Dragons delay new Rodney Parade pitch because of coronavirus pandemic

Rodney Parade
In 2017 a new £750,000 hybrid-pitch was installed at Rodney Parade

Dragons have confirmed plans to lay a new Rodney Parade pitch ahead of the 2020-21 season have been shelved because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The stadium which serves Dragons, Newport RFC and Newport County was due to have a new surface installed.

Possible rearranged football and rugby fixtures during the summer have delayed the project.

"We were just about to press the button for the installation of a new pitch," said managing director Mark Jones.

In 2017 a new £750,000 hybrid-pitch was installed after the Welsh Rugby Union took control of the Gwent rugby region.

This work included a new drainage and irrigation system tackling historic flooding issues and the surface came with a three year life span.

There are now doubts about when the football and rugby seasons will return with the Rodney Parade pitch needing an overhaul.

"We are at the end of a three-year lifespan on the field," said Jones.

"When we got to Christmas we knew we were going to struggle and we would have to limp to the end of the season.

"Now instead of limping home for half a season we are going to have to manage it (for a whole one), because we are not sure when football or rugby will start up again, and the intention appears to be to finish the leagues and then have a small break.

"We are going to have micro manage the field and that'll mean sitting down with the three entities and discussing the fixtures."

Jones has outlined what has happened at Rodney Parade in the last few weeks since the suspension of football and rugby programmes.

"There's a mini-renovation taking place," said Jones.

"After the weekend of the postponed Wales versus Scotland game, we instructed a contractor to start seeding the pitch with a view to growing more grass.

"As we are now looking at a longer lay-off we've gone down a different avenue and are now embarking on a slightly larger renovation by trying to remove as much debris as possible from the existing turf."