Millennium Stadium Manager Mark Williams has confirmed that the project to install a new Desso Grassmaster pitch is progressing well at the city-centre venue.
Just seven days since work commenced on Monday 21 July, the stadium has undergone significant transformation with the contractors, Hewitt Sportsturf, remaining bang on schedule.
As the project enters into week two of the anticipated 15 week project, 50% of the drainage systems for the irrigation system and under pitch heating have already been installed.
The next step is to layer the surface with the tons of gravel, which is currently creating a mini mountain range on the other half of the stadium bowl, after it arrived by the lorry-load on Wednesday and Thursday last week.
"The Millennium Stadium project began in earnest last week and we have not been disappointed," said Mr Williams. "The contractors arrived last Monday morning with a team of four, some spray paint, a measuring tape and a theodolite to mark out the new surface. This was duly done before all of the plant started to arrive on Tuesday and the diggers, earth movers, dumper trucks, rollers, diamond saws were all unloaded ready to start work.
"On Wednesday and Thursday, the drainage system was cut into the flooring and connected to the existing system while the lorry-loads of gravel started to arrive in anticipation for what is today's task of layering the irrigation pipes in preparation for the installation of the under-pitch heating system.
"We've already seen a huge amount of work carried out in the first seven days. This bodes well for the remainder of the project, which is a milestone endeavour in the Millennium Stadium's proud history of attracting major events to Cardiff.
He added: "This is a really exciting time for Welsh rugby and we are thrilled that, one week in, we're well on track to reveal our new pitch for the players, coaches, match officials and, of course, the fans that will make the home of Welsh rugby a very special place during the Autumn Internationals against Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa in November."
The new surface is set to be in place for the 2014 Dove Men Series, with ten months then remaining before Rugby World Cup 2015 brings eight games, including two of Wales' pool games and two quarter finals, to Cardiff.
The renovation also includes the installation of the latest 'plug and play' technology for broadcasters at all sides of the pitch and a Terraplas cover to protect the new Desso surface.
The project opens up a host of new and exciting opportunities for grassroots rugby in Wales as well as serving the must-visit, must-play venue across a range of non-pitch events such as live music and motorsports.
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
The Foster's Challenge Cup will involve the 12 Principality Premiership sides and will run during European and British & Irish Cup weeks, providing vital fixtures for the participating clubs and an opportunity for upcoming players to step up to semi-professional rugby and make a claim for starting places within the Premiership squads.
Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.