RFU’S ARTIFICIAL RUGBY PITCH PILOT SCHEME – HORNETS RFC
MCARDLE SPORT TEC & TIGERTURF WERE DELIGHTED TO HAVE BEEN SELECTED BY THE RFU FOR THE ARTIFICIAL RUGBY PITCH CONSTRUCTION AT HORNETS RFC.
McArdle Sport Tec, TigerTurf UK & Technical Surfaces were pleased to have been selected as the contractor/manufacturer/maintenance team appointed for the artificial 3G rugby pitch construction at major rugby club Hornets RFC, Weston-Super-Mare. Working with TigerTurf, McArdle installed their new “Rugby 360” third-generation artificial rugby pitch at the club’s Hutton Moor Road site. The Hornets were selected as one of the clubs to be included in the pilot scheme which aims to continue the RFU’s Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy of delivering over £50m investment over four years into the development of one hundred artificial rugby pitches across England; sixty on rugby club sites and forty on community sites.
The scheme has been devised by the RFU to offer superior 3G rugby pitch playing facilities across the country, with the RFU pledging to invest in 100 floodlit artificial rugby pitches for the grassroots game across the country over a four-year period. They claim the major driver for installing artificial rugby pitches is to sustain and grow participation in the game whilst overcoming increasing pressure on natural turf pitches, the impact of wetter winters resulting in postponed matches, changing player expectations, and competition from other sports investing in artificial rugby pitches.
Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director said: “With changing expectations and aspirations, it is clear that rugby, like other sports, needs to provide playing surfaces that meet modern requirements.” He added, “Following the Rugby World Cup 2015, there has been an upsurge in interest in rugby, not least from aspiring coaches, referees and young players, and this is an exciting opportunity to further develop our community rugby facilities.” The new scheme is thought to be the biggest single investment in the grass-roots game by the governing body; it follows the decision by the Football Association to invest £260 million to build 600 3G rugby pitches and create 150 football hubs over the next four years.
RFU area facilities manager, Jon Bendle, said: “This really is an exciting opportunity for the entire rugby community in North Somerset. We hope that a number of the surrounding clubs, schools and colleges will want to utilise this great facility.” He continued, “The new facilities will improve the quality of the rugby experience at Hornets and provide more playing opportunities, especially for people in the 14-24 age group.”
The RFU’s official opening ceremony for the new 3Grugby pitch took place on Sunday 15th January 2017. The new artificial sports pitch was opened by RFU President Peter Baines. Preceding the ceremony, Hornets Colts played Weston Colts and immediately after the opening ceremony, The Hornettes played Cullumpton Ladies.
The club held an unofficial opening the previous weekend and over 700 spectators arrived to see the new pitch. Hornets’ first team played their first game on the new artificial grass pitch and beat Camborne. The feedback received about the new artificial sports surface was excellent; we hope the winning streak continues.
“Following the Rugby World Cup 2015, there has been an upsurge in interest in rugby, not least from aspiring coaches, referees and young players, and this is an exciting opportunity to further develop our community rugby facilities.”