Cardiff Blues can confirm work has begun to replace the artificial surface at Cardiff Arms Park with a new state-of-the-art 3G pitch.
Following the iconic ground’s supporting role to the Dragon’s Heart Hospital, damage was uncovered on the existing 3G pitch, which was installed in 2013.
Cardiff Blues and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have worked closely to reinstate the pitch to the level of performance enjoyed prior to being covered for five months to support the Dragon’s Heart Hospital (Ysbyty Calon Y Ddriag).
Tony Patterson Sportsgrounds, who installed the original 3G pitch, have now been reappointed and have this week started work in the capital.
It is anticipated that the work will be completed and the pitch passed to host rugby once again in the New Year.
Cardiff Blues chief executive Richard Holland said: “The most important thing throughout the last nine months has been supporting the NHS and we are proud of the small role we have played.
“We know Pattersons well and know they will install another first class surface, which will not only allow us to bring Cardiff Blues home but remain a hub for community activity.
“We are very grateful to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, our friends at the Dragons, who continue to host us in Newport, and are looking forward to returning to the Arms Park in the not too distant future.”
The iconic Arms Park became part of the neighbouring Dragon’s Heart Hospital at the Principality Stadium in March, to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have begun a phased decommissioning of the field hospital and all hospital facilities have been removed from the Arms Park.
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have now built a new surge inpatient facility on site at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, and remain enormously grateful to Welsh Rugby Union and Cardiff Blues for their continued support during the global pandemic.
A spokesperson from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have continued to work in partnership with Cardiff Blues during the design, build and operation of Dragon’s Heart Hospital, Ysbyty Calon Y Ddriag during unprecedented times.
“Despite taking every possible precaution, the pitch covering along with the weight of heavy vehicles and machinery have caused irreparable damage to the pitch at Arms Park.
“After looking at all of the options and on receiving expert advice, we agreed to fund a full replacement of the pitch and costs.
“We extend a heartfelt thank you to Cardiff Blues for the fantastic support they have given to the NHS and the communities of Wales through the use of the pitch at Arms Park.”
The Blues have now played three games at Rodney Parade and host Benetton Rugby at the Newport ground on Monday.
Tony Patterson Sportsgrounds director, Liam Haslem said: “We are delighted to be awarded the Cardiff Blues pitch replacement at Cardiff Arms Park.
“Our skilled installation team had installed the previous pitch, which included removing the existing grass pitch and fitting prefabricated shock pads and 3G Artificial Turf.
“The pitch was tested upon completion and passed the World Rugby Regulation 22 performance standards test and went on to host the 2014 Amlin Cup Final - the first ever cup final to be played on an Artificial Turf pitch.
“The new surface will be no different. It’s a safe and high-performance surface, tested according to all the most stringent criteria set by World Rugby.
“Using the FieldTurf UK RGF Dual fibre System, it features a soft and strong fiber with extraordinary resistance and durability, giving Cardiff Blues the best long term solution for their players, supporters and the wider community.
“We can’t wait to see Cardiff Blues put our surface to the test."