Rugby is a tough game, often played in tough weather conditions. The pitch is put through severe stress, and particularly on rainy days the wear and tear on the pitch is enormous which may result in players’ injuries, match cancellations and expensive repairs and maintenance.

Artificial turf provides a suitable surface for rugby. It ensures the correct degree of foothold, shock absorbency, ball bounce, traction, deformation, stability and water drainage to ensure players can play the game to the highest level possible.

Matching Playing Fields to Players Needs

An artificial turf pitch for rugby is made of different components, each performing a specific role: yarn, infill, backing and shock-pad. The ability to predict how an artificial turf system will respond to changes in specific components and how they are combined, is becoming increasingly important today in order to create long-lasting, environmentally friendly and high quality performance systems.

The main challenge for rugby is to get the interaction between the ball and the pitch right, particularly the angled ball behavior, which is what happens when a fast-moving, airborne ball bounces off the surface. A rugby pitch needs a higher piling and greater shock absorbency compared to other contact sports such as soccer in order to attenuate players contact with the surface and avoid injury.
The performance requirements for rugby can be summarised as follows:

  • Turf stability, need to ensure no tufts give when the turf is put under severe tear stress such as during scrums when the turf needs to absorb and hold the pressure of 2 packs of 8 players weighing in total between 850 and 950 kg (1800 - 2000lb) for each pack.

  • Shock absorption, need for a shock absorbent pad, higher pile height, and infill materials to ensure soft landings and avoid injuries.

  • Drainage, need for water drainage system to ensure players can play the game to the highest level possible in virtually all weather conditions.

  • Low abrasion, due to the repetitive skidding on the turf surface at the tackle area as well as in the loose scrums.

Dow understands that design considerations need to be approached from the end user’s perspective. Therefore, when looking at the player’s requirements for artificial turf, the performance criteria applied to our products are – comfort, safety and performance.

With its complementary and closely integrated portfolio of materials and technologies, Dow’s artificial turf solutions team can help specifiers and architects to make an appropriate decision on every component of artificial turf.