Ebbw Vale experiment shelved while Newport Gwent Dragons canvass opinion on region's future

9:01am Friday 9th May 2014

NEWPORT Gwent Dragons have put plans to play a game in Ebbw Vale next season on the back burner while they conduct some detailed market research into the future of the region, writes Chris Kirwan.

For the second successive campaign the Dragons explored the possibility of playing an LV= Cup encounter at Eugene Cross Park but have decided to stick at Rodney Parade.

The region release details about 2013/14 season tickets today and don't believe it would be fair to make a decision about playing north of the M4 before canvassing the opinion of punters.

They did explore the possibility of leaving an Anglo-Welsh Cup game off the season ticket, making it an all-pay affair at a venue to be confirmed.

However, the board have opted to hold fire while conducting market research into what direction the region should go in.

It comes after the debacle over a new logo when a web vote was aborted after just 16 hours because of a feisty reaction from those that wanted a heavier Newport emphasis and those that want to be known simply as the Dragons.

"We have no data on anything and that is a weakness of the business," admitted chief executive Gareth Davies. "Over time decisions have been taken – or not been taken – on gut feeling.

"In the next few months we will get proper evidence and conduct proper market research into what people want."

Meanwhile, Davies is encouraged that Welsh Rugby Union chairman David Pickering expressed his wish to support the regions.

The Dragons boss had previously questioned whether the governing body wanted Newport Gwent Dragons, the Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff Blues to succeed.

Regional Rugby Wales are yet to agree on a new participation agreement with the current deal expiring at the end of June.

"I'd like to think that David sees this opportunity and this situation as being critical for the future," said Davies. "I'm delighted to have heard him come out with supportive comments."

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