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New National Stadium hosts first international sports event

The new National Stadium hosted its first ever international sports event -- the inaugural World Club 10s Rugby -- on Saturday, with both spectators and players won over by the facility.

SINGAPORE: The new National Stadium hosted its first ever international sports event -- the inaugural World Club 10s Rugby -- on Saturday, with both spectators and players won over by the facility.

For spectators arriving in the morning, traffic and entry into the stadium were smooth and once inside the facility, most were impressed with what they saw.

Rugby fan Fathul Rahman said: "(The new National Stadium is) definitely an improvement from the previous national stadium where there were bench seats.

"Seats are a lot more comfortable and I love that they are in our national colours red and white."

Another rugby fan, Marvyn Lewis, said: "I have been to Millennium Stadium and a few other stadiums, and yes, this is probably right up there. I go to Hong Kong fairly regularly and this is very good."

Despite the heat, spectators were also able to enjoy the game in comfort, thanks to self-cooling seats, which ensure temperatures remain comfortable inside the stadium.

But some still felt there were areas for improvement.

Rugby fan Cadence Lim said: "Definitely, the signage needs to be improved, and there should be proper guiding to the car park so that people would not get lost."

The rugby players had their own thoughts about the National Stadium as well.

Piri Weepu, The Blues captain, said: "The sand might be a little niggly on the field especially if you are on the scrums."

Reiner Leong, Asia Pacific Dragons forward, said: "Right now they are trying to get it completed, spend some time growing the grass. The guys are all very excited about it. Give it another couple of weeks -- it will be one of the best pitches around."

Off the pitch, security was in full swing with up to 90 crowd safety officers deployed.

The real test will come later, as bigger crowds arrive for future events.

Even though rugby is the first event, the stadium seats and pitch can be reconfigured to host other sports like football, cricket and athletics.

Weather is also not a concern.

Come rain or shine, spectators and players need not worry thanks to a retractable roof. 

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