The city will get its first taste of international rugby league this weekend when Tonga play Samoa in a highly anticipated clash, part of the second round of the tournament’s pool matches. The game kicks off at 7.30pm.
Chad Hooker, Hamilton City Council’s Major Events Director, says a Traffic Management Plan will be in place around the stadium – meaning several roads around the venue will be closed to traffic during the day.
Road closures are:
• Tristram St (from Mill St to Abbotsford St) from 7am to 10.30pm
• Mill St (past the stadium) – from 5pm to 10.30pm
• Seddon Rd – 5pm to 10.30pm.
“We close the roads around the stadium for major events to ensure our patrons can get in and out of the venue safely,” Mr Hooker says. “With a big crowd expected for the Tonga vs Samoa game that takes on added importance.”
Mr Hooker also urged fans to car pool to the game to ease pressure on parking and traffic around Waikato Stadium.
Fans attending Saturday night’s match can take a free shuttle bus to Waikato Stadium. The free BUSIT buses leave from Hood St outside the Knox St car park. They leave approximately every 10 minutes from an hour before kick-off and travel via Victoria St, Ulster St and Mill St to the stadium. Passengers will be picked up at any official bus stop along the way. Buses depart directly from Tristram St after the final whistle.
There is also a dedicated fan walking route to Waikato Stadium from the central city, from Victoria St, via Bryce St and Tristram St. The walking route will be marked out with footpath decals, along with signage created by local school children.
Fans are reminded the match is a cash event, so if they want to purchase food and drink then they need have to cash with them. There are ATMs available at the venue.
A large contingent of Samoan and Tongan fans are expected to converge on the city for the game, and Mr Hooker echoed recent comments from the teams, tournament organisers and police about supporters’ behaviour.
“We love the colour and energy the Pacific Island fans are bringing to the tournament and we want everyone to have a safe and fun time,” he says.
“Respect the venue and our staff, respect the teams, and respect each other – that’s our message.”
For information on Hamilton’s role in Rugby League World Cup 2017, and peripheral activities around the city during the tournament, visit www.hamiltonhostcity.co.nz