Saracens and Cardiff Blues had few complaints with the artificial pitch after LV=Cup clash at Allianz Park

Times Series: Saracens and Cardiff Blues reflect on new artificial pitch Saracens and Cardiff Blues reflect on new artificial pitch

Players and coaches from both Saracens and Cardiff Blues said they were happy with the artificial turf at Allianz Park, insisting the surface presented no serious problems during their LV=Cup clash yesterday.

The Men in Black won the match 19-11 but all eyes were on the 4G pitch - the first of its kind to ever be used in a professional rugby union match - and both camps seemed satisfied with how the plastic grass had affected the game.

Sarries coach Alex Sanderson said: "We're very happy with it. Cardiff were saying that back in Wales, and in fact here, there have been so many games called off due to bad weather and waterlogged pitches and the snow melting and everything else.

"So I think we feel extremely lucky and privileged not only that we can play on and have a decent game of rugby but also that we've used it all week so the quality of training remains very high which it has been this week."

There were a handful of injuries during the match but Sanderson insisted none of the knocks were pitch-related.

"There are no unsurprising injuries as yet, just the common and garden ones you get on a regular pitch on a regular weekend," he said.

"Not from what the physios say anyway. We train on an artificial pitch two or three times a week as it is so we're quite confident that it's a better surface than what a grass suface would give you because of its consistency, because it drains unbelievably well and hopefully it'll be a massive home advantage for us to be able to train on it every week."

Cardiff fly-half Ceri Sweeney echoed Sanderson's comments about the surface.

He said: "It's obviously different but it's a lot easier to handle - the ball is nice and dry all the time, when you kick the ball it doesn't skid on as much as it does on a grass pitch, it kind of bounces and holds up so that's kind of different but it was good.

The Blues number ten said he didn't encounter any issues with his kicking either.

"As long as you're using a tee I think it's okay," he said. "It was a bit windy out there early on but I think that'll get a bit better once they've finished all the stadium so it was fine as well for that as long as we have the tee."

There were suggestions the rubber crumb could cause burns when players fall but Sweeney downplayed those fears. 

"You do get a bit of that if you land on it straight on, I think it does if you jar on it whereas if you're on grass you kind of skid.

"It does hurt a little bit sometimes but when you're playing you dont really notice it until you come off."

He added: "Everything has its pluses and minuses - I suppose the purists would rather everyone play on grass and let the heavens open but I think the powers that be obviously want an entertaining game."

Blues director of rugby Phil Davies said: "The surface is very consistent and the scrums were pretty tidy today.

"There was some good balls coming out of the scrum for both teams so I suppose that speaks for itself.

"The breakdown, again there was some quick ball coming from there - there was a lot of movement in the game for both teams so that's positive."

 

 

 

 

 

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