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Construction teams play first rugby match at Olympic stadium

April 27th, 2015

The first rugby match has already been held at the Olympic Stadium after construction workers on the site staged an impromptu match.

The workers were spurred into action during a visit by England’s Jason Robinson and New Zealand’s Robbie Hunter-Paul to promote the upcoming autumn international Rugby League series.

Balfour Beatty staff persuaded the rugby legends to head-up two teams who battled it out on a makeshift pitch in the middle of the construction site.

The first – and winning – try at the stadium was scored by Robinson as England notched-up a rare victory over the Kiwis.

Stuart Fraser, Stadium Project Director from Balfour Beatty, said: “We knew Jason and Robbie were coming down to see the Stadium’s progress and as quite a few of the lads are League fans, we joked about passing a ball around and seeing if they’d dare to get their suits dirty.

“We never thought for a second that we’d split into teams with Jason captaining England and Robbie New Zealand. It was a really surreal but fantastic experience.”

The 20-minute game eventually ended when England scored the winning try from a typical Robinson solo effort.

Robinson said: “I certainly didn’t wake up this morning thinking I was going to score the first try at the former Olympic Stadium!

“It all started as a bit of fun but those lads weren’t holding back and naturally they’re built like steel.

“It was a brilliant match, everyone enjoyed it and I can’t wait for the Stadium to be finished. Next time we’ll have some grass to cushion the blows.”

Hunter-Paul added: “I’m bitterly disappointed that we didn’t win. If truth be told, I let Jason win but only because I know the Kiwis will finish what we started when they come here on the seventh of November.

“It should be a really special international series – especially in this fantastic Stadium.”

The England vs New Zealand autumn international series kicks off at the KC Stadium in Hull on Sunday November 1 (5.00pm) before attention turns to the former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Saturday November 7 (2.30pm). The series concludes at the DW Stadium, Wigan on Saturday November 14 (1.00pm).

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