The RFU is reported to be investing approximately £50m in 100 artificial floodlit pitches for the grassroots game across the country over a four-year period.
The investment will help to fund two types of pitches in locations across the country to ensure maximum access and rugby participation:
• 60 on rugby club sites to be used by the host club and other local clubs, enabling games to be played and training to be maximised.
• 40 on community sites with a guaranteed number of hours for use by rugby.
Although, there are close to 700 artificial grass pitches in England, rugby can be played on less than 10% of them due to the others not complying with the World Rugby specification for build and performance, which includes criteria such as ball bounce, head impact and carpet joint strength. Of the 10% that are usable, less than 10 are currently located on community rugby club sites.
An RFU statement said: "The major driver for installing artificial pitches is to sustain and grow participation in the game against a backdrop of increasing pressure on natural turf pitches, changing player expectations, competition from other sports investing in artificial pitches and changing weather conditions."
Over the past four years, RFU data shows that wetter winters are having a serious impact on the rugby season, resulting in more games and training sessions being cancelled.
For the full article, visit www.runningrugby.com.