Saracens unveil artificial pitch
Yis …. can you imagine the grass burns
Snow is cleared from the new artificial pitch at Allianz Park, Saracens’ new stadium in north London. Photograph: Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Saracens are the masters of innovation, a trait that has often irritated the more conservative elements within the sport, but their latest venture is one that every major club and union is watching closely. If the artificial pitch at Allianz Park, their new stadium in north London, proves fit for purpose as a rugby surface, it is likely to herald a new era for the sport – an era without mud.
On Sunday we will be given our first glimpse. Saracens are using their LV Cup tie with Cardiff Blues as a test event, to be played in front of a crowd of 3,500, before the official opening of the 10,000-seat stadium on 16 February, when Exeter visit in the Premiership.
What makes it all so intriguing is that no one has ever seen a proper game of rugby played on such a surface. Fourteen NFL clubs use the same type, but American football does not have scrums or line-outs or a culture of rubbing an opponent’s face in the mud. Rubbing someone’s face in the composite rubber crumb may or may not offend Health and Safety.