How 3G rugby pitches transform the game for clubs and players

The safety and maintenance benefits of 3G Rugby Pitches.

World Rugby believes that the technology used in artificial playing surfaces has improved over the years, making it far more beneficial for players. The increased use of 3G (third generation) rugby pitch construction has meant that World Rugby has needed to set a new standard for the types of surfaces used.

The World Rugby Artificial Turf Performance Specification requires surfaces to be tested and approved at manufacturer level for organisations involved in 3G rugby pitch construction. All manufacturers and organisations must comply with these regulations if they want their products to be used for rugby.

Regulations in 3G rugby pitch construction

The World Rugby Artificial Rugby Turf Performance Specification has been designed as an important regulation, meaning that rugby cannot be played on any type of pitch, unless it meets these standards, more specifically Regulation 22 and Law 1 of the Laws of the Game. As 3G rugby pitch construction technology evolves over time, it’s likely that the specifications will change, especially as more research is being carried out to advance artificial playing surfaces.

The benefits of a 3G rugby pitch

There are not only safety benefits to players but also hugely reduced maintenance requirements for rugby clubs, meaning there is a long-term cost saving to be made when maintaining pitches to a high standard. By comparing natural grass pitches with 3G artificial surfaces, the latter clearly offers further advantages, including:

• A more attractive looking pitch with no muddiness or worn out areas
• No need to mow or apply pesticides/treatments
• Porous layers for improved drainage
• Shockpad underlay making it much safer for players

Why are artificial surfaces better for players?

Innovative 3G technology uses a synthetic fibre which has been made to imitate real grass, using rubber and sand granules. The older synthetic surfaces were initially produced only using sand, but manufacturers have found that rubber helps the synthetic grass to stay upright, reducing friction burns and grazing for players. The artificial 3G surface usually has a pile length of around 60mm and to meet the World Rugby Head Impact Criteria regulations, alongside the Rugby Union accreditation, it must be installed over a separate shockpad.