Dragons favour a WRU takeover
NEWS: The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU)’s plans to assume operational control of the Newport Gwent Dragons region were formally ratified by the shareholders of Newport Rugby Football Club Limited.
A majority vote of 81 percent was established at a meeting held at Rodney Parade, the targeted completion on July 1 remains in place for the transaction and a new phase of development for rugby in Gwent will now begin.
The vote means the WRU will now purchase the nine-acre Rodney Parade site in its entirety for a price which has been mutually agreed.
All current Newport Gwent Dragons' employees will be taken on by the WRU Group and a new company will be formed which will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the WRU and will be free of any historic debt.
The WRU also plans to make required and sensible investments at Rodney Parade to lay foundations to build a sustainable region, as well as provide WRU expertise and resources to ensure the infrastructure within the region is in keeping with the requirements of professional rugby and the competitions in which the region participates.
WRU Group chief executive Martyn Phillips says the investment is about safeguarding the future of rugby in Gwent, safeguarding the future of Newport RFC at Rodney Parade and enabling a sustainable professional entity which is attractive to further future investment.
"This is an important day not just for rugby in Gwent, but for Welsh Rugby and we will be doing everything possible to ensure the long term success of the Dragons, but the hard work starts now," said Phillips.
"All parties recognise that from a Dragons perspective significant improvement is required on and off the pitch and that now is the time for a new approach.
"Our investment is equally designed to safeguard Newport RFC and its rich history at Rodney Parade.
"We have put together the very best package we can for rugby in Gwent. Initially, we will focus on consolidating a high-performance environment for the players and on ensuring high-quality coaching. We recognise however that this will take time and will focus in the initial two to three years on laying solid foundations.
"Gwent has always been a rich source of rugby talent and we are looking to strengthen that pathway even further. This will be a Welsh centric region with young Welsh talent given real opportunity on the professional stage.
"We also plan to utilise the region to repatriate emerging exiled talent and Women’s and girl’s rugby is also a significant part of our plans for rugby in Gwent.
"A working party will be engaged as soon as possible, to consider all of the opportunities raised and to provide a clear way forward for the long term.
"Our vision for the future of rugby in Gwent is to deepen relationships with clubs throughout the region and to provide a clear plan for on-field and off-field success.
"We have an immediate opportunity to utilise WRU resources and expertise to firmly establish a successful professional regional side here,"
Detailed plans for the future of the region are being prepared and supporters, together with anyone with an interest in the sustainable future of rugby in the region, will have the opportunity to be involved as these plans progress.
"This is a hugely positive move not just for the region, the clubs and supporters in the catchment area, but also for the regional game in general and for the whole of Welsh Rugby," added WRU chairman Gareth Davies.
"We have committed to safeguard the future of the game in the region and we will be doing everything in our control to not only provide continued stability for players, supporters, employees and everyone with an interest in the game in the region, but we will also be looking for rugby to thrive at Rodney Parade.
"We want Gwent to have a Dragons team to be proud of, a team which becomes synonymous with success both on and off the pitch for the good of the whole game in Wales and we will be utilising all of the resources and the expertise we have available to make sure that happens.
"We have reached agreement on a new beginning for rugby in Gwent and we do so with a huge amount of excitement, optimism and ambition,"