4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

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Should World Rugby ban 4G pitches as unsuitable surface to play on

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4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by No9 on Wed 23 May 2018, 1:32 am

Well thanks to the Scotstoun 4G pitch, looks like Leinster have been given an early advantage in the Pro14 final...
BBC Report

Playing on these surfaces cant be healthy for players, if they suffer carpet burn like injuries. They can actually take days to heal as the scab keeps breaking during normal activities never mind training.

I know Cardiff and Sarries have one of these pitches, but surely they should be condemned by World Rugby as an unsuitable surface to play rugby on.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by The Oracle on Wed 23 May 2018, 7:51 am

As I posted on the Scottish thread, surely if it was an issue then Cardiff, Sarries and Glasgow players (the other teams with full synthetic pitches) would be head to toe in burns as they play on it every other game. Scarlets only play there once or twice a season. There’s no denying the scarlets injuries though. Just seems strange that the home sides seem fine playing on it 20 times a season.
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by Stone Motif on Wed 23 May 2018, 8:15 am

Can't be healthy for players? Never mind that they play a steroid-fuelled sport obsessed with smashing bigger and bigger athletes into each other until they are all left a concussed mess, we need to stop them getting these carpet burn as a matter of urgency.
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by Kingshu on Wed 23 May 2018, 10:02 am

The was research done in 2010 by the univerisy of birmingham for the RFU that found there was no difference to injury rate, hiwever new research is being done which isnt finished. But for now the higher rates of injury is speculation.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by Kingshu on Wed 23 May 2018, 10:02 am

The was research done in 2010 by the univerisy of birmingham for the RFU that found there was no difference to injury rate, hiwever new research is being done which isnt finished. But for now the higher rates of injury is speculation.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by munkian on Wed 23 May 2018, 10:05 am

It depends on how well looked after the pitch is I guess.

Had it been watered or well maintained ?
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 23 May 2018, 10:13 am

Theres nothing wrong with them.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Wed 23 May 2018, 10:26 am

Maybe these burns are from after the game..... Whistle

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by tigertattie on Wed 23 May 2018, 10:36 am

It's actually a difficult one to call. I was tongue in cheek blaming the Glasgow pitch for ruing John Barclay's summer but there is currently no evidence to show that these pitches are better or worse in regards to injuries.

There is a preconception that these 4G pitches are bad and when an injury like Barclay's occurs, if it's on one of these pitches, its the pitch that gets blamed. Injuries like Barclay's also happen on grass pitches and when they do then its put down to the player "twisting awkwardly" or some other non pitch related reason.

This being said, I'm pretty sure that there are some injuries that happen on these pitches, not because of the pitch, but because of the player's mentality when playing on them. If you go out thinking you may get hurt, then you probably will. But that's not the surfaces's fault, that's that pesky preconception again.
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by TrailApe on Wed 23 May 2018, 11:01 am

There is a preconception that these 4G pitches are bad and when an injury like Barclay's occurs, if it's on one of these pitches, its the pitch that gets blamed. Injuries like Barclay's also happen on grass pitches and when they do then its put down to the player "twisting awkwardly" or some other non pitch related reason

Wot he said.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by Brendan on Wed 23 May 2018, 11:22 am

Because of the rapid change in pace that the Scarlets play it means joints and muscles are pushed more as they go from slow to top speed in a matter of a second or two. Players pick up more injuries as a result of stressed body parts than the slow and steady type of player.

Anyone who has played on a hard dry ground knows dirt can be just as dangerous and give you plenty of burn especially if a bit of water was put on before the match. Never mind the bogs where you twist your ankle because it gets stuck but your body keeps going.

We have seen six nation matches were the scrum stays put and the ground moves under their feet and piles up at the back. Again it's a risk that could cause problems during the match.

If an injury happens on 4G it is the pitch's fault. If it happens on grass it is unlucky or player fault.


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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by VinceWLB on Wed 23 May 2018, 11:34 am

Was the game meant to be played on synthetic pitches?

A simple yet thoughts provoking question.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 23 May 2018, 11:40 am

VinceWLB wrote:Was the game meant to be played on synthetic pitches?

A simple yet thoughts provoking question.


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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by GeordieFalcon on Wed 23 May 2018, 12:36 pm

Well without it...we're penalised due to the weather etc. So we end up with a mud bath that allows zero running rugby.

Ill keep ours thanks very much... thumbsup

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Wed 23 May 2018, 12:47 pm

Brendan wrote:Anyone who has played on a hard dry ground knows dirt can be just as dangerous and give you plenty of burn especially if a bit of water was put on before the match.  Never mind the bogs where you twist your ankle because it gets stuck but your body keeps going.

Completely agree, I've had the same sort of injuries from playing on very hard, dry 'regular' pitches. That Scotstoun pitch has been in place since 2016 and this appears to be the first time complaints like this have been raised, so it appears to be an issue with the playing conditions rather than the type of pitch. So basically Scottish weather is just too tropical to safely play rugby in, you heard it here first Wink

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by PhilBB on Wed 23 May 2018, 3:11 pm

The Scotstoun pitch is 3G and not all 3G pitches are identical. How they are laid, the materials used, the dept of the carpet and, most importantly, how they are maintained are all differentiators.

