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SBD Global/January 6, 2014/Facilities

Heavy Rain, Roundworms Result In Concerns Over Rugby Pitches In Scotland

Officials from Pro12 club Glasgow Warriors "are to hold talks with the owners of their Scotstoun stadium ground this week as concern grows about the condition of Scotland’s two main rugby pitches," according to Alan Campbell of the SUNDAY TIMES. The 1872 Cup match between Glasgow and Edinburgh was postponed at short notice on Wednesday evening "because of Scotstoun’s waterlogged playing surface." It was the second Pro12 fixture "within a fortnight to meet that fate," after a similar last-minute postponement of the game against Benetton Treviso on Dec. 20. Glasgow’s next home game is in the Heineken Cup, when it hosts Toulon "a week on Saturday." Should the heavy rainfall that has been a characteristic of this winter render Scotstoun unplayable for a third time, the game "would presumably have to be switched to Murrayfield." In normal circumstances the national stadium, "which has an excellent drainage system, would cope easily with the extra game." However, a "major problem with nematodes -- roundworms that cause serious grass-root damage -- has resulted in the playing surface cutting up badly since the problem was identified in September." A Scottish Rugby Union spokesperson admitted that even without the prospect of an extra fixture, groundstaff faced a “very challenging” task to get the pitch into good shape for the home Six Nations games against England and France. Glasgow Warriors Managing Dir Nathan Bombrys said that talks "would be held with Glasgow Life, who manage Scotstoun on behalf of Glasgow City Council, regarding the pitch." Warriors moved their home games to Scotstoun at the start of last season after sharing Firhill with Partick Thistle. Glasgow head coach Gregor Townsend "is an enthusiastic supporter" of the artificial surfaces used by Saracens and Cardiff Blues, among others, and Bombrys said that he "would be raising the prospect with Glasgow Life." Nevertheless, he added, "There is no guarantee that an artificial surface would have made a difference on Wednesday evening" (SUNDAY TIMES, 1/5).
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