Loughborough Student RUFC’s chances of improving on last season’s 12th place National League 1 finish have received a timely boost by the unveiling of its stunning new SIS Pitches 3G playing surface.
And the college’s typically high speed, flowing game will thrive on the immaculate synthetic surface when Coventry visit this weekend, for the inaugural game on a pitch that puts Loughborough at the same level as the nation’s biggest professional teams.
Loughborough University Snr Lecturer in sports engineering Dr Paul Fleming, an expert in artificial surfaces, commented:
“Artificial turf technology has reached a high quality for player performance, comfort and durability, when maintained correctly through their life. The similar SIS system installed at Saracens was scrutinised carefully as might be expected at professional level and the feedback has been very positive.
“The sports surface research team here at Loughborough will be monitoring this additional new facility over the coming seasons alongside the several other high quality artificial pitches on the campus.”
Meanwhile, after watching a first practice match, Director of Rugby Dave Morris added:
“The new artificial surface should suit our style of rugby as the pitch is fast and very consistent in terms foot placement and the way the ball reacts, regardless of the weather. In a wider context across campus, the pitch can now be used 24 hours a day, so will be used by players across the whole spectrum of rugby.
“Our first game on this pitch in the RFU National League is this Saturday against Coventry, and we’re excited to be bringing a game that involves local bragging rights onto our new pitch.”
It is the same attention to detail found at Saracen’s Allianz Stadium and Newcastle Falcons and the reason why SIS Pitches insists on both manufacturing and installing their products at top sporting clubs.
The latest grass technology incorporates special high tech sub-surface shockpad platforms designed to provide optimum safety ratings from head impacts.
Students who have watched the immaculate green carpet finish, new posts and crowd facilities being meticulously constructed over three months, will have been surprised by the level of construction detail that goes into creating a top flight rugby pitch.
Team followers will enjoy the speed associated with SIS Pitches’ Rugger 65 artificial grass. And the reasons behind this go right through the construction process, to the type of yarn used in top flight rugby pitch that allow upto 70 hours use per week.
At the same time, player comfort is another key consideration in a very physical sport. Special additives are used to provide softness to prevent player abrasion in these high grade polymers.
The grass comes in an elongated diamond shape and is easier to maintain than traditional fibrillated surfaces. Maintenance will be performed by SIS Pitches to ensure the new surface stays in peak condition. The company also installed the new posts and corner flags. Beautiful timber rounds used for retaining walls, finished off the project.
For a historic team due to celebrate it’s centenary in just four years and the first university side ever admitted to the National leagues, the new pitch will see Loughborough into a bright future.
In 2014 SIS Pitches manufactured more than 500,000m2 of synthetic grass making it the largest manufacturer in the UK. The company installed more than 240,000m2 of synthetic grass sports surfacing making it the no.1 installer in the UK.
Supplying multiple sports clubs worldwide, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchesters City and United and Chelsea, SIS Pitches has been selected for the FA/FF/RFU/EH/SE AGP framework and built more synthetic rugby pitches than any other contractor
• Previous SIS Pitches rugby club installations include Newcastle Falcons (2007)
• University College Dublin (2007)
• Nottingham University (2008)
• University of Durham (2009)
• Burnage Rugby Club (2010)
• Telford College of Art & Technology (2012)
• Dundee International Sports Centre (2012)
• Saracens Rugby Club (2012)
• University of Durham (2013)
• Pennyhill Park (2014)
• Odd Down Playing Fields, Bath (2014)
• Darrick Wood School, Orpington (2014)
• Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club (2014)
• SIS Pitches is ISO 9001/14001 accredited and a World Rugby Preferred Turf Producer.
Here’s a look at the processes that have transformed a tired surface:
Stripping away the tired old surface revealed a foundation that was laid long before the laser-levelling dozer’s used by SIS Pitches. It was noticeably uneven in places and placed over a layer of water impervious mudstone that presented flooding issues.
The entire 124x75m surface was excavated and re-graded by laser with a 1m fall over 100m to ensure efficient drainage through the coiled and perforated piping. A layer of geotextile surface and weed prevention treatment was installed, with a stone layer on top ready to receive a 40mm layer of Bitmac.
Player safety is a prime concern for modern rugby clubs and Regulation 22 is the regulation which governs the standard in relation to the use of artificial rugby turf. HIC, or Head Impact Criteria developed from playground surfaces testing, measures the impact of an object falling from a specific height onto a surface. Due to the nature of rugby and the heights from which players could potentially fall this is an essential testing criterion.
The 25mm graded rubber shockpad, weighing 9,300 kg, and installed by SIS Pitches reaches the required standard and also provides even ball performance. The quicker players often note that their speed increases over synthetic surfaces and the shockpad plays its part.
The final layer is, of course, the synthetic grass carpet and Loughborough opted for the premium Rugger 65 – all 1287 rolls of it. The polyethylene monofilament yarn is stitched with a 65mm pile height in a sports and bright green two tone colour. The pitch surrounds are laid in a complementary olive colour. The touchlines were stitched in and the inner dashed lines cut in and secured with adhesive.
This yarn, supplied by Scotland’s Bonar Yarns and stitched by SIS at their Maryport, Cumbria factory. With 10,700 stitched per sqm it offer optimum pile recovery and resilience with glass fibre reinforcement for durability.
Watch here as Dave Morris explains Loughborough’s exciting new 3G pitch.
SIS Pitches and Artificial Grass Ltd manufactures, designs, installs and maintains deluxe artificial grass surfaces for sports clubs, homes, public spaces, schools and offers a range of associated products. It is based in Maryport, Cumbria.