Rugby players need to be able to outmaneuver the opposition by keeping up a dynamic pace to ensure effective catching and passing of the ball. So an artificial pitch needs to aid this movement. Players also need a pitch which enhances movement of the game i.e. helping them to start, stop and change direction abruptly, sprint, jog and walk forwards, backwards and sideways, jump, slide and fall over.
A Safe Surface to Play
An artificial turf pitch for rugby needs to ensure a top quality playing surface that minimizes the risk of injury while providing the performance of a natural grass pitch.
Game differences exist between the Rugby League and the Rugby Union. Rugby League is a stop and start play similar to American Football with no loose scrums and scrums as in Rugby Union. In comparison, the Rugby Union is continuous play until there is a foul, or out-of-bounds play, this requires a much higher performing turf.
Safety continues to be the major concern amongst rugby players when it comes to artificial turf, which has been wrongly accused of causing more injuries than natural grass. According to a number of studies on athletic injuries there is no significant difference in the number of major injuries reported while playing on natural grass or artificial turf fields. (1)
In recent surveys of synthetic turf pitch users, third generation (3G) pitches were regarded by a number of facility managers to be particularly suitable for soccer, rugby and American Football. A perceived advantage of this type of surface was that it is a ‘safer environment to play on’ that is ‘not slippy’ and ‘good for children’. Other advantages included its suitability in virtually all weathers, its similarity to grass, that it wears well and that there is less risk of injury. (2)