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Back to Ballymore good for Reds: Horwill

By Laine Clark 26/01/2010 05:42:54 PM Comments (0)

Queensland rugby captain James Horwill believes their upcoming matches at Ballymore may be a test case for not only the Reds but also A-League outfit the Brisbane Roar.

Horwill can not hide his excitement over the Reds returning to their spiritual home for two matches - Friday's trial against the Crusaders ahead of a Super 14 clash with the Blues on February 27.

And he believed more Reds games should be held at Ballymore rather than their regular homeground Suncorp Stadium - if the two matches proved a hit.

"It's a very special place for Queensland rugby, and I think it would be good if we got a number of games back here," he said.

"You remember growing up and coming to Ballymore.

"I think it is something the crowds will look forward to, and I hope they get a taste for it."

A-League club the Roar also uses the 52,000-capacity Suncorp Stadium as their homeground, but have attracted less than 6,000 fans to some games.

It is believed Football Federation Australia have taken over negotiations in a bid to secure the Roar a better tenancy deal with Suncorp Stadium.

But Horwill believed the Roar may also sit up and take notice if the Reds games at the 24,000-seat venue are successful.

"Definitely. It (more Ballymore games) is something we will have to look at (if it is successful)," he said.

"We will see if we make a profit from it, if the fans come out, and how logistically it works with the traffic - I know that could have been a problem previously.

"So that's some things we have to work out."

Horwill said of their current Suncorp Stadium homeground: "We don't dislike it - it's one of the best rugby grounds in the world.

"But it's a 50,000-seat stadium, and if you have only got 20,000 in there it does look a bit empty.

"But if we had 20,000 here (Ballymore) they would be hanging from the rafters."

However, a more permanent move to Ballymore by either the Reds or the Roar appears a long way off with the venue's facilities needing a major overhaul.

The QRU have development applications before the Brisbane City Council regarding a $100 million upgrade.

But it obviously has a special place in the heart of rugby fans - even former NSW Waratahs prop Ewen McKenzie, who is now the Reds coach.

"Ballymore is one of my happiest hunting grounds - as a Wallaby I never lost a Test here," he said.

"And no doubt, it's very near and dear to a lot of Queensland supporters.

"The inter-state rivalry we slugged it out here - literally - on many occasions.

"They were great encounters and any opportunity to revisit those traditional derby matches is a great occasion - I am looking forward to it."

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