Wales will play four tests in November's Dove Men Series at the Millennium Stadium
Preparations for the new rugby season are already underway at the Millennium Stadium, as ground staff unleash their game plan to install a new pitch for the 2013/14 season.
Starting tomorrow (Monday 2 September), a project lasting 14 days will get underway to lay a pitch fit for champions ahead of this autumn's Dove Men Series. From the early hours of next week, up to 125 trucks will deliver 7,412 pallets of soil which complete the 120m x 79m stage for Wales' international encounters against South Africa, Argentina, Tonga and Australia.
Over the next weekend, 210 tonnes of root zone will be spread over the palletised giant jigsaw and by week two of the project, the hallowed turf will arrive and the giant rolls of 40mm thick ryegrass turf will be laid over a period of four days.
Interim Stadium Manager Ian Peploe is confident that the tried-and-tested schedule will achieve a ground that is pitch perfect for the new season. Still he is fully aware of the work associated with the unique palletised system that has allowed Millennium Stadium its world-wide reputation as a multi-event arena.
He said: "The groundstaff will work extremely hard over the coming weeks to get the perfect surface in place for the Autumn Internationals and the Rugby League World Cup Opening Ceremony on October 26.
"It's true that the transformations over the next 14 days will look pretty spectacular indeed but our teams are fully aware that the efforts must continue beyond the installation to ensure that the pitch is kept in optimum condition for the events ahead."
Over 30 pitches have been laid since the stadium first opened its retractable roof in 1999 however the new pitch is expected to remain all season due to the round the clock vigil of groundstaff and the introduction of the lighting rigs which help the grass to grow.
Mr Peploe added: "While our unique pitch system brings a host of benefits allowing us to thrive as a multi-event venue, it is commonly known that the design and nature of the Millennium Stadium is not conducive to growing grass. Over the years we have adopted various measures to increase light and air movement. We continue to use our additional lighting on the pitch to help the grass to photosynthesise and we control our fully retractable roof to combat inclement weather."
The palletised pitch joins a fully retractable roof and capital city centre location to boost the Millennium Stadium's reputation as a must-play must-visit venue. The stadium has attracted Cardiff-Wales LGBT Mardi Gras, Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna and Speedway since the pitch was removed in May.
On Saturday 9 November, the Millennium Stadium opens its doors to the Welsh rugby fans once more to showcase the best rugby in the world. Tickets can be purchased now for the Dove Men Series games at the Welsh Rugby Union's official website www.wru.co.uk/tickets, at your local rugby club and at over 30 Tesco stores across Wales. Prices start from £25 for adults and £10 concession.
The Millennium Stadium will also play host to the RLWC2013 Opening Ceremony - with England v Australia and Wales v Italy - on October 26.
The Webb Ellis Cup visited Lampeter on Monday to recognise the fact that the town is celebrating a major milestone as it is believed the first ever game of rugby played in Wales, was in fact played in Lampeter 150 years ago.
Cardiff Blues U18 Girls will go into Sunday's Gemau Cymru with an extra spring in their step after Welsh internationals Elinor Snowsill and Philippa Tuttiett offered some last minute tips at a training session earlier this week.
Rob Howley and Josh Lewsey addressed more than 250 community club coaches and referees at the first WRU National Community Conference on the weekend. The volunteers benefitted from coaching masterclasses and workshops in a bid to connect all levels of the rugby pathway in Wales.
UEFA has today confirmed the Football Association of Wales (FAW) has been successful in its bid for the Millennium Stadium to host the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final on Saturday 3rd June, 2017 (kick-off: 19.45hrs GMT).
The winners of a filmmaking competition organised by the education charity Into Film and the WRU enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the Millennium Stadium - and a chance to be photographed with the WRU's fire-breathing, rugby loving mascot, Scorch The Dragon, and Welsh international, Jake Ball.