NEWPORT Gwent Dragons are hoping to move to a permanent training base at Ystrad Mynach.
The region want their senior side and their academy and age-grade teams to be based at Caerphilly council’s proposed £6million centre for sporting excellence.
Buildings at the old Ystrad Mynach hospital site are yet to be demolished but it is planned to create two floodlit 3G pitches, stands, terracing and a gym on the site.
The centre – which was backed by the Dragons, Welsh Rugby Union, Football Association of Wales and Cardiff City at its launch in January – will be used by the community as well as top-level sportsmen.
Given that a spade is yet to be put in the ground, a move is some way off but the Dragons are keen to grasp the opportunity.
“We have given a letter of intent that we are interesting in re-siting our training base there,” said director of rugby Robert Beale.
“That is not a contractual commitment but it is to stress that we are keen on the development. We have a very, very strong interest.
“We have had several meetings with Caerphilly council, who are really proactive, and our head of conditioning Alex Lawson has been involved with the specifications for the weights gym.
“It will be all on one site and would include our academy and age-grade teams. That would be massive for us.”
The Dragons currently split their training between Rodney Parade, where they do weight training, technical work and analysis, and Newport High School, where they have use of a full-size pitch, astroturf and swimming pool.
In poor weather last season they were forced to use the WRU’s facilities at the Vale of Glamorgan hotel, though improvements have been made to the pitch at Newport High School.
With Rodney Parade also set to be used by owners Newport RFC and new tenants Newport County, the Dragons will only be using the pitch for their final team run and kicking practice this season.
The attractions of setting up a permanent base in Ystrad Mynach are obvious – and the Dragons would be keen for the clubs in the region to use the facility – and their enthusiasm is shared by the council A spokesman said: “This exciting new sports development will provide state of the art facilities in the heart of the county borough.
“The development is still in its early stages, but we are working with the Dragons and other key partners to deliver this impressive centre of sporting excellence.”