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Design & Development

Ospreys pinpoint two venues for future home

Dunraven Brewery Field ahead of the Challenge Cup match between Ospreys and Sale Sharks on April 6, 2024

Featured image credit: Ospreys

Welsh United Rugby Championship (URC) club Ospreys has said either St Helen’s Sports Ground in Swansea, or Dunraven Brewery Field in Bridgend, will be its future home.

Ospreys has played at Swansea.com Stadium, the home of EFL Championship football club Swansea City, since the venue opened in 2005, but announced in January that it would seek to leave in order to play at a smaller facility more suited to the club’s needs.

After months of work and “careful consideration”, Ospreys has now said it is working together with local councils in exploring two potential options for a new home stadium, stating both offer “unique advantages” for the future of the club.

The decision to narrow down choices to these two grounds was made after extensive discussions with stakeholders and thorough evaluations of the feasibility, accessibility, and potential for growth at each location. Ospreys said both choices would require significant redevelopments which would be phased over a number of years.

The Ospreys will remain at the Swansea.com Stadium for the 2024-25 season, using this time for initial redevelopments to ensure the selected stadium is fit for purpose for the following campaign.

Ospreys CEO, Lance Bradley, said: “I am happy to share that we have narrowed down our decision to two fantastic grounds, each offering unique opportunities, and we are confident that either choice would be more than suitable as the Ospreys new home.

“It’s been a pleasure working with both the City and County of Swansea Council and Bridgend County Borough Council to get to this point. Both councils have really come to the party and been more than accommodating in our requests, and open to working together to ensure our new stadium is not just a suitable top-flight rugby stadium but offers further opportunities to enrich the local community.

“I look forward to being able to share our preferred option in the coming weeks and working in partnership with the relevant Council to ensure our new home becomes the hub of the community.”

Council response

Ospreys have existing ties to Brewery Field having played certain games there, including a URC game against Cardiff Rugby on New Year’s Day and a Challenge Cup match versus Sale Sharks on April 6.

Cllr Neelo Farr, Bridgend Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Economic Development and Housing, said: “We are fully supportive of the Ospreys’ plans to potentially relocate to Bridgend County Borough and we are looking forward to further talks as we continue to discuss the many mutual benefits of any such move, including the massive economic boost that it would bring to the entire area.

“The Dunraven Brewery Field would offer the Ospreys a unique opportunity to base themselves in the heart of a town centre, with Bridgend being perfectly placed on the M4 corridor and having lots of public transport options with nearby train and bus stations.

“The Ospreys already have lots of strong community links throughout the county borough and it’s fantastic that many of their current players are from Bridgend and started their rugby journeys by playing for our local teams.”

A proposal for a new operating model at St Helen’s – currently run by Swansea Council – would see it redeveloped as a location for regional and community sport. The Council said it would want any approved plan to accommodate the successful relocation of current tenant Swansea Cricket Club in a manner agreed by them and others.

Council leader, Rob Stewart, added: “St Helen’s needs to be upgraded to offer a modern sports experience, and the Ospreys need a new home and a plan for long-term sustainability. We’re prepared to work on the current Ospreys proposal for St Helen’s to become a modern rugby stadium, helping the region to make their home there and remain in Swansea.

“We’re doing all we can to support the Ospreys to stay in Swansea, while also working with all of our sporting stakeholders to provide top-class facilities for them. We’ve discussed the option with the Ospreys. We’re already discussing key matters in a positive manner with current St Helen’s residents Swansea CC and Swansea RFC.

“Ongoing discussions to enable these potential changes include implications, timescales and funding to develop improved cricket facilities nearby.”

St Helen’s would become a rugby stadium for a range of users, including a home for regional rugby, and facilities for community sport. It would be developed in a phased manner over a number of years, increasing capacity, developing facilities and improving the experience of users and visitors.

The proposal would allow rugby use, including – as now – by Swansea RFC and Swansea University. The sports ground would be made available for use by local community groups and schools. Cricket teams would be offered upgraded facilities nearby, with details and timings to be agreed by key stakeholders.