The guideline for natural turf surfaces for rugby is currently being redeveloped.
World Rugby deems it important to update the guideline, as the current guideline was developed in 2015, Marc Douglas of World Rugby explains. “Some aspects have been covered in this, and yet, like in any other industry, the technology is updated all the time, especially in the use of hybrid turf. This has become far more prevalent in the five years since,” Douglas explained.
The new guideline will cover four aspects:
- Project management and site preparation
- Pitch design
- Pitch maintenance
- Testing and assessment
The first two aspects will be relevant to both synthetic turf and natural turf pitches, and the pitch maintenance, and testing and assessment will be more applicable to natural turf surfaces.
Not a regulation
Douglas pointed out that, contrary to FIFA, World Rugby at present has no intention of regulating natural turf. “This is too difficult for rugby, due to the variables of the turf,” he explained. However, he admitted that this is something that is considered will be done in the future.
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The new guideline is being developed with the input of the who’s who in the international turf industry, including leading agronomists and various experts. “It will contain enough advice specifically on natural turf, as opposed to the usual synthetic turf offering.”
The new guideline will be available early 2021. World Rugby aims to publish it on its updated website in the first quarter of next year. If that is too ambitious, they’ll certainly have it available by the start of the summer.