Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis has hailed the upcoming fixture between Japan and Russia at Parc Eirias this Friday night as a testament to the work of the WRU, Conwy County Borough Council and the Welsh Government in developing a top class sports facility for North Wales.
And his sentiments were echoed today by First Minister Carwyn Jones who said the fixture will be yet another landmark in the history of Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay.
Parc Eirias, which opened officially in 2011, has already hosted Wales Under 20 matches and international fixtures. It has also hosted other major events in the area such as Access All Eirias. The £6.5m centre was backed by £4.8m from the Welsh Government through the European Regional Development Fund, the Targeted Match Fund and Strategic Area Regeneration Funding.
Looking ahead to the match on Friday the First Minister said: "It is almost two years to the day since Parc Eirias was officially opened and it has already proved itself as a major attraction for international events and an important resource for the local area. Friday's international game between Japan and Russia will be a further boost for the area, raising its profile further.
"Parc Eirias is a top class sports facility and I wish the organisers all the best for the important fixture on Friday. The centre also highlights the benefits which European funding brings to Wales. Thanks to this investment we have an excellent sporting facility and base for rugby in North Wales."
Cllr Graham Rees, Conwy Council's Cabinet Member for Tourism, Marketing and Leisure said: "We're proud that we've been able to secure this international fixture for Eirias. It's clear there are many fans and enthusiastic spectators here in North Wales and we're pleased to be able to offer the facilities for everyone to enjoy top flight rugby."
WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis said: "Together the WRU, Conwy County Borough Council and the Welsh Government have developed Eirias to be a top class sports facility for North Wales.
"The 5,500 capacity Parc Eirias regularly hosts Wales U20 international matches and the WRU is keen to encourage the appetite for rugby that has been created in the region after the successes of home club side RGC 1404 in achieving promotion to the Championship last year.
"It is with great pleasure that we will be welcoming Japan back to Wales this Friday after taking our touring side to their shores this summer.
"It will also not go un-noticed in Parc Eirias that Japan pulled off an historic victory over Wales during the second Test of the tour and the fans will be looking forward to seeing what they have to offer up close. This fixture is critical for rugby, is important for our relationship with the two great nations of Russia and Japan, and is an ideal way to show off the fantastic facilities at Parc Eirias.
"We are certain the rugby public of North Wales will fully support this initiative and give the visiting teams a great welcome."
The fixture forms part of a bumper weekend of world-class sport in the area as North Wales also hosts Wales Rally GB.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.