Officials at Worcester Warriors are working around the clock to tackle the big freeze gripping the country – with the stadium pitch now covered by a giant inflatable dome in a bid to make sure the Boxing Day clash with Northampton Saints goes ahead.
Temperatures have plummeted at Sixways Stadium this week and the club’s frost covers have been on the stadium pitch for the last week in a bid to protect the playing surface against the wintery weather.
Today (Wednesday) an inflatable dome – provided by Northampton based firm Sports & Stadia Services – has gone into action over the entire pitch and will pump hot air onto the grass.
Local company AA Salts, based in Whittington, have also helped the Warriors ahead of the big day by providing the salt that is being used around the stadium complex to ensure it is safe for supporters.
Director of Rugby Mike Ruddock has praised the groundstaff at Sixways for their fantastic efforts to prepare the pitch and remains confident that the big Guinness Premiership game will now go ahead as planned.
“We have taken huge precautions to try and make sure everything goes ahead as planned,” said Ruddock.
“We have had the pitch covered already with frost sheets that protect and we are bringing in an external company who will be putting up an inflatable dome that pumps hot air onto the ground.
“We will do that for the next few days, right up until the kick-off on Boxing Day when it is taken down and cleared by 3pm ready for the warm ups and then the game.
“As far as we are concerned it is going to go ahead – the ground staff have worked tirelessly and we have done all we can to make sure we get the Boxing Day game on.”
Ruddock added the club’s Indoor Training centre had been crucial to preparations this week, with all outside pitches deemed unplayable.
“The Indoor Centre has been a major bonus for us,” he added. “It’s not always ideal because you don’t get that sense of width or the ability to work in all the space you would normally have with a main pitch.
“In particular it can be hard to work on your kicking game. It’s probably frustrating for our kickers at the moment. They can’t get out on the pitch and practice.
“But we are better off than most teams who are struggling to find the appropriate surface to train on. There is no way you are going to get on a rugby pitch. It is rock hard and we have been checking our pitches on a daily basis. Even astroturf pitches have frozen over, we are blessed to have that facility.”