Scar­lets are pitch­ing in for a top new sur­face

Llanelli Star - - SPORT -

THE Scar­lets have be­come the last Welsh re­gion to move away from an all-grass play­ing sur­face by in­stalling a state-ofthe-art pitch in time for the start of next sea­son.

Parc y Scar­lets will have £550,000 ploughed in to a project that will see the cur­rent pitch com­pletely re­placed by a new high-tech hy­brid sys­tem.

It will be the first time that the pitch has un­der­gone such a ma­jor up­grade since the sta­dium opened in 2008.

The sur­face will be sim­i­lar to that at New­cas­tle’s St James’ Park, Read­ing’s Made­jski Sta­dium and Glas­gow’s Celtic Park, the venue for this year’s Guin­ness PRO14 fi­nal.

The new SISGrass sys­tem com­bines ar­ti­fi­cial fi­bres with the tra­di­tional grass that is pro­duced for sports pitches.

With work start­ing this week, the ex­ist­ing fi­bre-elastic root­zone is to be re­moved and re­placed by 2,500 tonnes of sand and soil mix, which the hy­brid sys­tem will be later stitched into.

The in­stal­la­tion, which is be­ing car­ried out by Magor-based South Wales Sports Grounds, will take six weeks to complete.

“The de­mands of pro­fes­sional rugby in­evitably have a ma­jor im­pact on the turf, es­pe­cially dur­ing the colder win­ter months when the sur­face is more prone to dam­age,” said Scar­lets head grounds­man Luke Jenk­ins.

“By in­stalling this SISGrass hy­brid sys­tem it will re­in­force the pitch to en­sure a top-class play­ing sur­face through­out the year.

“Sim­i­lar sys­tems have been in­stalled in elite sta­di­ums across the globe.

“At Parc y Scar­lets we con­stantly strive to pro­duce the best sur­face pos­si­ble for the team and this in­vest­ment will greatly aid us in achieving that goal.”

Scar­lets chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Phillip Morgan said: “This is a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment to en­sure we have a world-class sur­face here at Parc y Scar­lets.

“The same hy­brid sys­tem has been in­stalled at a num­ber of the lead­ing sport­ing venues in the coun­try.

“It will not only help the side play the brand of rugby we as­pire to, but it will also as­sist us in gen­er­at­ing our non-rugby rev­enue in terms of at­tract­ing con­certs and events to the ground.”

The new Guin­ness PRO14 sea­son will get un­der way at the end of Septem­ber – a few weeks later than nor­mal – due to the forth­com­ing World Cup in Ja­pan, which starts on Septem­ber 9.

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