Summer 2010

Premier Rugby UK considers switch to synthetic turf

If club owners and other parties directly involved can reach agreement, soon the rugby competition in England will no longer be played on natural grass. Premier Rugby, the organization that represents the top 12 rugby clubs in England, is considering a switch to synthetic turf in order to make the game of rugby more attractive.

The proposed changeover is part of a five-year strategy to hone the profile of club rugby – this with an eye to the World Cup 2015, which England will host. ‘After the summer we are going to take a critical look at the fields,’ says Mark McCafferty (director Premier Rugby). ‘Despite the fact that it was an exceptionally severe winter, several fields are unacceptable. In our opinion, FIFA and the International Rugby Board are working closely together to see whether the new generation of synthetic turf fields is suitable for both rugby and football. We want playing fields with the same consistent characteristics, in the hope that this will lead to a higher level of play. This won’t happen next season, but perhaps after that.’

Rugby match in the Burnham stadium

The Welsh team often trains on an indoor synthetic turf field at their Vale of Glamorgan base. And the British and Irish teams used to train on this field too. The Newcastle Falcons and Murrayfield already train on synthetic turf, but it has never previously been considered suitable for matches.

 

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