1960s Artificial turf has come a long way since its development in the early 1960s, when the Ford Foundation, as part of its mission to advance human achievement, asked science and industry to develop an artificial playing surface for urban spaces. Subsequently, American Football became the first sport to benefit from an artificial playing surface at the professional level. But while artificial turf has emerged as the playing surface of choice in professional sports from American Football to soccer and hockey, rugby has not followed suit.
2003 This changed in 2003 with the announcement from the International Rugby Board (IRB) to allow rugby union matches to be held on artificial surfaces. The following year, Rugby League was played on artificial turf for the first time.
Today and Tomorrow Rugby follows a long line of sports that are using artificial turf as their official playing surface. As artificial turf emerges as the playing surface of choice in top sports leagues, the world of rugby is also adapting. Today, the development of 4th generation artificial turf means softer, stronger fibers, advanced infill and non-infill systems. With these technological advances in place, rugby players can benefit from a tailored playing surface to suit their needs and ensure play at the highest level. Already FIFA is considering artificial turf for the 2008 World Cup, so it could only be a matter of time before the Rugby League considers artificial turf in prestigious rugby competitions such as the Six Nations, Lions Tour and Tri Nations.