Boks on Tour

Twickenham full of hot air

2010-12-02 21:58
Stephen Nell

London – The severe weather conditions that saw a planned Springbok training session changed to an indoors lineout practice will have no effect on Saturday’s match between the Springboks and Barbarians at Twickenham.

Keith Kent, head groundsman of the RFU, informed Sport24 by e-mail that the playing surface had been protected and was in “fantastic condition”. The RFU also said that the match would go ahead as planned.

“With the threat of bad weather for the whole week we covered the pitch after the England v South Africa game on Saturday night. We are using a McCloud Cover. This is a series of waterproof sheets that zip together to form a cover that covers the whole pitch,” said Kent.

“There is an inflatable tube laid lengthways down the pitch with the cover going on top. We can inflate the tube to a height of 6mtrs, which lifts the cover off the ground, allowing the air to circulate. As soon as the air temperature outside drops to around freezing point we then blow hot air into the tube, which has vents in it and we heat the air inside the cover.

“We blow hot air in the dome as well, so that this week when the outside temperature was minus 4 we had a temperature of plus 3 inside the dome. The pitch was cut and rolled and the posts taken down last Saturday night before we covered the pitch.

“Early Saturday morning, depending on the air temperature, we will deflate the cover and remove it. The pitch is in fantastic condition.”

While the Barbarians finished off their preparations with a 45-minute session in the snow at the Latymer Upper School’s fields on Thursday, Bok management were trying to find an indoor venue big enough for Friday’s captain’s run.

South Africa wanted to train at the Mill Hill School on Thursday, but the conditions did not allow it. A final training session will indeed be welcome considering the new combinations in the Boks’ backline.

The Barbarians have decided that Thursday’s training session will be the final one of the week and will not have a captain’s run.

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