ARU Boss Pulver slams Melbourne pitch

The AAMI Park pitch tore up in the Test

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver has slammed the condition of the pitch at AAMI Park which hosted the second Test between the Wallabies and England.

The pitch at AAMI Park in Melbourne has been problematic all season so the ARU were aware of the condition of the playing surface but were given assurances that it would be repaired in time for the Test.

“We have expressed our extreme disappointment to the Melbourne and Olympic Trust (MOPT) following the Test at AAMI Park,” said ARU CEO Bill Pulver.

“The playing surface was clearly not up to the standards required for international Rugby.”

“The issue with the stability of the turf during scrums has existed throughout the Super Rugby season and despite the work done on the surface by MOPT prior to last night’s Test, the end result was simply not good enough.

Pulver said the 30,000 seat rectangular venue, which was hosting its first Rugby Test, made for a great atmosphere.

“The venue itself provided a wonderful experience for fans, it was a ground record crowd and the atmosphere was incredible.”

Pulver confirmed the ARU has an agreement to play a Test match at AAMI Park in 2017, but the venue would need to prove the playing surface is at the standard required for Test Rugby.

“While we haven’t yet announced the fixture, we have an agreement with the venue and VMEC to play a Test match at AAMI Park in 2017.

“The venue is obligated to provide a playing surface which is safe for the playing of international Rugby and clearly this was not delivered upon last night.

“Prior to making any decision about 2017, the stadium must put specific measures in place, including an independent turf expert providing regular reports back to the ARU.

“I have suggested previously that the stadium should investigate a hybrid playing surface, similar to the one used at Twickenham, which is 90 per cent grass and 10 per cent synthetic and stood up superbly to the rigours of the Rugby World Cup.

“AAMI Park must investigate all technology available to improve the surface. If we don’t have satisfactory progress in the coming months, we’ll need to revisit our agreement with them for 2017.

“We want to work with the venue to ensure the stadium is suitable to host Rugby matches moving forward.”

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