Newport Gwent Dragons fans have been urged to pick up their shovels and join in a major Boxing Day dig to help their team face arch rivals Cardiff Blues in one of the biggest Magners League festive derbies at Rodney Parade on Monday (kick-off 3.20 pm).
There are approximately 500 tonnes of snow covering the pitch at present and, with temperatures set to plummet to -7 degrees on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Rodney Parade stadium manager Mark Jones is looking to use the snow as insulation.
The Dragons were forced to switch their recent Heineken Cup clash with London Wasps from their home venue to Cardiff City Stadium because of the deep freeze and they are hell bent on ensuring their biggest home game of the season can go ahead on Monday.
“The snow is lying on top of the frost covers and acting as extra insulation which is keeping the pitch from freezing,” said Jones.
“Because temperatures are set to drop to -7 on Friday and Saturday night, clearing the snow too early will run a high risk of the pitch freezing. The ideal situation is that we leave the snow where it is until Sunday and clear it once the temperature has come up, but this is going to be a mammoth task.
“We estimate that there will be about 500 tonnes of snow to be shifted and we therefore need volunteers in their hundreds. We know this is a lot to ask of the Rodney Parade faithful, who already do so much for the boys, but we want this game to go ahead.
“The best chance the boys have of beating the Blues is on their own patch in front of the Rodney Parade supporters.”
The Dragons are asking volunteers to contact them via their Facebook page, by e-mailing Media Manager Charlotte Moriarty (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by telephoning the club on 01633 674953.
As well as a small army of helpers, the Dragons need shovels and wheelbarrows to help with the clearing operational. Hot drinks and food will be provided for anyone who turns up.