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Post by Irish Londoner on Mon 16 Jul 2012, 11:20 pm

Got an email from Saracens the other day about their season ticketing for coming season (on there for reasons too complicated to explain) and the link says they are playing games at Watford, Barnet when it opens, Wembley (Tigers), Twickenham (which I assume will be the HEC game V Munster), Northampton at Stadium MK and one game at a "Central London Venue - to be announced".
I know they play a preseason game for the city boys at the HAC but can't imagine they could hold a Jeff/HEC game there so any ideas ?

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 8:50 am

Irish Londoner wrote:Got an email from Saracens the other day about their season ticketing for coming season (on there for reasons too complicated to explain) and the link says they are playing games at Watford, Barnet when it opens, Wembley (Tigers), Twickenham (which I assume will be the HEC game V Munster), Northampton at Stadium MK and one game at a "Central London Venue - to be announced".
I know they play a preseason game for the city boys at the HAC but can't imagine they could hold a Jeff/HEC game there so any ideas ?

That Munster match is meant to be in Boston, MA http://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/munster-agreeable-to-sarries-us-trip-197228.html

I assume once this new stadium is up and running that will be the end of the nomadic ways?
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Post by gowales on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 8:55 am

Boston could be great, but in my mind it would be the wrong two teams.

Leinster v London Irish would be a better crowd drawer, as well as entertainment...


Last edited by gowales on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 10:09 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Irish Londoner on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 10:06 am

Given the reaction of the Sarries fans last season to the proposal to move a game to SA I should imagine this will do the same, given that it's thier high profile HEC game. Would also bugger the TV coverage unless they kick off about midnight local time.
I think Saracens took a hit last season when they had to refund the fans who were daft enough to actually book flights and hotels.

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Post by Portnoy on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 10:22 am

I reckon that Sarries should re-brand themselves as Saffer G4S.
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Post by doctor_grey on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 10:31 am

The match, if indeed played in Boston, could be huge. Probably played in one of the university stadia in Boston, which are fairly decent sized by American standards - about 35,000 if I recall. Would be a good money maker for the teams involved and would help grow Rugby on the left side of the Atlantic. If played at 3:00pm local, would be a nice evening show in UK/Ire (8:00pm).

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 10:34 am

Portnoy wrote:I reckon that Sarries should re-brand themselves as Saffer G4S.
Laugh Ouch!

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Post by Irish Londoner on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 11:14 am

Portnoy wrote:I reckon that Sarries should re-brand themselves as Saffer G4S.

Painful but accurate Very Happy

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Post by hugehandoff on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 11:23 am

Saracens are moving around until their new home stadium is complete in Feb in Barnet. They will be the first club to then play on an artificial pitch. I have heard that the new technology of artificial pitches are pretty good, but playing rugby on one is new to me. Presumably the players won't lose their skin each time they slide along the ground? Anyone played on one of these pitches and how much of an advantage will it give Saracens at home? Cheers.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 11:35 am

If it's the rubber style ones then they are really very good. However, the are laid onto a hard surface so although you'll get a pitch that behaves like a well groomed grass pitch it will be blooming hard to land on. It'll be like playing on a summer pitch with plenty of grass. Can't see the normal rugby boots being much cop on it either.

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Post by hugehandoff on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 12:12 pm

I heard they were fairly well sprung and not too painful to fall on, but I have never tried one out. If it is received as a good thing by the players it could be useful in helping to maintain decent running conditions when normal pitches are all muddy and water logged or frozen.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 12:19 pm

We had some at uni for the hockey lot and I played on them in a five aside football league. It is like playing on a grass field in the summer. There's not scraped knees or similar which is good and it may be hard but it's not painful to land on (I played in goal) though you know you've been jumping around on it the day after.

Biggest issue I can see will be the scrum as there is no mud to dig the studs into and if there's a big of rain it may well be a bit slippy on top. Que collapsing scrums.

