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Houston opens rugby-specific stadium

The Aveva Stadium in Houston has become only the second purpose-built professional rugby union stadium to open in the United States.

The 4,000-capacity venue, which has 3,200 seats, played host to its opening Major League Rugby clash on Saturday, with the Houston SaberCats losing 52-10 to the Seattle Seawolves.

However, the opening of the stadium will provide greater significance than the result, with rugby union stakeholders having long targeted a foothold in the United States.

The $15m facility has opened just nine months after the groundbreaking ceremony at the site, which features a total of three fields within the complex.

The naming rights were awarded to industrial software provider Aveva in July of last year.

Unlike the Aveva Stadium, Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado, which was the first rugby-specific stadium to open in the US 12 years ago, does not have an adequate run-off section for World Rugby governing body sanctioning standards.

The city has leased the stadium to the team under a 43-year deal.

In the week before the opening game, construction workers at the stadium were carrying out final checks and sweeping the car part of debris, with the facility’s grey and yellow seats having been installed.

“We’re incredibly excited,” Houston SaberCats coach Justin Fitzpatrick said. “It’s worth its weight in gold. This is going to be a real game changer for us.”

Image: Houston SaberCats