Murrayfield pitch update

Murrayfield ground staff are working round the clock to create the best possible playing surface for the forthcoming viagogo Autumn Tests amidst challenging conditions.

The international pitch has been affected by a naturally occuring turf parasite called nematodes, which damage the grass root structure.

A 24-hour recovery operation has been underway for around a month to treat the condition ahead of the Tests, which begin against Japan this Saturday 9 November (kick-off 2.30pm).

The pitch, which has been used for Edinburgh Rugby games in the Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12, will continue to be treated over the coming months.

Director of Management Services, Mark Laidlaw, said: “A soil examination in September revealed an excessive build up of nematodes which have caused significant root damage.

“The result is a shallow and weakened root network and, though it continues to perform well in play, it can weaken under the significant pressure exerted by scrums.

“We’ve worked with some of the leading experts in this area to examine and treat one of the best surfaces in world rugby using natural remedies, including the spraying of garlic, but it takes a number of weeks to eradicate the problem and then to recover root strength.

The ground staff will continue their efforts to develop and consolidate the root structure, and hope to return the pitch to the standard we all expect to see at the national stadium.”