Boks in UK

Will Murrayfield pitch hold up?

2013-11-14 14:11
Murrayfield (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - The Murrayfield pitch is under scrutiny ahead of the Test there on Sunday between Scotland and South Africa.

The Millennium Stadium pitch was in a poor condition for last Saturday's Wales-South Africa Test with the front rankers experiencing difficulty staying up during scrums.

The pitch at Murrayfield is expected to bet better than the Millennium Stadium one, but problems could still arise.

Ground staff at Murrayfield have been working for two months to eradicate the problem of naturally occurring roundworms that are living in the pitch and damaging the root structure of the grass.

Specialists have even resorted to spraying garlic in the affected areas to remedy the problem.

Mark Laidlaw, director of management services at the Scottish Rugby Union, said last week that the parasites have caused a "shallow and weakened root network and, though it continues to perform well in play, it can weaken under the significant pressure exerted by scrums."

Scotland hosted Japan there last week and a Scottish Rugby Union spokesperson said that while play wasn't adversely affected, they still had to repair pitch marks with a fork after scrums took place during the game.

Springbok lock Bakkies Botha, who is expected to start on Sunday, said they're not too worried about playing on a possible suspect surface.

"We're only focusing on the tight phases where we as a team want to improve. We'll discuss it later this week at the captain's practice. If it's in a bad state, then we'll simply have to adapt," Botha told Die Burger's website.

Kick-off is as 17:00 (SA time) on Sunday.

Read more on:    springboks  |  boks on tour  |  rugby

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