Cardiff Blues have been given the green light to install an artificial pitch at their Arms Park home ahead of the 2013-14 season.
The Arms Park playing surface was widely criticised last season and following the successful installation of an artificial pitch by Premiership side Saracens earlier this year, the Blues have moved swiftly to upgrade their own ground at a reported cost of £400,000. The welsh region are confident that supporters can look forward to a faster and more entertaining game while the new surface will also allow them to host a number of other events at the ground all year round.
Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Richard Holland said: "The new surface will allow games to go ahead no matter the weather and hopefully enable us to play a more expansive and attractive game for supporters to enjoy...We've put a great amount of effort into researching the different surfaces available and I have no doubt that the new artificial pitch will be a hit with players and supporters alike.
WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis said: "I congratulate and applaud the Cardiff Blues on this initiative. It is a positive step forward for rugby both in the Blues Region and in our Capital City, Cardiff. The WRU has received a grant application from the Blues for financial assistance, which I support. The focus of the WRU is based upon creating long term sustainable rugby both on and off the field, and our planning is based upon clear, thought through, strategic decisions."
Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby Phil Davies added: "Having a new artificial pitch installed at the Arms Park is fantastic news. It will allow us to play the expansive game that we want which will hopefully be attractive to the supporters to watch. This wasn't always possible last season due to the playing surface and dreadful weather conditions we suffered last season."
Work on installing the new pitch will begin in June ahead of Cardiff Blues playing their first match on the new surface against Sale Sharks on Friday, August 23.