Glasgow Warriors have shrugged off scathing criticism from their Guinness Pro14 semi-final conquerors Scarlets over the state of Scotstoun’s artificial pitch.
Scarlets’ Wales wing Steff Evans described the 4G surface as “shocking” following last Friday’s match between the teams, which the visitors won 28-13 to reach Saturday’s final.
Full-back Johnny McNicholl said the pitch should be “illegal,” and Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac said players had “got a lot of burns, a lot of bad grazing and blisters”.
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Scotland captain John Barclay suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon early in the game and Edinburgh, who he joins from Scarlets in the summer, confirmed yesterday that he faces at least six months out.
Glasgow issued a short statement following the comments by Scarlets players which read: “Glasgow Warriors are entirely happy with the Scotstoun Stadium pitch, which was only installed in 2016 and is fully compliant with World Rugby’s Performance Specification.”
Glasgow laid the new pitch ahead of last season after a series of waterloggings had caused disruption to their schedule during the previous campaign.
It is the first time that an opposition side has been so vocal in criticising a pitch which has been welcomed by the Warriors as aiding their fast-tempo style of play.
The warm, dry weather in the lead up to and during Friday’s match may have made a difference to how the pitch played.
Pivac claimed that his players could not train on Monday ahead of next Saturday’s final against Leinster in Dublin, with some still sidelined yesterday.
“The main thing is to make the burns heal up,” Pivac said.
“So, no-one trained yesterday in terms of rugby work on the field, and there will be some who won’t train today, which is unfortunate, but we will have a full training session on Thursday.
“It’s things that won’t stop them playing, but it’s not ideal.
“I am not sure what other teams have had, we had got a lot of burns, a lot of bad grazing and blisters.
“The surface was very firm. It is what it is, you have got to play on them and you have got to accept it - but I am not a fan.”
Evans criticised the pitch, stating: “These [wounds] are going to be stuck with me for a while. It is a tough field that 4G.
“It was just really dry. The weather didn’t help, it was like playing on carpet, it was shocking.
“You are waking up in bed and the sheets are stuck to your leg about seven times a night.”
And McNicholl added: “Under foot, it is good when you are running, but as soon as you hit the deck it affects your joints as well.
“I would prefer not to play on them. I remember going down on the deck for the ball and got this massive grass burn on my backside.
“It was like a carpet burn. I said to the trainer straight after with a few words that I felt this pitch should be illegal. I don’t like playing on them because they are high risk for injury.”