Darfield unlikely for Crusaders return

Darfield looks set to miss out on hosting the Scott Robertson-coached Crusaders in a Farmlands Cup fixture in 2019. Photo GETTY IMAGES

The chances of Darfield hosting the Crusaders and Highlanders pre-season game next year appears unlikely.

The Darfield Rugby Club hosted the summer fixture in 2017 and wants to do so again.

But the Canterbury Rugby Football Union’s insistence a spectator mound be constructed has proven an issue.

Darfield president Scott McIlroy said constructing a mound on the ground is not viable due to summer sport use.

“The ground itself is not viable to host the game and I have looked at other options including farmland where a mound already exists but that too will be expensive,” he said.

More than 5500 people turned up to watch the 2017 match, including then-Prime Minister Bill English.

Minutes from the Malvern Community Board meeting last week showed Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton was told the CRFU “would not consider viewing from a flat-level surface acceptable.”

Mr McIlroy says he had previously looked into building a 4000 seat temporary stand but at a cost of more than $100,000, it was considered uneconomic.

“We’ve had to accept that the ground is not a viable option and we’ve left the farmland idea with the rugby union for them to consider but I wouldn’t get my hopes up,” Mr Scott said.

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said the venue for the match was still to be confirmed.

“But we are in the process of planning for the match, and once again look forward to bringing this pre-season game to fans with the support of Farmlands.”