Dons pitch in with some reassurance

Press Releasein Rugby

Aberdeen are confident the positive implications of hosting last weekend's rugby international far outweigh the temporary detriment to the Pittodrie playing surface.

Saturday's Scotland match against Canada has been heralded as a success for the club and for the Granite City but has left the pitch needing major work to be ready in time for the SPL visit of Motherwell this weekend.

More than 17,000 supporters braved the winter conditions to watch top-class rugby in Aberdeen for the second time in three years following the Barbarians' visit in 2005 and the Dons were delighted to prove they are capable of hosting major sporting events.

A major council feasibility study is under way examining the prospect of a new multi-sports arena in Aberdeen and the Dons believe last weekend's match can only strengthen the case.

Club spokesman Dave Macdermid said: "The Scotland match was not done for financial reasons. Although there was financial gain, it was more about showcasing Aberdeen's ability to host these major events.

"It was another example for the feasibility study into a potential community stadium that there is a market and the ability to bring large-scale events to Aberdeen.

"It was a great success and a big crowd considering the adverse weather conditions.

"The SRU was delighted with how things went and have not ruled out returning, while the feedback from the supporters, some of whom had never been to a rugby international, has been unanimously positive.

"Whether it is football, rugby or concerts it has been shown that we can cope with events of this nature if the community stadium gets the go-ahead."

The club is confident the pitch will be up to scratch by the weekend. The overnight snow last Friday left Pittodrie groundstaff with a race against time to make sure the pitch was cleared for the rugby match to go on.

They were successful but some football supporters were alarmed with the battering the surface appeared to take during the match.

Dons manager Jimmy Calderwood also voiced his concerns that it would be in satisfactory condition for an important league match.

Macdermid said: "The damage to the pitch actually had nothing to do with the fact it was rugby being played on it, the reason it cut up was purely down to the weather.

"We had groundsmen on the pitch beforehand clearing the snow and when you do that the grass can get damaged.

"It would have been exactly the same if there had been a football match last week.

"The groundsmen got to work immediately after the game to prepare for the Motherwell game and even they have commented that the pitch is in better shape than they feared.

"They have worked all week but they will know better today just what condition it will be in for Saturday. The game is not in doubt."

Source:-The Press & Journal

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