The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) tour squad has scored its first tries on a new artificial turf pitch constructed by White Horse Contractors at the Welsh Rugby Union's new £2m Centre of Excellence at the Vale Resort in Hensol, Wales.
The new state of the art artificial turf 3G rugby pitch completed in May is part of the second phase of works undertaken by White Horse Contractors, which is projected for overall completion this September.
Working closely alongside pitch designers Geo-turf Consulting, White Horse Contractors has worked on the site throughout phase one of the project, using its specialist sports surface construction expertise, machinery and technical knowledge to deliver a range of world-class facilities at the site.
Once completed, the development will consist of three full size natural turf pitches for exclusive use by the Welsh Rugby Union teams. Complementing these are an indoor arena which houses a half size artificial turf pitch and the artificial 3G pitch, where the team recently played.
The new 3G surface from TigerTurf was constructed by White Horse Contractors' team to the highest of specifications and the pitch exactly replicates the dimensions of Wales' home ground, the Millennium Stadium. At 130m x 80m it has been laid on a bespoke performance base designed to provide the most realistic underfoot performance for players whilst minimising injuries.
TigerTurf is White Horse Contractor's premiership partner, delivering the state of the art 'Total Rugby' surface. Bryn Lee, Managing Director of TigerTurf, said, "We are delighted to have been chosen to deliver this bespoke service for the WRU. Our credentials within rugby are very strong and this is a flagship addition to our rugby portfolio which includes Twickenham, Exeter Chiefs and Magners League side Cardiff Blues who will also be using the new WRU facility at the Vale Resort."
In working on the site over the winter, White Horse Contractors faced the challenge of the inclement local weather and poor ground conditions. Stephen Greene, director at White Horse Contractors, oversees the work: "At an early stage, it was clear that the site was difficult due to very soft areas of ground and the presence of groundwater. We dealt with this by using our specialist low ground pressure plant and machinery, increasing the intensity of the drainage installation using our own specialist sportsturf drainage machinery and by laying a 'tri-axial' geogrid under the stone base. These solutions all played their role in achieving the final close tolerance playing surface."
As a specialist external contractor, White Horse Contractors takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously and is committed to ensuring the WRU project is developed in a sustainable way. Where possible all material has been retained on the site and special attention has been given to the retaining the biodiversity of the Vale resort's campus.
This project is a three-way partnership with investment from the Welsh Rugby Union, the owners of the Vale Resort and the Sports Council for Wales, which allocated a £1.5m National Lottery grant to the development.
Welsh Rugby Union Group chief executive, Roger Lewis, said: "We are creating a Centre of Excellence which will truly be the envy of the rugby world. This will take Wales to the forefront of the professional game when it comes to providing the facilities needed to achieve success at international level."
Echoing this Stephen Leeke, managing director of the Vale Resort said: "We have been working in close partnership with the WRU since 1999. Investing in our nation's sporting excellence is something that we believe in and wholly support both from a family and a commercial point of view. We can now go forward with our long term lease agreement with the WRU and this facility will provide sports teams with a range of training facilities which cannot be found anywhere else in the UK."
For more information about White Horse Contractors' specialist expertise in constructing world-class sports pitches, visit www.whitehorsecontractors.co.uk <http://www.whitehorsecontractors.co.uk>