Cardiff Blues expect bumper Arms Park crowd

Cardiff Arms Park
Cardiff Blues left the Arms Park for Cardiff City Stadium in May 2009

Cardiff Blues expect a near-8,000 capacity crowd for their return to Cardiff Arms Park to face Connacht in the Pro12 League on Friday.

The Blues announced on Tuesday they were switching the fixture from Cardiff City Stadium to their former home, which they left in 2009.

Two days earlier, they beat Harlequins 45-40 in the LV= Cup at Cardiff City's home in front of around 2,000 fans.

"Cardiff Blues have already sold 6,000 tickets," read a statement.

"We are also expecting a large walk-up on the evening."

The Connacht fixture switch came amid a worrying period for Wales' four regions.

Concerns have been expressed about the game's funding against a backdrop of poor crowds and news of leading Test players quitting Welsh rugby for French clubs.

The Welsh Rugby Union has commissioned a report into the professional tier's funding that could lead to a shake-up.

In the Blues' case, dedicated valleys rugby fans of clubs such as Pontypridd, whose top-flight status ended with the launch of the nation's regions in 2003, have not warmed to the Blues.

And when the team switched from the traditional Arms Park home of Cardiff rugby, some diehard fans also turned their backs on the region.

The situation led joint coach Gareth Baber to suggest in December the Blues could move back to the Arms Park.

However, following his arrival as chief executive successor to Robert Norster, Richard Holland dismissed the idea.

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