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News

Away Guide to Newport Gwent Dragons

by UAFC Editor on Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:13 pm
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Newport, and the Dragons

by Yorky

A bit about us and where we play
Newport Gwent Dragons were formed at the inception of regional rugby in Wales (and are 50% owned by the WRU) play at Rodney Parade in Newport at a ground that is also used by Newport Rugby Club (Welsh Premier division) and the Celtic Warriors (Super League). It varies when you ask people about attendance but if you said about 10k you wouldn’t be far out. Usual attendance for Magners is about 5k to 6k with higher games for HC and games versus Cardiff blues.

Rodney Parade is what you may call a traditional rugby ground and is compact with “limited” facilities. It does though create a good atmosphere and is a great place under the floodlights. Considering the amount f use the pitch gets the playing surface is always in good condition and no Dragons match has yet been called off due to adverse weather - yet…

The main stand is called the Hazell stand is split half seating (upper) and half terrace (lower). Away fans are usually sold one of the end blocks of seating. Not a bad view and its undercover, plus it is right where the players come out of the (corner) changing rooms so planty of chance to applaud the teams on and off. The lower terrace is pretty much home season ticket holders and usually fairly full. There are several bars under the stand and this is also the side of the ground where the dug outs are.

Opposite is the Argus terrace. This is all standing with limited cover. There is tiered standing and also ground level standing for those that like to be right up close. Quite often groups of away supporters will gather here. Worst aspect is that there is (currently) only 1 bar…. Buy 2 (or 3 or 4) at a time?

The ends behind the posts host the family stand (a covered, seated facility) and the hospitality boxes.

[url]http://www.newportgwentdragons.com/Page.aspx?op={99A2F4AD-DB36-4A0A-BFE3-3BDBEB11A5DB}[/url]

There are grand plans to convert the ground on the existing site so that capacity is increased and so that facilities are modernised, but this seems to be on hold. Check main site for details and artist impressions!

Main club house and Rodney Hall are a short walk from the actual ground on the same site and this is open both before and after the matches for beer and food. Quite often (and usually after a match V and Irish team) there will be a live band on.

Newport
Newport gained city status in 2002 and is one of only 3 cities in Wales. The ground is on the bank of the river Usk which runs through the city. Newport will be host city to the Ryder Cup in 2010 with the event to be held at the Celtic Manor Resort which is about 4 miles from Rodney parade.

The population of Newport is around 140k, and the population of the region that the club covers is around 500k. Although a region of good size the levels of support from outside of Newport are not great with many historical reasons for rugby supporters sticking with their club sides inside of embracing the region that they live in. This is not the time or place to delve into this!

Getting to the ground

Official site has useful map and directions if you are driving in:

[url]http://www.newportgwentdragons.com/Page.aspx?op= {F5B12EC9-F63A-4012-8F9E-1CA9355C0495}[/url]

But as its likely that you will fly and have no car its more useful to know that the nearest airports are Cardiff (25 miles) and Bristol (37 miles). Cardiff would be ideal as there are better transport links, but if air fare much cheaper to Bristol do not rule it out. Budget airlines use both (easyjet and bmibaby).

Newport train and bus station are both very central in the city and a short walk to the ground.

Players
The Dragons have boasted some of the worlds best players with internationals Percy Montgomery, Andy Marinos, Hal Luscombe, Ian Gough, Colin Charvis and Bobby Skinstad having worn the shirt. Current internationals include Luke Charteris and James Arlidge.

Drinkies before the game
You won’t go far wrong in any of these:
Rugby club bar (on site)
The Dodger (Clarence place)
The Riverside (towards ground, next to the town bridge)
The Murrenger (in town near train station)

What to do
Really depends on how long you are over for and where you have chosen to stay. If you are staying in Newport then there really isn’t that much to see and do (sorry Newport tourist board) but you could have a few hours in the village of Caerleon. This is 4 miles from Newport and was the Roman Fortress of Isca. All museums and ruins are free to enter plus (and here is the big bonus) it has 12 puns in a square mile (or there abouts) so if you are thirsty it’s a good place to go! taxi from city is about £7 or there are plenty of buses.
Best advice though would be to stay in Cardiff to increase options. It has most things. St Davids 2 will be opening in October 2009 and will be MASSIVE if you like your shopping. You can do a tour of the Millennium Stadium, see a show at Millennium Centre, or CIA, or New Theatre etc etc. Cardiff Bay has many restaurants, bars and general nice views if you fancy that. I haven’t even mentioned the castle, the parks or the river trips…..

Where to stay
Simple - Cardiff. It has it all. All budgets. 5* at the St Davids Spa to the Ibis and Etap at about £30 a room. You’ll have a great night out too.
If you insist though to stay in Newport then there is a Travel lodge right in city centre and the usual chains dotted around. The best is the Celtic Manor resort and if you book early enough you can play the Ryder Cup course as well.

Before you travel
Visit http://www.draggedup.co.uk for a chat with dragons fans. Its unofficial and a bit of fun but it may just help you out.

Enjoy!

 


 

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UAFC Editor has been a member since Thu May 03, 2012 8:02 am. He/She has posted a total of 18 News item(s) for a total of 27 post(s).

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