Arms Park (Welsh: Parc yr Arfau Caerdydd), also known as The Arms Park, situated in the centre of Cardiff, Wales
, is primarily known as a rugby union stadium, but it also has a bowling green. The Arms Park was host to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958, and hosted four games in the 1991 Rugby World
Cup, including the 3rd / 4th place play-off. The Arms Park also hosted the inaugural Heineken Cup final of 1995-6 and the following year in 1996-7.
The history of the rugby ground begins with the first stands appearing for spectators in the ground in 1881–1882. Originally the Arms Park had a cricket ground to the north and a rugby union stadium to the south. By 1969, the cricket ground had been demolished to make way for the present day rugby ground to the north and a second rugby stadium to the south, called the National Stadium.
The National Stadium, which was used by Wales national rugby union team, was officially opened on 7 April 1984, however in 1997 it was demolished to make way for the Millennium Stadium
in 1999, which hosted the 1999 Rugby World Cup and became the national stadium of Wales. The rugby ground has remained the home of the semi-professional Cardiff RFC despite the professional Cardiff Blues regional rugby union team moving to the Cardiff City Stadium in August 2009.
On 8 May 2012, it was announced that Cardiff Blues would be returning to the Arms Park on a permanent basis.The site is owned by Cardiff Athletic Club and has been host to many sports, apart from rugby union and cricket; they include athletics, association football, greyhound racing, tennis, British baseball and boxing.
The site also has a bowling green to the north of the rugby ground, which is used by Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club, which is the bowls section of the Cardiff Athletic Club. The National Stadium also hosted many music concerts including Michael Jackson, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and U2.
Only the rugby ground and the Cardiff Athletic Bowls Club now use the name Cardiff Arms Park. The rugby ground has two main stands, the North Stand, which was renamed the Bmibaby Stand in August 2002, and the South Stand. Both the Bmibaby Stand and the South Stand have terracing below seating.The other ends of the ground are the Westgate Street end (east), which has rows of seating below executive boxes, plus the club shop, and the River Taff end (west), which has 26 executive boxes.
The Riverside Football Club, founded in 1899, played some matches at the Arms Park until 1910, when they moved to Ninian Park,and later became Cardiff City Football Club.On 31 May 1989, Wales played its first international game against West Germany
at the National Stadium in a World Cup qualifying match, which ended goalless. It was also the first ever international football match held in Great Britain that was watched by all-seater spectators.
In 1958, the British Empire and Commonwealth Games were held in Cardiff. The event has been the biggest sporting event ever held in Wales, however it would not have been possible without the financial support given by the WRU and the Cardiff Athletic Club.Both the opening and closing ceremonies took place at Cardiff Arms Park, plus all the track and field events, on what had been the greyhound track. It would turn out to be the last time that South Africa
would participate in the Games until 1994. South Africa
withdrew from the Commonwealth Games in 1961.
Baseball & British baseball
Baseball was established early on in Cardiff, and one of the earliest of games to be held at the Arms Park was on 18 May 1918. It was a charity match in aid of the Prisoner of War Fund between Welsh and American teams of the U.S. Beaufort & U.S. Jupiter. British baseball matches have also regularly taken place at the Arms Park and hosted the annual England
versus Wales international game every four years.The games are now usually held at Roath Park.
The first first-class cricket match actually to be held on the ground was between West of England and East of England, on 20 June 1910. In all more than 240 first-class cricket matches were played at Cardiff Arms Park.Only one List A game was ever played at the ground, and this was only the second match of its type: Glamorgan's Gillette Cup fixture against Somerset on 22 May 1963.