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New surface at Murrayfield will be pitch-perfect, says contractor

The Scottish Rugby Union's new hybrid pitch will restore Murrayfield's battered reputation, according to the company preparing to rip up the nematode-infested turf at Scotland's home of rugby.

Desso Sports Systems, the global pitch experts, have already installed a similar 'Grassmaster' surface at the grounds of Scotland's RBS 6 Nations rivals England and Ireland, as well as the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool. Murrayfield will again come under the spotlight tomorrow when Scotland host France, just weeks after the defeat by England last month when critics said that the heavy pitch threatened to make a mockery of such a high-profile sporting occasion.

While the weather in the build up to this weekend has not been as poor as before England's arrival, the ongoing problem with nematodes, root-eating roundworms, is again expected to cause problems for the teams, particularly at set scrums when great chunks of grass have been churned up in previous games.

The SRU have announced their decision to replace the pitch in time for next season with a reported £1.25m hybrid surface, which reinforces natural grass with millions of artificial fibres and, it is claimed, can withstand three times as much playing time as natural grass.

And the firm standing by to move in next month to begin laying the first pitch of its kind in Scotland are confident their product can ensure the current problems are relegated to history as they plan a surface to rival the country's best.

"I think you can look at the success at Twickenham and be confident Murrayfield will get exactly the same," said Alex Stead, a representative for Desso. "The level of work from the contractors is excellent and the product itself will ensure that Murrayfield will be back as one of the best in the UK. Our pitch is being used by 14 of the 20 English Premier League teams."

The SRU announced yesterday that RBS Finals Day will be hosted at Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld, so that work can start on the new hybrid grass pitch at Murrayfield as soon as possible.

"It's important that with four matches on the day - the RBS Bowl, Shield and Cup Finals and the RBS Women's Cup Final - that the playing surface is robust," said the SRU's Director of Rugby Operations.

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