0 Silverdale Memorial Park, Rugby World Cup (RWC) Training Venue

02 09 2011 013Silverdale Memorial Park located 40 minutes North of Central Auckland in the former Rodney District was chosen as a training venue for the RWC 2011.

The venue was chosen to host the Namibian, Japanese and Samoan rugby teams.

In order to meet the standards required for a training venue the council contractor City Care, embarked on an extensive upgrade and maintenance program for two of the existing Legend couch grass sand fields.

The fields are normally dormant couch grass and are used throughout winter for club grade rugby. Without undersowing this venue was already of a high standard with a well performing surface having just won the Sports Field Forum 'Best sand based rugby field' (during the winter 2010 playing season).

However, it was decided to under sow the couch fields with rye grass primarily for aesthetic reasons. Work began on an increased maintenance programme to achieve the desired appearance and performance standards at the end of September 2010 and is detailed in the table below.



Sept 2010

Sprayed out previous rye grass trial and Poa annua using Kerb, Hussar and Partner.

The herbicide application was followed by a spring renovation consisting of coring/ and scarifying and sanding. Full couch grass cover in the existing variety was re-established by late December.

March 2011

Under sowed Reliant 2 turf type perennial ryegrass at 500 kg/ha.

Achieved good rye cover by the end of April.

Applied Prostart fertiliser at 250kg/ha.

April 2011

Applied Turf Supreme plus iron at 250kg/ha.

May 2011

Vertidrained using 25mm tines to a depth and spacing of 200mm.

June 2011

Applied Turf Supreme plus iron at 250kg/ha.

Vertidrained using 25mm tines to a depth and spacing of 200mm.

July 2011

Applied Greenmax liquid fertiliser at 60L/ha.

Vertidrained using 25mm tines to a depth and spacing of 200mm.

Aug 2011

Applied Turf Supreme plus iron at 250kg/ha.

Few weeks later applied Greenmax 100L/ha.

Applied Compass protectant fungicide 1L/ha.

Vertidrained using 25mm tines to a depth and spacing of 200mm.

Line MarkingPrior to the RWC, the fields were in use for club rugby up until four weeks before the handover as a training venue, with the number one field in particular having had 30 games during the season. The turf was cut at twice weekly intervals with a rotary mower at a 50mm height during this time. City Care then switched to using a reel mower at a height of 40mm in August. This regime was then increased to three times per week at a 35mm height using a catcher up to the RWC.

The results of all this work is a very high quality playing surface that the team at City Care can be very proud of. At the time of writing this article all three teams have just finished participating in the RWC but the fields will remain as a backup training venue through to the end of the tournament.

Aaron Schofield is a current trainee with the New Zealand Sports Turf Industry Training Organisation and along with his colleagues Dave Ball and Steve Mullins from City Care, were involved in the upgrade and maintenance of the fields which has been a great experience during his training.

Silverdale Union Rugby Football Club (SURFC), which are based at this park are very happy with the upgrade, "The effort put into the fields has surpassed our expectations and resulted in what I think are the best playing and training surfaces in the region, notwithstanding North Harbour Stadium, and has resulted in some very positive comments.

The Japanese rugby team management, (especially their high performance coaches) made comment that the surface resulted in very few injuries in the run up to the game against the French and had a part to play in their showing in that game" as quoted by club chairman Jon Marshall.

Surprisingly the condition of the turf is, if possible, even better post training with very minimal wear, leaving the contractor in no doubt that maintaining a field for a few elite teams is a walk in the park compared to a full club rugby season accommodating over 550 junior and 200 senior players.

City care logo (RGB)The New Zealand Sports Turf Institute in collaboration with Auckland Council will be using these fields to carry out some research into the effect of different methods of rye grass removal and rye grass retention on the couch sward over the spring and summer. The aim of the trial is to assess the effectiveness of herbicide or mechanical removal of rye grass at monthly intervals and its impact on the recovery of the couch sward. The trial will start at the end of October and carry on through until early next year.

Kellie Rose

Training Coordinator

NZ Sports Turf Institute



Article kindly provided by the The New Zealand Turf Managenent Journal

Lisa Thomas Editor

New Zealand Sports Turf Institute
163 Old West Road
PO Box 347
Palmerston North

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