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Artificial Pitches

rob39

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So 1 year on for Saracens and Newcastle's 1st season, what's the thoughts on the new Pitches from a spectators point of view??? Any thoughts on what the players think?
 

TRF_Olyy

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Players seem to unanimously hate them (bar the ones whose pitches they are, who I imagine are told to toe the party line).

I don't think it really makes that much of a difference to the game either - you'd expect a non-mudbath to produce a better game in the winter, but the Sarries Tigers game on the weekend could have been in a quagmire for the amount of scrum collapses, trips and greasy ball there was.
 

ratsapprentice

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I agree with all that Olyy says...

They are great for community use, but not appropriate for elite professional sports, IMO.
 

Tony Manx

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Welcome to the future guys.......
 

Tigs Man

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Desso is the way to go.
 

Parmos

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think they look good and obvs weather proof my son played up at the falcons in December at a festival weekend with loads of other teams but bad weather put and end to most of the travelling clubs so only the local clubs played so they ended up playing on the falcons main pitch so basically the little comp went ahead.

then watched the Saracens gump the Falcons
 

Young_T

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not good for football so shouldnt be used for rugby.
 

TRF_stormer2010

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I don't have any input performance-wise but I always wonder why have green pitches if they are artificial. Sure a black or red pitch for Sarries would be both dramatic and intimidating to any visiting team not used to it? I mean, its not grass, it needn't be green. Its like laser pointers; people don't know what to make of it so it ends up looking like a pen.
 

jonny24

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It gets distracting to have other colours. Ever try to read something on red paper? Black would get way too hot. And then teams would need to switch jerseys based on pitch colour as well as opposition colour. Google Boise State football field, I can't get the image to work.

I wouldn't be opposed to try zones being coloured but leave the main field green.

As for playing on them, I've only done it a couple times and it's definitely not as nice as real grass. The one time it was good was a winter 7's tournament that was like minus 10 out, real ground would have been rock hard so turf was better.
 

Tigs Man

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Anyone heard of the them being linked to Cancer? Apparently study going on in US.
 

RedruthRFC

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It gets distracting to have other colours. Ever try to read something on red paper? Black would get way too hot. And then teams would need to switch jerseys based on pitch colour as well as opposition colour. Google Boise State football field, I can't get the image to work.

How come Ireland are allowed to play in green then? Have they been getting away with cheeky camouflage tactics for 140 odd years?!? To be fair, green would be my last choice of jersey colour for the reason of contrast.

I see that 3G pitches appear to be in the firing line at the moment. The BBC ran an article this week about a parent blaming his son's cancer of playing on a 3G pitch and Florida (IIRC) have banned their use over these concerns. The allegation (that nobody has yet to prove to be legitimate) is that the crumbs that support the surface contain a carcinogenic material. In all likelihood it's a storm in a tea cup, but if I was involved with a junior club considering a 3G surface, it would leave me rather wary of ending up with an expensive white elephant where the first team pitch used to be.

- - - Updated - - -

Anyone heard of the them being linked to Cancer? Apparently study going on in US.

Apparently I type too slowly - your post wasn't there when I made this one!
 

Ddanno

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Anyone heard of the them being linked to Cancer? Apparently study going on in US.

I think there was a post/thread about that on here quite recently. Can't be arsed to find it. As a non-oncologist and observer of media, I find it likely, since everything causes it.
 

RedruthRFC

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Lots of studies showing they increase the likelihood of injuries.

If these studies are conclusive, why on earth do World Rugby and individual unions continue to leave themselves open to litigation by continuing to sanction their use. I wasn't aware of such studies, just anecdotal evidence from players, but even this suggests to me that at very least a high level of caution is advisable.
 

RedruthRFC

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Lots of studies showing they increase the likelihood of injuries.
@ratsapprentice I'm involved in a discussion about these pitches and the RFU's scheme to build 100 more of them on another forum. Do you have a link to an article referencing the studies that you mention or the studies themselves that I could share on that forum please?

In answer to OP's question, my impression based on anecdotal evidence is that they players aren't keen. Tweets from players to this effect have been posted here in the past, as I believe has an article in which Rob Baxter says that having chosen to rest Jack Nowell rather than risk his recovering knee at Kingston Park, they need further investigation.

From a spectator's (purely selfish) perspective, they must be a good thing - less chance of a match being postponed and less chance of a mud wrestle (although we are told further up the thread that this isn't always the case). I believe that when they came in, one of the selling points was less reset scrums. As usual with new innovations / trials in rugby, I've yet to see any sort of analysis of the material effect that they are having on matches (if any). It would be interesting to see a comparison of the number of reset scrums, time taken to complete scrums (and various metrics) on 3G vs Desso vs pure grass.

Apropos of nothing and talking of the other forum I mentioned above, I've read comments suggesting that there are clubs at lower levels with a more forwards based approach that have stymied themselves by fitting a 3G surface and failing to adapt their approach to suit the new surface.
 
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RedruthRFC

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Thanks rats. Being rubbish at finding these things for myself was a good part of the reason that my academic career was disappointing at best!
 

ratsapprentice

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No problem... I think the evidence from aggregated studies suggests quite clearly that non-contact (soccer) studies are not really very useful when considering artificial pitches' safety for rugby.
There is a clear difference in the findings between NFL and Soccer.
 

RedruthRFC

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Is this an area you've done much research / reading on rats? I'd be interested in your take (so I can plagiarise it and try to look smart in my own right).

I was interested to see that the RFU's Head of Sports Science has collaborated on one of the RU papers which (based on the abstract) calls for further research. I'm also interested that it notes consistently greater muscle soreness following matches on artificial surfaces and wonder what could be inferred from this.
 

ratsapprentice

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I've not done much research other than reading the abstracts of studies into the various surfaces and trying to gauge what the opinion of the professional sport seems to be generally.

I think the studies speak for themselves - my interpretation is that there is a cause for concern. Specifically - that certain circumstances (which are common in contact sports) are far more dangerous on artificial turf than on grass.
Hence the significant increases in ACL and ankle injuries seen in many of the Gridiron studies - my initial guess would be that it's related to feet being planted/trapped and the person turning/twisting by his own actions or by the weight of a tackle.
Although it could be down to the hardness of the surface - which is probably also the reason behind the increase in muscle soreness (more energy having to be dissipated in the muscles, as opposed to through the mud).

I feel fairly confident that if you conducted a poll of everyone involved in premiership rugby (players, coaches, s&c teams etc.) you would see a fairly clear (strong!) preference for grass, and that they do think there is a tangible increase in the likelihood of injury on artificial surfaces.

Given the clear differences seen in the football/soccer studies, it makes sense that a study specific to rugby might be beneficial, however - the lack of surfaces actually being used by professional sides presents a bit of a challenge in obtaining the necessary amounts of data.
 
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