URC: Stormers admit Cape Town Stadium pitch is ‘on its last legs’
Stormers assistant coach Dawie Snyman is not concerned about the condition of the Cape Town Stadium pitch, but does concede that “it’s on its last legs”.
The less than ideal playing surface has been an issue during Stormers’ matches for some time and tore up badly during their 33-21 quarter-final victory over the Bulls on Saturday, especially at scrum time.
Big talking point
The state of the pitch has been a big talking point since last season as large chunks of turf have been cut up as the campaigns have progressed. However, the issue has been exacerbated this year after a Monster Jam trucking event took place at the venue a few weeks ago.
The situation is set to improve when a new hybrid pitch, which is 50% synthetic and 50% grass, is laid in July.
In the mean time, the Stormers will have to make d0 with playing on the current surface, which does not benefit their expansive style of play.
“Look, it’s where we’re playing at the moment. Maybe it’s an advantage for us because we understand the surface,” Snyman told Sport24.
“We get opportunities to train on the field. It’s not something we really complain about. We just get on with it.”
While the playing surface is something they cannot control, Snyman believes that it has probably reached peak deterioration.
“It’s probably on its last legs,” he said. “There’s not much we can do about it, there will be some rain later this week too so I’m not sure if that’s going to help.
“But the last three to four games have been similar, so I don’t think it will get any worse. This past weekend is probably the worst we’ve seen it.”
Connacht could be at a disadvantage
There is a view that the poor state of the pitch could be a disadvantage for Connacht as they have never played at the venue.
The Irish province’s previous two United Rugby Championship matches against the Stormers were at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, and they only arrive in Cape Town on Wednesday for Saturday’s semi-final.
But Snyman does not buy into that.
“It’s something to get used to, but Connacht, even though they play on an artificial pitch, are confronted with pretty difficult conditions at their home ground [in Galway] at times,” he added. “If there’s one team that would be capable of adapting to [what’s required at Cape Town Stadium], it’s them.
“It might take a few minutes, but it won’t take them long.”
READ MORE: United Rugby Championship: Stormers have some ‘niggles’ which could be a ‘threat’ for the semi-final against Connacht
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