Stadium to be renamed for defence

Forsyth Barr Stadium is to be renamed for Otago's first defence of the Ranfurly Shield against Hawkes Bay on Sunday.

The stadium will be called ''Tony Brown's Place'' for the day, recapturing the spirit of a previous campaign involving the Otago coach and former player.''

Party at Tony Brown's Place'' was the catchy, week-long campaign used in May 1999, when the Highlanders played the Crusaders in the Super 12 final at Carisbrook.

New signs will be put up at each entrance and on the north and south stands, while a 9m electronic sign will illuminate the arena with ''Welcome to Tony Brown's Place''.

The name change was proposed by Dunedin businessman Ian Taylor and enthusiastically seconded by Forsyth Barr chairman Sir Eion Edgar.

"Forsyth Barr thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate the first shield challenge,'' Sir Eion, a former Otago Rugby Football Union president, said yesterday.

"It will be very special; particularly as Tony Brown is such a wonderful person and talented coach.

"When times were tough and we were having trouble paying our creditors, which included Tony's salary, he was the first person to say `don't worry about me'. That's the calibre of the chap,'' Sir Eion said.

"I just hope all of Otago gets along there to support the team.''

The match will also showcase Dunedin technology, with a 30-second pre-match animation of Ranfurly Shield country.

''We're making it right at the moment,'' Mr Taylor, chief executive of Animation Research Ltd, said yesterday.

''It will be a computer-generated flyover up the harbour and across the city and on the stadium roof will be a big 'Tony Brown's Place' sign.

''It will be very similar to our 2011 Rugby World Cup animation and will be going out at the start of the Sky TV feed all over the world,'' he said.

Tony Brown's Place marketing manager Jo Scully said 12,200 tickets had been sold for the challenge.

''It's been fantastic,'' she said yesterday.

If the North and South Stands reached their 19,000 limit, the 5000-capacity Mitre 10 Stand would also be opened, Ms Scully said.

The Ranfurly Shield will be at the stadium from 3.30pm-5.30pm tomorrow for photos.

Sunday's kick-off is 4.35pm.

 

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