Scarlets are pitching in for a top new surface
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.