That's why each pitch has to be individually inspected by World Rugby before it is signed off for use.

So, the starting point of this discussion should be to rid people of the misunderstanding that all "4G" (when they are, in fact, 3G anyway) are the same.
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by The Oracle on Wed 23 May 2018, 3:27 pm

Yes, 4G is meant to denote the next step on from the original 3G. But there is no such thing as ‘next generation’. There are just different types.

As far as I can tell you can split it into 3 main camps:
Grass - old school. You know, that green stuff that grows in your garden.
Hybrid - hugely popular. Weave of real grass and synthetic fibres. Loads of soccer and rugby grounds use these - Principality Stadlum, Aviva, Murrayfield, Twickers, lots of clubs.
Fully synthetic - carpet type of plastic fibres to imitate grass, often with rubber pellets (which you can see jumping up when someone hits the ground) or some other base material in between the fibres.


Last edited by The Oracle on Wed 23 May 2018, 3:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by munkian on Wed 23 May 2018, 3:35 pm

I'm guessing you have to regularly re-add the pellets ? I'm assuming this wasn't done in Glasgow ?
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by doctor_grey on Wed 23 May 2018, 5:25 pm

Having played a lot on the 4G and also the hybrid surfaces, the hybrid ones are much more forgiving.

Here in America, there are many sports playing on the 4G turfs all over the place, and they do tend to rip the skin off almost like a razor. There is a lot of anecdotal data regarding increased strained ligaments in ankle and the knee. But I don't think there is reliable data indicating an increase in catastrophic injuries.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by toml on Wed 23 May 2018, 6:44 pm

Imagine playing of a natural organic surface that releases oxygen, no we can do better.
Imagine playing on ground up car tyres full of toxic chemicals.

Its a bit of a no brainer.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by Tramptastic on Wed 23 May 2018, 7:25 pm

toml wrote:Imagine playing of a natural organic surface that releases oxygen, no we can do better.
Imagine playing on ground up car tyres full of toxic chemicals.

Its a bit of a no brainer.

When it comes to human health risk from potential harmful contaminants you need to think about several factors;

1)The contaminant - in this case rubber pellets is the contaminant i think you refer to? Yes, rubber can be harmful, however;
2)The pathway - in this case ingestion. Yes, swallowing rubber (aherm) can be harmful; and,
3)The receptor - the players. Agreed.

Using the above model it looks like the players are at risk from dying of ingesting too much rubber orally (aherm), however;

1) the amount of rubber ingested per game; and,
2) the frequency of exposure to the potential contaminant needs to be considered.

So if the players play on a 3G pitch that uses the pellets on a (roughly) once a fortnight exposure rate I'd suggest the risk on this is very low. Also having played on one of this pitches I can assure you getting rubber jammed down your throat (aherm) is not the problem here - It's finding them in your ears, bellybutton, lovesack and any other nook and cranny for the next D*MN FORTNIGHT.

If you play this model for grass the main risk is pesticides/fertilizer which is, again, an ingestion issue and the exceedance criteria for ingestion of pesticides/fertilizer is very low. Probably more of a risk tbh.

From your friendly neighborhood Geoenvironmental Engineer

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by The Oracle on Wed 23 May 2018, 8:27 pm

There’s been calls to ban them over cancer fears:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_turf–cancer_hypothesis

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/03/19/3g-pitches-gave-son-cancer-stop-building-says-father-lewis-maguire/amp/

Not sure there’s much (if any) strong evidence for this though.
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by toml on Wed 23 May 2018, 8:29 pm

transdermal pathway?

slide tackles often make me filthy on the rubber pitches, what is that black grey filth?

then once you have grazed yourself severely and your skin has come off then the filth gets right in there. i'd take bit of mud over that.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/16c5/7761606a4162f31b3779e48e5cbc9bb299e3.pdf

when nature has invented grass in which many creatures can thrive, why play on a structure that nothing can live in?

where would you prefer your children to play?

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Post by toml on Wed 23 May 2018, 8:33 pm

Apparently there is an alternative artificial turf filling with cork and coconut husk, but it is more expensive. I would go for that every time over ground up tyres.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by The Oracle on Wed 23 May 2018, 9:00 pm

Worcester Warriors play on a fully synthetic one, like Sarries and Glasgow, but theirs has an organic infill crumb rather than rubber.
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by tigertattie on Thu 24 May 2018, 11:05 am

toml wrote:transdermal pathway?

slide tackles often make me filthy on the rubber pitches, what is that black grey filth?

then once you have grazed yourself severely and your skin has come off then the filth gets right in there. i'd take bit of mud over that.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/16c5/7761606a4162f31b3779e48e5cbc9bb299e3.pdf

when nature has invented grass in which many creatures can thrive, why play on a structure that nothing can live in?

where would you prefer your children to play?

