Artificial rugby pitches are becoming more and more popular with clubs as they can be used all year round, and they don’t become boggy and ruined during the tough winter months. Not only can these pitches be used for rugby, but they are also great multi-sport surfaces, which is why schools, University’s and councils are using 3G grounds.
International Rugby Board regulations require that any artificial 3G rugby turf is able to meet the standards of play for full contact rugby (rucks, mauls and scrummaging etc…). Artificial surfaces are designed to mimic real rugby pitches and, as such, can be used by any club as their home ground in a rugby league. Widnes in 2012 and Saracens 2013 were the first Rugby league and Rugby union teams to use artificial pitches in the professional game. Since then Cardiff Blues (2013) and Newcastle Falcons (2014) have joined this elite group at the top tier of UK rugby, and Scotland have in November 2014, become the first top-tier International team to play a fixture on synthetic turf when they played Tonga on Kilmarnock Town FC’s surface at the aptly named Rugby Park.
3G pitches are constructed using long-pile artificial grass, filled with specialist sand and topped with rubber crumb granules. This turf is usually laid on top of a shock pad base, providing a 3G surface that is both tough and hard wearing but also forgiving for the very stringent impact and safety rules expected for all forms of Rugby.
Advantages of 3G rugby pitches are that they are playable in almost all conditions – rain and frost are still usually playable – and the 3G turf can be used much more frequently without deterioration. These are particularly viable for clubs and educational facilities who want a high workload on these pitches or are lacking space as 3G grounds are also suitable for other sports such as football.
There have been many developments over the years to artificial turf, but there has been no 4G turf created (yet!). When turf is referred to as 4G, this generally means that they have a 3G pitch that has been installed using the most up-to-date technologies. There have been significant advancements on the original 3G turf to warrant calling it 4G, but there have been lots of technological advancements in terms of construction, installation and maintenance.
Kestrel has experience installing both synthetic and natural turfs, including the most up to date 3G turf, with clients like the University of Surrey and Exeter Chiefs RFC. You can find out more about our artificial rugby pitches by contacting us on 01256 880 488.