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Post by Dim on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 12:49 pm

We've got a rubber crumb pitch up at uni which i've played on a couple of times. It's faster than your average grass pitch- more like a summer pitch as has been mentioned. The backs love it, the front row also surprising love it as apparently you do get grip with studs and it's a more even grip than you would get on a mud bath. As a back row forward spending a lot of time buried in rucks i hated it. While not too bad to fall onto if you're lying face down in the crumbs it can be a touch abrasive, particularly if it's cold. Otherwise though it's not too bad although the rubber crumbs do get everywhere which can be uncomfortable. I can't see the extra speed of the pitch playing much to Sarries advantage unless they start to open up again as they did towards the end a few seasons ago.

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Post by doctor_grey on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 3:35 pm

There are a lot of those rubber crumb pitches here in the New York City area. We play on them pretty frequently as do my lads' youth sides. They appear to take a lot of use and abuse and stay in pretty good shape. As Dim says there is good traction so the game plays fast. But there is also good grip for the scrums, rucks, mauls.

The down side, as he says, are those little black rubber nuggets end up everywhere. Alwyas in shoes, socks and underwear. I found they tend to absorb heat quickly, so are deadly in the summer, but not too bad once they warm up in winter if hit with any sun. Without the winter sun, they can be hard. The bigger problem, though, is that it does rip layers of skin off just like peeling a potato, especially if too hot.

Its funny how the base is simply reground car tyres. Good use for them, keeping them out of the trash. I have to wonder how professional teams will fare, but I guess we will see.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 4:04 pm

although the rubber crumbs do get everywhere which can be uncomfortable

Haha, I'd forgotten about that those little rubber things do end up all over the place. You seriously have to shower and then hoover your clothes to make sure they don't end up all over the house and sitting in a layer at the bottom of the washing machine.

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Post by beshocked on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 4:11 pm

http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/rugby/craven-cottage-to-host-sarries-next-season-7941887.html

The evening standard seems to think it's Craven Cottage.

Portnoy have you ever got anything sensible to say?

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Post by hugehandoff on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 4:21 pm

Thanks for all the responses to the artificial pitch question. Sarries V Exeter Chiefs for the 1st match on the new pitch in Feb.....unlikely to be a running try fest, but you never know?

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Post by beshocked on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 4:32 pm

There were a few tries in the last encounter....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/17912289

7 tries.

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 4:55 pm

Sarries are capable of playing very good attacking rugby when they can be bothered. They played two very good games again the Ospreys in the HEC last year for instance. The AP final they lost is probably the best final in rugby history given the number of tries and the way the lead went back and forth right into the final minutes of the game with both sides playing excellent rugby.

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Post by HammerofThunor on Tue 17 Jul 2012, 5:22 pm

One of the newer rugby league sides in Super League have a new artificial pitch (Widnes?) and there a lot of issues over players sliding on it and ripping their arms and legs to Poopie. No idea if it's the same type of pitch or were teething problems

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 8:43 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:Sarries are capable of playing very good attacking rugby when they can be bothered. They played two very good games again the Ospreys in the HEC last year for instance. The AP final they lost is probably the best final in rugby history given the number of tries and the way the lead went back and forth right into the final minutes of the game with both sides playing excellent rugby.

Would have been the best final if we had won. thumbsup Still pretty exciting though.

I'd agree with that though. Saracens can play attacking rugby if they want. It's very frustating when they resort to kicking possession away.

You only need to look at their potential back three and half backs to wonder why they don't try attacking rugby more often!

With Kevin Sorrell in as backs coaches I am hopeful they will do that.

HammerofThunor that does worry me a bit but I am hopeful that the artificial pitch has been thoroughly researched.

The main reason it is artificial is because it's going to get a lot of use from the local community.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 8:47 am

Am I the only one wondering if Sarries plans for next season could back fire?

firstly it must be a right kick in the teeth for fans to not know where they are playing or even whether they are wanted.

Secondly on a playing front - playing so many matches on either neutral grounds or effectively a second away match ( in the case of "Home" match at MK against Saints - a ground Saints have used in the past) - could see the results take a hit.


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Post by AlastairW on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 9:01 am

LT, i don't think they have much of a choice. Their new stadium is running behind (probabley due to red tape) build schedule which leaves them between frying pan & fire.

