Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Cardiff confirm pitch switch

Several fixtures at Cardiff Arms Park were affected by the weather last season

Cardiff Blues have confirmed their Arms Park home is to be fitted with an artificial pitch in time for the start of next season.

The Welsh region moved back to the city centre ground last summer, having spent the previous three years playing at Cardiff City Stadium.

But a number of fixtures were affected by poor weather, notably the Boxing Day derby against Newport Gwent Dragons where the playing surface resembled a quagmire.

The Blues experienced playing on an artificial surface when they met Saracens in the LV= Cup, and chief executive Richard Holland believes the decision to follow suit will lead to better entertainment for supporters of the region.

He said: "This is very exciting news for all Cardiff Blues supporters and indeed Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC players in the region. The new surface will allow games to go ahead no matter the weather and hopefully enable us to play a more expansive and attractive game for supporters to enjoy.

"There is also the wider community to consider and our aim is to make the pitch available for teams in the Blues region to play and train on. We've put a great amount of effort into researching the different surfaces available and I have no doubt that the new artificial pitch will be a hit with players and supporters alike.

"There are many benefits of having the artificial pitch which will also be available to host a number of national events such as the national Sevens tournament and potentially women's and age grade rugby internationals."

The move has been endorsed by the Welsh Rugby Union, its chief executive Roger Lewis added: "I congratulate and applaud the Cardiff Blues on this initiative. It is a positive step forward for rugby both in the Blues region and in our capital city, Cardiff.

"The WRU has received a grant application from the Blues for financial assistance, which I support.

"The focus of the WRU is based upon creating long term sustainable rugby both on and off the field, and its planning is based upon clear, thought through, strategic decisions. The Blues have met all of the criteria and IRB regulations, and it is with great pleasure that the WRU endorses this project."

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