Cheetahs' pitch to get facelift
Cape Town - The Cheetahs will return from the Australasian leg of their Super Rugby campaign to a better looking surface at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
The condition of the playing surface deteriorated in the last while which forced the Free State Rugby Union to enlist the help of experts to resurrect the field.
The union has enlisted "grass specialist" Christo Coetzer to the fix the problem.
Coetzer, along with Piet le Roux, a professor from the University of the Free State, now have the task of getting the field in order before the Cheetahs return from their tour.
"The field for the last two games looked pathetic. We're not shying away from that. It is, however, not the rugby union's fault," Coetzer told the Volksblad website
"In April last year, the city council appointed an outside contractor who was in charge of the field. In November, the local municipality appointed its own contractor and those guys took care of the field until two weeks ago.
"We only took control of the field a week before the first Super game (against the Lions on February 15)."
The only solution would be to re-plant a new field.
"We already started on Saturday morning when we removed the top layer of the field and made it level. We're adding a cool-season grass so the field can look nice when winter arrives," added Coetzer.
"Myself, the rugby union and professor Piet le Roux from the University of the Free State are working together. He is our technical advisor for fertiliser and ground conditions.
"We're taking a more scientific route than in the past. I'm very excited. People will be able to take a nice picture of the grass when they arrive here in four weeks' time."
The Cheetahs tackle the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday, before facing the Reds (March 7), Hurricanes (March 15) and Blues (March 22) before returning to South Africa.
Their next home game is against the Chiefs on April 5.