A new hybrid pitch is being installed at Rodney Parade, home of the Dragons, Newport Rugby Club and Newport County football club in Wales.
The Desso playmaster surface will be playable by 26 August, with a new drainage and irrigation system being installed alongside a 3G artificial pitch surround.
The first stage of the installation process, overseen by the same company which installed the Principality Stadium’s hybrid surface, is to remove the current playing surface in its entirety.
Next the irrigation and drainage systems will be repaired and replaced, before a new root zone and top soil is introduced, then a carpet which contains both live grass and artificial fibres is rolled out.
The installation will then be left untouched as root growth sets in, before it is ready for the Dragons, Newport Rugby Club, Newport County and their players and supporters to enjoy.
Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams, who has been part of the Welsh Rugby Union’s consultation group tasked with improving the Rodney Parade facility, said:
Flooding at Rodney Parade will be a thing of the past and the playing surface will be stable and consistent and fit for purpose.
We are using the same company who installed the pitch at Principality Stadium (Hewitt Sportsturf) and they will also be providing training to all Rodney Parade ground staff on maintenance of the new system over the next few weeks, alongside our own head groundsman Lee Evans.
The Rodney Parade solution is similar to that which we have at Principality Stadium and to the surfaces at Liberty Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium, although it does come with its own unique and well publicised set of circumstances with, three teams sharing it throughout the season.
It may not always be ‘picture perfect’ but what you get with this system is the security that the pitch will be playable all year round and free from the kind of problems which have threatened fixtures in the past.
Image: Dragons wing Ashton Hewitt oversees removal of the playing surface in preparation for the arrival of a new hybrid pitch.