Swansea to miss out on hosting Varsity

Welsh Varsity 2011 Rugby Team

Swansea will miss out on hosting Varsity for at least the next two years as the event is to stay in Cardiff.

Following last year’s spectacle at the Millennium Stadium and the Welsh Institute of Sport (WIS), it has been decided to return there in 2012.

Almost 15,000 fans turned up to see Swansea University beat South Wales rivals Cardiff University 28-18 at the home of Welsh rugby.

But despite the champions being unable to defend their crown on home soil, a return to Cardiff has been welcomed.

“We are excited about it going back to the Millennium,” said rugby first team coach Richard Lancaster.

“It was a fantastic success last year and certainly the players really enjoyed it.”

The event on May 2, 2012 will be the 16th meeting between Swansea and Cardiff, as the tradition begins to hit its potential as a sporting landmark.

The Welsh Varsity started off being hosted alternatively between Swansea and Cardiff, at St Helens and Cardiff Arms Park respectively.

In 2003, the event moved to a neutral venue – Bridgend’s Brewery Field – for four years, before a three-year stint back at Cardiff Arms Park.

Varsity returned to Swansea after an eight-year absence in 2010 to the jubilation of the Green and White Army.

Throughout the day, Sketty Lane was filled with student sport enthusiasts before the event ended at the Liberty Stadium, home of Swansea City and the Ospreys.

The 20,000-capacity Liberty became the biggest stadium to host the rugby, but its geography in regard to the city centre could prove to be problematic on a permanent basis considering the event pushed around 6,000 spectators.

Last year saw a switch to Cardiff and the Millennium Stadium, which was a massive coup, attracting 14,789 fans to the match as well as being also broadcast on Welsh television for the first time in its history.

The Swansea re-invasion of Cardiff in 2012 will also see a return to the Welsh Institute of Sport (WIS) in Sophia Gardens, which hosted most of the matches last year.

Situated next to the Swalec Stadium and only a short walk along the River Taff from the city centre, the WIS proved to be a fantastic location given its part in Welsh sport.

The Welsh netball, badminton and gymnastics teams are examples of the sporting calibre that use this venue and for Varsity to have it again for the next two years is yet again another coup.

Athletics union president Dan Ryan-Lowes was elated with securing the WIS once again.

“It’s fantastic to be back as they have many nationally governed bodies of sport that use the WIS like netball and hockey,” he said.

“It’s great to put our athletes in the position and facilities where they’ll be noticed by the top level of coaches and it shows off the Welsh Varsity.”

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