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Crusaders to make Newport switch

Rodney Parade is home to Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport RFC
Rodney Parade is home to Newport Gwent Dragons and Newport RFC

Celtic Crusaders have confirmed they will leave Bridgend to play home games at Newport Gwent Dragons' Rodney Parade home for the next two seasons.

But the troubled Welsh club insist the move will not be permanent.

Crusaders chief Mike Turner said: "Our long term aim is to return to Bridgend and play in a purpose built stadium."

Crusaders were one of five Super League clubs who were warned their ground was not up to standard, meaning their place in the league could be in doubt.

Newport RFC and the Dragons already share the ground while the Crusaders take their bow there on Saturday when they host Leeds Rhinos.

Rugby Football League licences for entry to Super League from 2009-12 were issued with orders for facilities to improve.

606: DEBATE

Castleford, Wakefield and Salford received warnings about their stadium plans.

St Helens and the Crusaders were also warned, but have plans in place for new homes by 2012.

Saturday's clash against the Rhinos is designated an "on the road" match.

But the switch for next season means they will have just one more game at the Brewery Field when they host Huddersfield Giants on Saturday, 5 September.

Turner says the Crusaders hope fans who have backed them at Bridgend will continue to do so at Newport.

He added: "Unfortunately the Brewery Field clearly does not meet the requirements set by the RFL for all Super League teams," he said.

"The RFL are determined to ensure that all Super League games are played on grounds that have been classified either A or B under the Super League's classification system.

"Brewery Field was constructed in a different era and for a different sport, amateur rugby union.

We've spoken to a number of clubs and Rodney Parade filled the criteria and ticked every box

Crusaders boss Mike Turner

"Super League is a professional sport watched by millions around the world on digital TV.

"Both the RFL and host broadcaster Sky Sports want to ensure that the facilities that host Super League games reflect the right image for one of the world's fastest growing professional sports.

"There were a number of grounds that we could have gone to, we've spoken to a number of clubs and Rodney Parade filled the criteria and ticked every box."

The Crusaders will play 10 games at Rodney Parade in 2010 and a further three games "on the road".

"We'll certainly go to Wrexham and we'll also play a game in Bridgend and central or West Wales," said Turner.

But Turner admits the Crusaders' long-term future home has yet to be settled, although he hopes a new venue will be built in Bridgend in time for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

He went on: "We've signed a contract for two seasons at Newport. There will be an option to renew but it all depends on where we are on new stadia in 2012."

The Crusaders have held talks with Green Bank Partnership, the developers of Leigh Centurions' Leigh Sports Village home.

Turner said: "They [Green Bank Partnership] have proposed to build a stadium for Super League in an exciting regeneration project on a site already selected by the local council for a new stadium in a letter of support for our Super League application last year.

"We at the Crusaders, along with our professional advisors, believe that the Green Bank scheme offers the only realistic chance of a purpose built stadium for Super League and other sports in the Bridgend area.

"We also believe that, as at Leigh, the stadium could act as a catalyst for the transformation of a site that has been derelict for years."



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see also
Celtic Crusaders 0-68 Leeds
22 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Six Crusaders are to be deported
18 Aug 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Bans 'hit Crusaders like a brick'
20 Aug 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
League clubs warned over stadia
21 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Catalans Dragons 34-0 Crusaders
01 Aug 09 |  Rugby League
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League


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