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Townsend makes pitch for surface at Scotstoun

After losing a second successive RaboDirect PRO12 home game to the weather, Gregor Townsend has called for an artificial pitch to be installed at Glasgow Warriors' Scotstoun base.

The Scotstoun surface was waterlogged
The Scotstoun surface was waterlogged

Following persistent heavy rain, the Warriors' 1872 Cup match against Edinburgh was called off less than an hour before the official 6.05pm start time yesterday, and only an hour after the club's Twitter feed had suggested it would go ahead. After the call-off of their previous home game, against Treviso on December 20, it will do Glasgow's hopes of reaching the PRO12 play-off stages no good that they now have to find two free dates in the busy calendar. The most likely possibilities are the Heineken Cup quarter and semi-final weekends in April, although at least one of those would be ruled out if Edinburgh were to reach the knockout stages.

Townsend explained he believed the pitch was still playable less than half an hour before referee Andrew McMenemy ruled otherwise, however he stressed that he had no argument with the official's decision. "I've no problems with the fact it's not on," said the coach. "We all wanted to play but unfortunately the weather beat us. The inspection was planned for 5pm and he said there was potential for putting it back half an hour if the rain cleared. One forecast that came in said it was going to clear around 6pm, but the time he [McMenemy] looked at it at 5pm he said he'd have to call it off. We understand that it was a big hassle for fans, but we were all hoping that we could play."

Scotstoun has been popular since it became Glasgow's base at the start of last season. However, as a municipal facility managed by Glasgow Life, the club is effectively only a tenant and have no freedom to install a different surface. It is understood an artificial pitch has been ruled out in the past as it is used for athletics field events.

A new grass pitch was laid a few months ago, but Townsend said the time is right to look at the issue. "The pitch looks and plays better than last season, but we've now had two games off. I'm a big believer in 3G. We played on a 3G pitch this year at Cardiff. We enjoyed playing on it and I believe we will see more and more of those pitches in the future. I see benefits not just for games but also training."

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