Fans happy with new arena (and beer price)

ELECTRIC: Fans pose for pictures with the players at the World Club 10s tournament at the National Stadium. TNP PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO

He's not a rugby fan; not even much of a sports nut, but Garrett Loh simply had to make the trip down to the National Stadium yesterday to see what the new 55,000-seater National Stadium was like.

"I also came here to see how much the beers cost," said the 39-year-old yacht salesman, on the sidelines of the inaugural Rugby World Club 10s yesterday.

He was pleased to discover that a pint cost $10 - slightly less than he expected.

A crowd of 8,918 fans witnessed some frenetic-paced rugby action featuring world class players like Piri Weepu and David Pocock, and top club names Brumbies and the Auckland Blues.

Though the hybrid artificial-natural pitch looked a work-in-progress, sporting more sand than grass, fans were pleased with the new arena, in particular how close the grandstand was to the pitch.


"You're so much closer to the pitch than how it was at the old stadium," Loh said. "I could actually see and hear some of the players spit sand out of their mouths.

"I think once the pitch is 100 per cent complete, this place will be awesome (to host) any sport."

The stadium, which is the centrepiece of the 35-hectare Singapore Sports Hub, features a unique dome which can be closed during bad weather.

The first football match there will be on Aug 16, when Italian champions Juventus take on Singapore Selection in a glamour friendly.

Rugby fan Farhan Zainal, 27, who watched the full set of matches from 11am to 7pm, was pleased there was no trouble finding a parking space.

"Of course, the real test for all the logistics is when (the stadium) is at full-capacity, but, so far, so good," he said.

"I also bought tickets to the Juventus game, and my seats are quite high up. But the atmosphere for that game should be electric.

"This stadium could boast a really great atmosphere."