Pretoria - The worries about the Loftus Versfeld playing pitch certainly were unfounded after the way it stood up to the hammering of the weekend.
The Vodacom Bulls tore through the Lions in their Vodacom Super 14 match on the ground without incident and the pitch inspection after the game showed that there was little wear and tear and certainly not much to be worried about for the upcoming FIFA Soccer World Cup.
This was in stark contrast to the B-field, where the Vodacom Cup quarterfinal was moved and where the Blue Bulls marched on after a 17-6 win over Western Province in a mudbath last Saturday.
That field took such a hammering in the rain that this Saturday’s Vodacom Cup semifinal against the Sharks has been moved to the C-field next door, which considering the amount of rain in Pretoria this last week, can ready itself for another mudbath this coming weekend.
Stadium manager Hugo Kemp told Supersport.com that he was happy with the way the main pitch withstood the battering, especially as 100mm of rain fell overnight – 70 of which during a torrential storm on Friday evening.
Teams have already been banned from practising on the pitch and only the two remaining Bulls home games against the Sharks and Crusaders will be allowed on the Loftus A-field.
“Looking at the pitch today, it really withstood everything and is looking very beautiful at the moment. The drainage under the pitch worked very well and we were very impressed with the way it took so much rain, but didn’t sustain much damage on the day.
“The grass didn’t suffer much and didn’t break apart and the roots are now really set for a good season ahead,” Kemp told Supersport.com.
Bulls captain Victor Matfield was similarly impressed, saying there were times when it felt like a dry pitch, even though it was in wet conditions.
“We were very surprised at the pitch, especially given the amount of rain it took but at times it was dry, and very firm and not like we were expecting in the wet conditions.”
The outer fields are a stark contrast to the main pitch and given all the publicity about the state of the pitch, FIFA officials can rest easy this week knowing the Bulls have certainly kept their word to deliver a fine surface.