Twickenham to get a new pitch as part of £75m makeover

Editorin Rugby

EnglandWalkOut2.jpgA new state-of-the-art pitch is to be laid at Twickenham as the first step of a £75 million makeover for the home of English rugby as part of preparations for hosting the 2015 World Cup.

It is understood the old turf at Twickenham was dug up on Monday, with a new 'Desso' pitch, which uses artificial fibres entwined with real grass, to be laid over the next month.

The new pitch, which is expected to be ready to host the London double-header on the opening weekend of the Aviva Premiership on Sept 1, is similar to the one that was laid in the redeveloped Wembley Stadium in 2010 after widespread criticism of the playing surface.

Twickenham hosts more than 60 matches a year and the Rugby Football Union hopes the new pitch, which also features better drainage, will result in a greatly improved surface.

The laying of the new pitch marks the first of a number of improvements to Twickenham's infrastructure, the majority of which should be completed in time for the start of the 2015 World Cup.

"The aim is to make Twickenham the finest stadium in Europe, even though rugby is always number one, to also make it an iconic global entertainment venue as well," said an RFU spokesman.

The north and west stands, constructed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, are to be modernised, with a slight increase in capacity expected, as well as an upgrading of the corporate hospitality boxes.

There will be a new electronic access for ticketing which will replace manual turnstiles in an attempt to crackdown on counterfeit tickets.

More television screens for supporters in the stadium's concourses to watch replays of matches at half and full time are to be installed, while there are to be improvements made to media facilities.

Meanwhile, the casting vote of RFU president Willie Wildash denied Deborah Griffin becoming the first female elected member of the governing body's board of directors.

Wildash instead backed the preferred candidate of the RFU's nominations committee, former board member John Douglas, who was re-elected along with standing directors Ian Metcalfe, John Briers and Peter Whiting at the council meeting on Friday.

Andrew Cosslett, the chairman of England Rugby 2015, the company tasked with organising the next World Cup, was also co-opted onto the board, making him the third independent non-executive director.

Article sourced fron The Telegraph

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