Whanganui's Cooks Gardens has been offered to the Taranaki Rugby Football Union to host some of its Mitre 10 Cup home games this season.

Taranaki's home ground for the season is up after air after geotechnical testing at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth found its stands were a significant earthquake risk.

Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall and Wanganui Rugby chief executive Bridget Belsham have been in discussions since the news broke last week and a formal offer has been sent to the TRFU.

"I certainly understand their preference, if it's possible, is to host the matches within their union boundary," McDouall said.


"But the offer is there an we'll just see what happens. We can definitely hold more people than anywhere in Taranaki apart from Yarrow.

"And the Taranaki players will be used to the wind blowing from the west like Cooks Gardens."

But TRFU chief executive Jeremy Parkinson said moving games outside the province would be "worst case scenario" and Taranaki still hoped to use Yarrow Stadium with only its north and south end open to the public.

"We would like to thank the Wanganui Rugby Union for thinking of us an offering their support, it's greatly appreciated," he said.

Parkinson said Yarrow Stadium was the best ground in the region and even with the stands closed could hold 14,000.

The Taranaki Stadium Trust and New Plymouth District Council had done testing on the north as south ends which found it to be safe so TRFU was in talks with the New Zealand Rugby Union and Sky TV, he said.

Whanganui District Council owns Cooks Gardens, which has a capacity of 20,000 but Wanganui Rugby has use of it for their Heartland Championship games.

Belsham said she had spoken Parkinson this week and understood Taranaki would prefer to keep matches in the province.

Wanganui Rugby chief executive Bridget Belsham.
Wanganui Rugby chief executive Bridget Belsham.

"At the end of the day we've made the offer and he'll (Parkinson) will come back to us. I'm quite happy to support and do whatever we need to support our neighbouring unions," she said.

"The first priority for them is to try and keep the games local but if the decision was made I'd like to think we can work through it."

While unlikely to happen McDouall said it would be great to host the highest level of provincial rugby in Whanganui.

"To get some All Blacks on the park at Cooks would be fantastic," McDouall said.

"Consistently we've been the best team in the second tier so it would be nice to see just how big the gap is."

Whanganui's offer to host Taranaki rugby follows the Manawatu Jets announcing they will play three of their National Basketball League games at Springvale Stadium in Whanganui this winter.

McDouall said there's no reason professional sports teams could not bring matches to Whanganui.