I'm sure Sarries fans can appreciate that, regardless of the inconvenience. The location is back to Saracens of old and a stones throw from Wembley, eventually making that a second home ground.

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 9:08 am

LondonTiger that's true but Saracens' away form has been very strong.

The only away losses in the AP season were Worcester and Saints - 9/11
The "Home" losses and draw - Gloucester (draw), Leicester,Wasps,Quins.

Maybe you have a point though - two of those "Home" losses were at Twickenham and Wembley.

VR is hardly a fortress though. When Copthall is finished then proper home advantage can be put into place (hopefully anyway).

Well said AlastairW

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Post by HammerofThunor on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 9:23 am

Beshocked, the grazes weren't that bad. And it sounds like it may not have even been the pitch.

A couple of links

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/georgeriley/2012/02/grazed_elbows_knees_and_egos.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-league/16910032


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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 9:33 am

It's interesting they talk about wearing body skins as a way to protect the knees. That's illegal in rugby isn't it? Long sleeved shirts are allowed but I think you have to wear shorts and socks.

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 10:19 am

I'm sure the Scarlets use a 50/50 mixture of grass and artifical surface/grass, it holds together very well and doesnt' turn into a mud bath as much as a normal grass surface

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Post by formerly known as Sam on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 10:38 am

I'm sure the Scarlets use a 50/50 mixture of grass and artifical surface/grass, it holds together very well and doesnt' turn into a mud bath as much as a normal grass surface

Tigers have a pitch like that at Oval Park (training ground) it is very firm under foot. Even as a back I prefer more give in the pitch.

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 10:41 am

I just hope the pitch is nice and wide. Are there any restrictions in how wide it can be?

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Post by doctor_grey on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 11:13 am

When I am in the US like now, I work in the hospital which is the primary medical venue for the New York Jets amercian football team. Yesterday, I talked to one of their medical team about the artificial turf they play and practice on. This is what I was told:

In their new $1.5 billion stadium they play on a field manufactured by Field Turf. This company is supposedly the group which either developed the rubber and sand based artificial turf or was one of the first to make it. There are different grades of their artifical turf based upon the intended use. And, of course, there are different companies which manufacture similar types of artificial turf.

Initially, there was concern because some players tore up their knees, mostly ACL and MCL injuries. The data set was still fairly low so no conclusions were drawn at the time. But now that Field Turf or its equivalents are in place in a number of stadia around the NFL plus High Schools and Universities, the injury rates for minor, moderate, and severe injury can be properly assessed. Apparently the types, technology, and quality of these types of fields have improved over the past few years, so injury rates from about 10 years ago when they first showed up have improved.

The one major consistent complaint is about tearing up the skin, mostly on knees and elbows. In games the NFL players are protected like the Black Knight, but frequently the elbows are exposed. And in practices many times it is just tee-shirts and shorts. In matches I have played on artificial turf fields, the skin get sheared off easily. The skin on my older lad's knee is just recovering after playing on artificial turf about three weeks ago in a 7s match.

I will receive a packet with the latest NFL injury data, and I receive regularly some uni data. If anything else is apparent I will share it. BUt it sounds like a detailed analysis will happen this season across all NFL teams so we should know a lot more in about 6 months.

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 11:21 am

Very interesting Doctor grey. So basically the technologically has got so good that the artificial turf is decent except for knees and elbows?

Maybe the composition of the pitch won't be completely artifical.

I am sure Saracens must have shared some information with some of the NFL clubs. Hayden Smith has gone to New York Jets. Saracens did some training in the Miami Dolphins facilities.

It would be interesting to see if the NFL injuries are less than those found on normal rugby pitches in Europe. How do you truly gauge the impact of the pitches layout on injuries?

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Post by doctor_grey on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 11:33 am

beshocked,
I know there has been some communication between some of the Rugby clubs, unions and the NFL teams. The realisation is there is a lot in common regarding the physicality and injuries between the sports, and the need to work together is growing. Some American Football teams have been interested in Rugby for years, going back to when Martin Johnson spent some time training with the San Francisco 49ers. Rumour has it that MJ gave a major push for the RFU to open dialogue with the NFL regarding injuries.

