FRIENDS of Newport Rugby (FONR) has urged Newport RFC shareholders to consider the alternatives to the Welsh Rugby Union's (WRU) plan to take over the Newport Gwent Dragons.

The WRU has reached "heads of agreement" for a deal which includes the purchase of Rodney Parade.

But the deal must be ratified by 75 per cent of Newport RFC shareholders.

Dragons chairman Martyn Hazell says the WRU takeover is the only viable choice.

But FONR insists there are "alternative options" and the group has urged supporters 'not to dive in' and vote yes before further guidance from the group.

A statement from the Newport RFC supporters' group said: “FONR believes that the directors are putting the needs of the regional side ahead of Newport Rugby Football Club and that there may be alternative options which will enable Newport RFC to retain most of the ground."

The communication to Newport RFC fans adds: “FONR have several times asked for a meeting with the board or the main directors to discuss this point, but have been refused.

“The proposed deal will see the ground sold to the WRU for what appears to be a fraction of its development value, and the primary aim of this is to keep professional rugby at Rodney Parade, but with little, if any, consideration for the future of Newport RFC.

“We are promised another meeting to provide information ahead of the calling of an Extraordinary Meeting of shareholders to vote on the deal.

“FONR will write to all shareholders again after that meeting and when fuller details of the proposal are revealed.

“We would ask that when you receive notice of any formal meeting you give us time to write to you again before you make any decision or return any proxy votes for the meeting.”

The Dragons say their position "has not changed" since last Wednesday's statement.

They say an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) is "likely to be held in the second week of May," while they will also host an additional open meeting for Newport RFC supporters and shareholders.

"At the moment we don't want people diving in and voting yes until all other avenues have been explored," said Kevin Jarvis, secretary of Friends of Newport Rugby and Newport Shareholders.

"The deal from the Welsh Rugby Union is on the table. The board is saying it's the only option and maybe it is,” he told BBC Wales.

"We have to explore whether there are other options available and give people alternatives if there are other options out there."

If the takeover deal was given the go-ahead, the WRU has stated its preference to install a 4G pitch at Rodney Parade.

That could affect tenants Newport County who are battling to stay in the English Football League as the EFL does not allow artificial surfaces.