Dragons plan move to new training base
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons plan to be based at a new state-of-the-art training home in Ystrad Mynach by spring 2014.
The region see their move to Caerphilly council’s planned £6million centre for sporting excellence as key to their future.
The former Ystrad Mynach hospital site will house floodlit artificial pitches, stands, terracing, indoor training facilities, a gym and office space.
The centre – which was backed by the Dragons, Welsh Rugby Union, Football Association of Wales and Cardiff City at its launch in January 2012 – will be used by the community as well as top-level sports people.
The Rodney Parade region intend to base their seniors, academy and age-grade teams there.
“Pending all the agreements we will be going ahead with it and the facility is supposed to be ready by around this time next year,” said chief executive Chris Brown.
“It’s a really exciting potential development and would be incredibly important to us.
“It would give us a purpose-built training base with both artificial and grass pitches, a weights room, indoor lineout training facilities and office space to go with it.”
The Dragons currently split their training between Rodney Parade, where they do weight training, technical work and analysis, and Newport High School, where they have use of a full-size pitch and astroturf.
Brown admits their lack of training facilities are a hindrance to their recruitment.
He said: “Why would a player come here when they could go somewhere else for more money or even for the same money?
“We have to address those things and in terms of a medium and long-term (recruitment) strategy we need better training facilities. That’s why we are pressing ahead with Ystrad Mynach.”
Head coach Darren Edwards believes the move is crucial for the development of the Dragons’ young talent.
The side that took to the field against Leinster had an average age of 22.6 and just three players – captain Lewis Evans, lock Ian Nimmo and centre Pat Leach – are 25 or over.
“Young players need good training facilities to develop,” he said. “We have some great talent here and I am confident that plenty of our players will be on Wales’ tours this summer.
“The foundations need to be in place to bring them through and this would be a big step forward for us.”