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Lions move to Kempton Park

Thu, 23 Jan 2014 08:33
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Grass' roots did not take as well as expected
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The Lions have been forced into a late change of venue, ahead of their pre-season Super Rugby warm-up matches against the Leopards.

Golden Lions Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Manie Booysen confirmed to this website that concerns about pitch conditions forced the move upon them.

The Lions will now meet the Leopards with two teams at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park.

An early game, between the Vodacom Cup teams of the Falcons and Blue Bulls, will get underway at 15.00. Then the Lions and Leopards go head-to-head at 17.00 and 19.00.

Booysen confirmed that a call was made on Thursday morning to switch venues, over concerns that the Ellis Park pitch would cut up too much.

The Lions' main stadium, Ellis Park, gets re-seeded twice a year and they redid the pitch after the completion of the Currie Cup competition in October.

However, unfavourable weather conditions - when it rained more than expected in December - meant the grass' roots did not take as well as expected.

"We added a lot more compost and worked hard on the pitch," Booysen told this website.

"We checked the pitch on Monday and had a final inspection this [Thursday] morning, when the call was made to move the games," the CEO told this website.

He said that with a big game against the Sharks - their final pre-season outing - on Friday, February 7, they want to keep the pitch in pristine condition.

The Barnard Stadium, who hold a capacity of close to 10,000, has adequate lighting for the late game and ample parking.

Entry for the games remains free.

By Jan de Koning

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