The newly-developed RDS Arena will host Leinster Rugby's Guinness PRO12 and European Rugby Champions Cup home games.

Leinster chief Mick Dawson told the Herald: "The move from Donnybrook has proved to be extremely successful and has allowed us to grow as a team.

"In that time we have won numerous domestic and European trophies while offering an excellent match day experience.

"However, now we want to move forward.

"A 25,000 capacity purpose-built arena will allow us to do that and provide us with greater commercial opportunities, both within the stadium and with regard to naming rights."

With a six-month time frame in place for the selection of a concept architect, work is not expected to start on the RDS Arena until next April at the earliest.

hnews@herald.ie

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