Plastic Pitches Called into Question Again

by admin on May 28, 2016

Ed Slater leads his Leicester team into a crucial semi-final clash with Saracens this weekend, but is concerned by more than just the stiff opposition faced, after questioning whether the artificial surfaces increasingly used are good for the players. The game will be held at the Allianz Park, one of the venues where an artificial surface is used.

He said: “I am not an advocate of plastic pitches and do not like them whatsoever for various reasons. I am not making an issue for the semi-final – Saracens have been brilliant all season, thoroughly deserve to be at home and we have to get on with it – but in general.

“I know there have been studies that say there are no more injuries on plastic pitches than on grass, and other points in favour of them, but from my experience your ankles, knees, hips and back ache a lot more than after a game on grass. That is not a healthy sign.

“It is hard to tell if my injury at Saracens five months ago was down to the plastic pitch. Logic tells you my knee would have planted in the ground differently on grass and with more of these surfaces being laid, it is something that needs to be looked at.

“You grow up playing on grass pitches and running around on fields and your body gets used to that. Then plastic pitches come around which you have never adapted to and which put different stresses on your body. That is not great when you are playing as physical a game as rugby where the collisions are massive and the demands on your joints huge.”

Despite his concerns however, Slater knows the importance of putting all the focus on the game itself. “We have to take the pitch out of the game,” said Slater. “We are there to win and you cannot let factors like the surface be a distraction”.

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