Rodney Parade: New pitch is answer to drainage problems, says Dragons chief

Newport Gwent Dragons take on Newcastle Falcons on a water-logged Rodney Parade pitch
Newcastle beat Dragons 18-6 in a match abandoned after 68 minutes at Rodney Parade

Newport Gwent Dragons chief executive Stuart Davies admits a new pitch needs to be laid to cure drainage problems at Rodney Parade.

The Welsh region's Anglo-Welsh Cup match with Newcastle on 29 January was abandoned with 12 minutes remaining.

That followed the postponement or abandonment of three Newport County football matches this season.

"We are looking forward to a summer break where we can deal with some of the drainage issues," said Davies.

"Beyond that, we are speaking to all the stakeholders to see if there is a more permanent and better solution."

Davies is also the chief executive of Rodney Parade Limited, which owns the ground used by the Dragons and Newport rugby teams, and Newport County football club.

He said they would like to install a hybrid pitch at Rodney Parade - similar to the one at the Liberty Stadium which is used by Swansea City and Ospreys.

"The drainage works would be helpful but are not a solution in themselves," he added.

"We are looking at a Desso-type pitch, but it comes at a cost and we simply can't afford to put it in ourselves.

"So it's going to take a joint-effort between all those people with an interest in how the pitch presents.

A groundsman battles with standing water on the Rodney Parade pitch in Newport
A Pro 12 rugby match between Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys went ahead on New Year's Day despite heavy conditions

"None of us want to witness the conditions we were playing in [on Sunday] or deal with the recurring issues we are facing at the moment.

"It's a very difficult situation and everyone recognises that ultimately it will take significant investment to resolve it."

Newport County manager Graham Westley had previously claimed the club are not getting value for money in their deal to use the ground - a suggestion denied by Davies.

The Exiles agreed a 10-year lease for the football club to use the stadium in 2013.

Davies also did not rule out taking some Dragons matches to Cross Keys' Pandy Park ground in future to lighten the load on Rodney Parade.

"It's something we could look at, going forward, as a more permanent arrangement, perhaps in some of the competitions we find ourselves in," added Davies.

"That in itself may take some of the pressure off the Rodney Parade pitch. It's a seed of an idea and we would like to talk to all our Premiership sides about that possibility."

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