Warriors to roll out Artificial Grass Pitch

Warriors will become the first Aviva Premiership Rugby Club to convert to the latest generation of Artificial Grass Pitch ahead of the 2016/17 season.

The new pitch will meet all World Rugby synthetic pitch guidelines and will be the first in the UK to feature an organic infill rather than the more widely used rubber crumb made from desiccated car tyres. 

While fellow top-flight sides Saracens and Newcastle Falcons have made the switch to artificial surfaces in recent seasons, Warriors will make the move to play on the state-of-the-art, all-weather surface from Italian specialists, Limonta Sport.

The new turf will permit greater usage for the Club’s Elite, Academy and Community Rugby as well as providing commercial opportunities for events and reducing maintenance costs. 

Warriors Chief Executive Jim O’Toole said: “Our stadium pitch is the single most under-utilised asset in the Club, currently being used for fewer than 100 hours per season.

“The structure of our existing playing surface means that we have to allocate eight to ten weeks per summer break to refurbish it, thus removing the possibility of summertime playing usage or commercial activity.

“This exciting development not only allows us to play more rugby at all levels on our biggest physical asset but also allows us to establish new commercial revenue streams such as concerts, festivals and other non-rugby events.”

The Artificial Grass Pitch will offer players a consistently high-quality surface at all times of the year and through all weather conditions on which to train and play, as the Club continues to build a squad with an aim of becoming one of Europe’s elite sides in the long-term.

The pitch which sits on a rugby-specific shock pad, consists of two elements, grass and infill. The grass, Limonta’s Max S Turf, features a resilient upright fibre system while the infill is Limonta’s industry-leading InfillPro Geo.

The grass on which the players will be playing is a carpet, woven and manufactured with special polymer backing that enhances durability. 

The organic infill is a natural brown colour and consists of organic mix including shredded coconut fibres and gives the impression of being 100 per cent natural as players get muddy rather than suffering friction burns. 

This is the only performance infill in the artificial turf industry with an energy restitution level similar to top natural turf pitches.

It is hypoallergenic and natural in odour, while crucially for rugby, it provides perfect foot stability, enhancing safety for players.

The new surface will be maintained after every ten hours of usage while Warriors have hired additional trained ground staff to deliver the maintenance. 

Work will begin on the main Sixways pitch on Friday 10 June to be completed by mid-August, in preparation for the 2016/17 Aviva Premiership season. 

Manufacturer Limonta Sport have installed more than 650 full-size sport fields worldwide in the last six years for professional football and rugby teams and sit on the RFU framework for UK Rugby pitch suppliers.

O’Toole added: “It is a significant investment on behalf of the ownership and is another step in our journey to make the business profitable in the long term.  To achieve this we must be able to use the pitch for more than 100 hours per season.”