Cardiff Blues will return to training at Pentwyn Leisure Centre after a temporary agreement was reached with Cardiff Council and GLL, the charitable leisure social enterprise that operates the facility.
With the iconic Arms Park currently utilised as part of the Dragon’s Heart Hospital, a temporary facility was required for the region’s return to rugby next month.
An agreement has now been finalised between the region, Cardiff Council and GLL, for the short-term use of the leisure centre situated on Bryn Celyn Road. This follows the agreed Government and WRU advice for professional rugby clubs’ return to training, implementing COVID-safe protocols.
Cardiff Blues will now have exclusive use of a number of facilities at Pentwyn Leisure Centre, including a bespoke gymnasium, medical facilities and a 3G surface. John Mulvihill’s men will also continue to utilise an exclusive grass pitch at Sophia Gardens.
Cardiff Blues Chief Executive Richard Holland said: “We are thrilled to have such a facility in place to support the squad’s phased return to playing and I would like to thank Cardiff Council, particularly Council Leader Huw Thomas, Chief Executive Paul Orders and Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure Cllr Peter Bradbury, and GLL for their support in this.
“With the Arms Park continuing to play a role in the Dragon’s Heart Hospital we required a top-class facility and all relevant parties have pulled together for a positive solution.
“The new temporary facility will be fully compliant with all COVID-19 regulations and guidelines from Welsh Government, World Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union and we are looking forward to getting started with a block of conditioning as we work towards a return to action on August 22.”
Current plans will see a phased reopening of leisure facilities, once the Welsh Government has confirmed a reopening date, to ensure that new COVID-safe working practices are implemented.
Cllr Peter Bradbury, Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “Working in partnership has been at the heart of Cardiff’s response to COVID-19 – the Blues handing over the Arms Park for the benefit of the NHS is a prime example of that. This temporary move to Pentwyn Leisure Centre, is a really creative solution that reciprocates that community spirit, benefits all partners, and will help make sure the squad are fit and ready for a winning return to action in August.”
Rhys Jones, GLL’s Head of Service for Cardiff said: “We are delighted to be able to play a part in supporting The Blues as they return to training and find a really worthwhile use for Pentywn Leisure Centre while it remains closed to the public. One of the positive outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to see communities pull together and this is a great example of how we’ve worked with Cardiff Council and our local team, to help ensure the players are ‘match ready’ by the start of the season.”