The way the injury rates will be compared will be assessing the number, types, and severity after the season, broken down between games played on grass and games played on artificial turf. A full season, or a couple of seasons worth of data across all NFL teams and games should be significant enough to generate meaningful conclusions. The manufacturer, Field Turf, is interested because they want to make a better and safer product.

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Post by beshocked on Wed 18 Jul 2012, 11:35 am

Great to hear Doctor Grey. thumbsup

Will be interesting to hear the results.

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Post by ScarletSpiderman on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 12:30 pm

Brussels anyone

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-union/18998701

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 1:17 pm

That is crazy - do Scaracens want to become the English Globetrotters?

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Post by gowales on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 1:25 pm

Why not?

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 1:26 pm

they ain't got the afro's for it...

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Post by Thomond on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 1:38 pm

I can see the somewhat strange logic of taking a game overseas but why would you take a game closer to the "away side"?

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 1:41 pm

And why would you take it to a relatively small rugby market of Belgium?

Unless their planning on marketing it to all the civil servants and rugby-loving EU workers who are based in Brussels?

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 1:47 pm

Smirnoffpriest wrote:And why would you take it to a relatively small rugby market of Belgium?

Unless their planning on marketing it to all the civil servants and rugby-loving EU workers who are based in Brussels?
Would have been a lot better to go to somewhere like the netherlands. Would have really helped to grow the sport over there

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Post by Thomond on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 1:48 pm

Edinburgh would be the side to go to Netherlands. What with Visser and everything. I'd day our two resident Clogs would head down to it anyway. For the pissup as much as anything else Wink

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 1:55 pm

Any of the other Western European countries would have been better, Holland and Germany seem more into their rugby, and would be a good boost to start growing the game and Spain/Portugal have large ex-pat communities which could be marketed to.

The only thing I can see that Belgium has going for it is that it's relatively easy to get to from Britain/France and it'll have a large amount of working Brits/French in the city

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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 2:47 pm

Smirnoffpriest wrote:they ain't got the afro's for it...

They've got the Saffers for it though Whistle

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Post by gowales on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 3:03 pm

Smirnoffpriest wrote:Any of the other Western European countries would have been better, Holland and Germany seem more into their rugby, and would be a good boost to start growing the game and Spain/Portugal have large ex-pat communities which could be marketed to.

The only thing I can see that Belgium has going for it is that it's relatively easy to get to from Britain/France and it'll have a large amount of working Brits/French in the city

That's actually false. Belgium has a much larger rugby scene than Holland or Germany and they have just been promoted to the Six nations a comp.

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 3:05 pm

really? I'd never heard of people playing Belgium, whereas I've heard of the Germany and Dutch sides. I never realised they had a decent side/interest in rugby

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Post by gowales on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 3:12 pm

The only thing i've ever heard about Dutch rugby is Visser. Belgium has actually been getting a lot of positive press in the total rugby channel and they're ranked 23rd in the IRB rankings! which is actually really good. Higher than Germany (31) and the Netherlands (46) anyway. I think playing it in Belgium is a great idea, they'll certainly get a bigger crowd than they would have in the Netherlands or Germany.

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Post by beshocked on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 3:24 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010%E2%80%9312_European_Nations_Cup_First_Division

According to wikipedia Belgium seem to be stronger than both Germany and Netherlands. This backs up what gowales says.

23rd ranked in the world rankings.

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 3:25 pm

Apologies I never realised - Up the Belgiums then!

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Post by gowales on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 3:30 pm

I don't think rugby has quite as long a history in Belgium as Germany or the Netherlands but it seems to be the fastest growing out of the three.

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Post by pjm1 on Thu 26 Jul 2012, 3:33 pm

I think it's good they're trying different things - if every club stuck to its knitting then we'd never learn anything new. I haven't always had the greatest things to say about Sarries (style of play, concentration of non-EQPs) but I like that they're not afraid to give it a lash on things like this...

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