Stadia In Focus: FMG Stadium
Located in Hamilton, FMG Stadium Waikato is home to Super Rugby franchise Chiefs and ITM Cup side Waikato.
And the famous Mooloo cowbells will be ringing when The British & Irish Lions take on the Chiefs there on 20 June as part of their 2017 series.
Enthusiastic rugby fans, the Hamilton locals are known to loudly rattle their cowbells during matches both home and away to add to the atmosphere inside the ground.
The Waikato region has a proud rugby history and the Chiefs boast a number of current All Blacks, including Sam Cane and Aaron Cruden.
The Lions are set to take on the Chiefs just four days before the First Test against the All Blacks, and certainly the Chiefs will be no pushover after making a good start to the Super Rugby season.
In 2000, the stadium underwent reconstruction and reopened officially in 2002 when it hosted a Super 12 match between the Chiefs and Crusaders.
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The last time The British & Irish Lions toured New Zealand in 2005, the stadium hosted the tourists’ only midweek defeat, as they went down 19-13 to a Maori All Blacks side inspired by Carlos Spencer.
And in 2011, the ground hosted three Rugby World Cup pool matches including two Wales victories over Samoa and Fiji.
Wales’ win over Samoa featured 11 players who ended up earning selection for the 2013 Lions Tour, including Man of the Series Leigh Halfpenny.
As well as boasting the ground known colloquially as Rugby Park, the Waikato region is well known for the Hobbiton Movie Set – created for the Sir Peter Jackson-directed ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies.
FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Founded: 1925 (as Rugby Park)
Games: June 20 – The British & Irish Lions vs Chiefs