Work on re-laying Murrayfield pitch begins

Re-laying of the rugby pitch at Murrayfield Stadium began in earnest yesterday after two months of painstaking preparation digging up the old surface.

Work begins on re-laying the Murrayfield playing surface. Picture: SNS/SRU
Work begins on re-laying the Murrayfield playing surface. Picture: SNS/SRU

Since March, the ground has been excavated and replaced with fresh soil to combat an infestation of nematode worms which attack the grass root structure – making the pitch susceptible to damage during scrums.

Work has now begun replacing the pitch with a state-of-the-art hybrid of synthetic and real grass, which officials at the stadium in Edinburgh claim is “widely recognised as the best grass surface in the sporting world”.

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The new pitch will be based on the system already installed at such stadiums as Manchester United’s Old Trafford; Liverpool FC’s Anfield and Wembley. Yesterday saw the erection of several marquees that will house the machines that “stitch” the millions of synthetic turf fibres into the ground.

This process is expected to take around two-and-a-half weeks.

After the One Direction concert takes place at the stadium on 3 June, the second phase of the replacement will begin with sowing of grass seed. It is expected the pitch will be ready in time for the start of the 2014-15 season.

The move is the biggest single investment at Murrayfield since the stadium was reconstructed in 1994.

Stadium officials say that one of the key advantages of the hybrid pitch is that it has a faster recovery than natural grass alone and that it can be used intensively, hosting more than 40 fixtures in a season.