Newport Gwent Dragons have signed an agreement to move the majority of the region's training to Newport High School.
In a move that addresses many of the region's concerns regarding training facilities, the Dragons will also be able to develop greater links with the local community. It is hoped that the deal will help raise the profile of rugby at the school and in the local area, as well as giving local pupils the opportunity to rub shoulders with professional sportsmen as role models.
Newport High School, which is in the final stages of a major redevelopment, boasts some fantastic sports facilities, including 2 football and 2 rugby pitches, a full-size Astroturf, hard court surfaces, an indoor gym and an indoor 25 metre swimming pool.
The school have also made office facilities available for the region so that analysis sessions and team meetings can take place on site.
"This is a very important step forward for the Dragons," said Rugby Manager Robert Beale. "We have lived a very nomadic existence up until now and to have resolved our training facilities issues at the same time as gaining closer links with the local community is a great position to be in
. "DW Sports Fitness will continue to play a vital role in our rehabilitation programmes and our partnerships with both DW and Spytty Sports village remain strong and crucial to our strength and conditioning plans, but to have a training base within the region is a very important breakthrough.
"We would like to thank Paul Lidster and his team at Cardiff University who have worked very hard to accommodate us at Llanrumney over the past few years and provided us with excellent facilities and support.
"The teams at Rodney Parade have always had strong community links and it is in keeping with this ethos that we are integrating further into the community instead of building more private facilities."
The Dragons marked the deal by inviting pupils from the High School to join in a training session on Friday morning before players Jason Tovey and Ashley Smith presented certificates at a swimming gala hosted by the school for primary schools.
Dragons Chief Executive Gethin Jenkins is also delighted at the move. "This deal enables us to address our training facility issues within the region as well as ensuring that the squad are accommodated during the regeneration works. It is a great opportunity for all parties to work closer together for the promotion of rugby and sport in the local area."
Newport City Council leader, Councillor Matthew Evans, said: "Newport City Council is delighted that the Newport Gwent Dragons has signed an agreement to use the new facilities at the Active Living Centre in Bettws.
"This announcement reflects the ambition of the rugby side who are performing well in the Magners League. We are pleased that they have chosen to train in the region and that they do not have to move outside the area to find first class training facilities."
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