Rodney Parade: Dragons coach Kingsley Jones defends decision to play match

Rodney Parade pitch
Kingsley Jones (second right) makes a point to a groundsman with referee Ian Davies (second left) and Steve Tandy (with hood) looking on

Newport Gwent Dragons coach Kingsley Jones has defended referee Ian Davies' decision to allow their match against Ospreys to go ahead on New Year's Day.

Ospreys won 10-0, but coach Steve Tandy was unhappy the match went ahead.

Dragons share their Rodney Parade ground with Newport County AFC, who have had three games abandoned or postponed this season.

"The referee [was] in a difficult position. I would have respected his decision either way," said Jones.

"I don't think there's ever been a case of a rugby player drowning on a rugby field. I was just glad to get the game on.

"First and foremost is player safety but I don't think there was any danger of anyone getting hurt."

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The match was in doubt until until referee Davies gave the go-ahead an hour before the 17:00 GMT kick-off, however, Tandy was scathing in his criticism of the pitch.

"Conditions were horrific. We had concerns and were pretty unhappy with the state of the field," he said.

"It doesn't make a difference to us if there's water but there were definitely concerns for players' safety. We weren't particularly happy [the game went ahead]."

The pitch at Rodney Parade is used by three teams - the Dragons and Newport RFC rugby teams, and Newport County who play in League Two of the Football League (EFL).

The Exiles have now had two games - against Morecambe and Barnet - abandoned at half-time this season and the League Two encounter with Stevenage was also postponed on 1 October.

The EFL have conducted a survey of the ground with a view to offering advice on improvements.

The ground's owners - Rodney Parade Limited - carried out emergency drainage work in October and plan to install a new drainage system in the summer of 2017.

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