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Ospreys announce new home as famous stadium will be transformed

Tooting Carmen

First XV
TRF Legend
Sep 18, 2018

The Welsh region have made a major announcement and will move after this coming season

John Jones Sport Reporter
The Ospreys' new stadium will be St Helen's

The Ospreys have confirmed Swansea's St Helen's ground will be their new home from 2025.

It was announced back in January that the region would be leaving its current ground, the 20,000-capacity Swansea.com Stadium for a smaller venue, with three potential grounds emerging as venues. After The Gnoll in Neath was ruled out, it became a two-horse race between St Helen's and Bridgend's Brewery Field, with Ospreys CEO Lance Bradley saying both venues offered "unique opportunities".

However, the club has now decided where it will move after the culmination of the upcoming 2024/25 season, with St Helen's emerging as the first choice due to its proximity to the region's supporter and sponsors bases and the ability to work alongside the council to "inject new life" into the ground.

Multi-million pound investment will see the site transformed into a modern rugby stadium, with a new 4G pitch, new stands and a new fan zone area all planned. The club house will also be refurbished, while Swansea Council have "ambitious plans" to develop the whole area into an elite sports park.

St Helen's has a rich history, having played host to Wales' first ever international rugby match in 1882. More recently, it hosted a Barbarians side featuring the likes of Alun Wyn Jones and Dan Lydiate, as they took on Swansea RFC last year.

Swansea RFC, together with Swansea University, will continue to play at St Helen's, with the Ospreys hoping for an increased number of community games to be played at the ground. However, what's next for Swansea Cricket Club - who have played at St Helen's for nearly 150 years - has not yet been confirmed with an announcement set to be made "in due course".

Artist impression of the new-look St Helen's
A statement released by the region on Monday read: "The Ospreys are delighted to announce that St Helen's Sports Ground in Swansea has been selected as the club's preferred location for its new stadium from the 25/26 season onwards.

"Following an extensive search it was announced in May that the options had been narrowed down to St Helen's and the Dunraven Brewery Field in Bridgend. We would like to place on record our thanks to both Bridgend Ravens and Bridgend County Borough Council for their outstanding support during our search.

"The move to St Helen's not only keeps us close to the majority of our supporter and sponsor bases, but also allows us to work with the City and County of Swansea Council to inject new life into the famous St Helen's Sports Ground. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to make our home at the ground where Wales played their first ever international rugby match in 1882."

It continued: "Our multi-million pound investment in the site will see the installation of a new 4G pitch, new stands, a refurbishment of the club house, and the introduction of a new fan zone area. The aim is to provide supporters with an unrivalled match day experience and develop new opportunities for non- match day events and revenue."

"Swansea RFC and Swansea University will continue to play at St Helen's, and it's our ambition for the ground to host an increased number of community games. Swansea Cricket Club have been fully engaged in discussions about the redevelopment of the site, and an announcement about where they will play their games in the future will be made in due course."

CEO Bradley added: "Moving to a ground we can call our own home will be transformational for everyone involved with the club – including players, staff, supporters and sponsors. Our investment demonstrates our confidence not only in the plans we have both on and off the pitch, but also our confidence in the future of Welsh rugby and the plans being developed by the Welsh Rugby Union."

Meanwhile, Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart was pleased by the Ospreys' decision as he spoke of the "significant ambitions" for the St Helen's ground.

"We're delighted with the Ospreys announcement that they'd like to return to St Helen's," he said. "It's something many Ospreys fans will be very excited about. We've worked closely with Lance and his team throughout their search for a preferred new home, and this is really great news for the city.

"Swansea is a fantastic location for elite sport, with Swansea University a leader in the field of sports science. We have significant ambitions for a sports science park in Swansea and the Ospreys' aim to commit their long-term future to Swansea aligns with this; we'll work hard with them and others to explore their vision over the coming weeks and months.

"There remains more work to do," Cllr Stewart added. "But we now have clarity to move forward with discussions. Ospreys will continue to play home games at the Swansea.com Stadium for the 24/25 season, and are grateful for the support and understanding they continue to receive from the management and staff of Swansea City."
I am happy about this. For Wales' second city not to have a pro rugby team would be a scandal, and the other option which was Bridgend is just as close to Cardiff as it is to Swansea, and the latter are themselves already pretty close to the Dragons.
What's the capacity of the new stadium? The article just says it will be smaller than the current which holds 20,000. Best wishes to the Ospreys in their new nest.
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