Scotland

Murrayfield pitch winning the battle

Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:00
Murrayfield-pitch-with-ball

Its current condition is a matter of understandable concern

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Scottish chiefs are optimistic they are getting the better of parasites that have spoilt the once pristine Murrayfield pitch in time for the Six Nations Championship.

However, Edinburgh said that their Celtic League match against the Ospreys on February 28 may have to be moved elsewhere in order to spare the turf punishment.

Long renowned for the quality of its playing surface, Murrayfield came under attack from nematodes in the build-up to the 2013 end-of-year Tests.

Front row forwards at scrums found life even more difficult than normal when the pitch churned up badly during Scotland's November internationals against Japan, South Africa and Australia.

However, the Scottish Rugby Union say that the "manageable" problem will not pose a threat to the staging of Scotland's two home matches in the 2014 Six Nations at Murrayfield, against England and France on February 8 and March 8 respectively.

"Scottish Rugby continues to monitor carefully the international pitch at Murrayfield Stadium," an SRU spokesman said.

"The playing surface at the home of Scottish rugby has been regarded with justifiable pride for many years; therefore its current condition is a matter of understandable concern.

"This season, however, a parasitic infection, which affected the roots of the re-seeded grass pitch, coupled with the wintry weather, has placed considerable stress on the playing surface, in spite of the tireless work of the Murrayfield ground staff.

"The latest testing of the pitch shows that the problem with the nematodes is now 'manageable' and that the treatment being used to eliminate the worm - which includes spraying the pitch with garlic, then plant sugars to stimulate growth - is beginning to take effect."

AFP

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