Simon Raiwalui: No rugby at Rodney Parade a 'travesty' - ex-Newport captain

Simon Raiwalui
Simon Raiwalui competes for the ball for Newport in their 2001 Principality Cup final against Neath

Former Newport RFC captain Simon Raiwalui says having no rugby at Rodney Parade would be a "travesty".

Newport Gwent Dragons chairman Martyn Hazell says professional rugby at the ground could end if the Welsh Rugby Union [WRU] takeover is not completed.

To take control of the Dragons and Rodney Parade, the WRU needs 75% of the vote at a Newport RFC shareholder meeting.

"[Newport] has a proud history dating back over 100 years," said Raiwalui.

"It is one of the founder clubs of Welsh rugby. The thought of not having rugby at Rodney Parade would be a travesty for me."

Dragons play at the ground, as do Newport RFC and Newport County, who are battling against relegation from the Football League.

Raiwalui played for Newport between 1999 and 2003, leaving before Dragons were formed amid Welsh rugby's move to regional teams.

Newport RFC's future has been in the spotlight in recent weeks with much resting on the shareholders meeting, which is expected to take place in early May.

Raiwalui's Stade set to face Ospreys

An independent group of supporters, Friends of Newport Rugby, say questions over the future of both the ground and the club remain unanswered.

"I enjoyed my time there, it is a really important part of Welsh rugby," Raiwalui told BBC Wales Sport.

"The development of a lot of young players come through that area [Newport and Gwent] and I think they should do as much as possible to save the club."

New Zealand-born ex-Fiji lock Raiwalui returns to Wales on Sunday as the Stade Francais side he manages face Ospreys in a European Challenge Cup quarter-final at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

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