It's rubber dust from ground up pellets over the years! It's absolutely howfing and one of the reasons the pitch gets watered (to keep the dust down as much as possible)

If an asthmatic ran about on a 3G pitch that was bone dry, they could come into some proper bother!
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by bsando on Thu 24 May 2018, 1:53 pm

I suspect the groundsmen may not have watered the pitch (is that something they do?) before the fixture and the unusually hot weather must have had some sort of impact on the pitch being a bit dryer than normal. Doesn't mean they should ban them but some sort of pre match analysis should be conducted surely? Only fair for both teams safety really. Carpet burns/grazes are not pleasant injuries and take weeks to heal properly. So I can see the frustration from Scarlets players but they are probably being a bit extreme in their analysis of the condition of pitch.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by TrailApe on Fri 25 May 2018, 10:50 am

suspect the groundsmen may not have watered the pitch (is that something they do?) before the fixture

Just guessing here but the West coast is usually damp anyway so possibly not on the groundsmans tick list?

I'm glad the Falcons have got an artificial pitch, if there was so much as a heavy dew the eastern side of the pitch turned into a swamp and general play was conducted in slo-mo and scrums needed flotation devices to keep them up.

I do concede that the use artificial surfaces should be closely monitored and I hope there's a continuos increase in their quality, but to ban them just because of one teams bad experience is uncalled for.

I hasten to add that I have played on the old astro turf and rock hard grounds, so I'm not minimising the pain or after effects that friction burns can give you - no fun standing up to go and do something after your trouser legs have stuck to your calf and a scab the size of a fried egg gets ripped off, yeah verily a bit of a p1sser, but personally I thing artificial surfaces have more pros than cons.
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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by twoeightnine on Fri 25 May 2018, 2:04 pm

Really interesting problem as clubs have invested heavily in them and the other benefit of being able to use them all week for schools, etc.

I used to train on one and I would definitely choose it over an end of season hard grass pitch or middle season quagmire but I used to always train with tracksuit bottoms on.

Have a watch of a Bath game from a January quagmire, its terrible, as is the game.

Definitely needs to be studies done on it. I also wonder whether the boots/studs chosen have an influence. They take a stud but were so much better with moldies - your foot didn't seem to get stuck. I wonder whether the visiting team (assuming they play on grass) get more injuries as they haven't worked out the footwear as well?

I am sure that I read someone speculating that Jack Willis was wearing the wrong studs when he got injured. As with all of this its speculation but this should also be considered.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by LondonTiger on Fri 25 May 2018, 3:07 pm

Once a year I used to play on a pitch by the coast near Sellafield. The sand content of that pitch was very high (and I still swear it glowed at times) and we always used to come away with a plethora of cuts and burns. It was better if the fixture was mid-season rather than early or late.

Plastic pitches do come with some issues, but also a pile of benefits.


(Ps I used to love playing in mud bath conditions)

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by TJ on Sat 26 May 2018, 6:20 am

They can actually take days to heal as the scab keeps breaking during normal activities never mind training.

Only if they don't use the correct dressings. Slap a hydrocolloid on, leave for a week without touching it. Its healed when you take it off. No scab, no scar, no pain

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by No9 on Sat 26 May 2018, 12:11 pm

TJ wrote:
They can actually take days to heal as the scab keeps breaking during normal activities never mind training.

Only if they don't use the correct dressings.  Slap a hydrocolloid on, leave for a week without touching it.  Its healed when you take it off.  No scab, no scar, no pain


Only if they dont use the correct dressing. How did that argue against what I said.. I said takes days to heal and you said leave for a week without... So what you stated takes longer. Also, if left for a week, I assume they arent to train, which means play on one of these surfaces and you have to be rested for a week afterwards.

I guess there is a big question on the suitability of these surfaces for any sport, especially what has been said about the dust from the rubber pellets. Asbestos was seen as the best thing since sliced bread when it was introduced, yet years later we see the horrific consequences on the unfortunate that breathed in the dust. Without proper investigations on the health risks caused by these surfaces (the 4G or Fully artificial - with rubber pellets) should be banned immediately. Just because something seems a good idea for one reason (ie all weather surface), doesnt mean it pose different, previously unknown risks.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by Sgt_Pooly on Sat 26 May 2018, 12:24 pm

Without proper investigations on the health risks caused by these surfaces (the 4G or Fully artificial - with rubber pellets) should be banned immediately

That's some overreaction....

Falcons have been playing on a 4G pitch for 2 seasons now and I've heard of no such problem. You can get carpet type burns on any surface to be fair....

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by No9 on Sat 26 May 2018, 11:51 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Without proper investigations on the health risks caused by these surfaces (the 4G or Fully artificial - with rubber pellets) should be banned immediately

That's some overreaction....

Falcons have been playing on a 4G pitch for 2 seasons now and I've heard of no such problem. You can get carpet type burns on any surface to be fair....

And they used asbestos for decades before they realised how dangerous the dust was. As said above, there’s cases in the US with theses pitches causing cancer, who can say what long term damage inhaling the dust from the rubber pellets can cause long term. So, overreaction, I don’t think so.

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Re: 4G Pitches... Time to ban them for player safety.

Post by No9 on Sat 26 May 2018, 11:55 pm

Oh... and anyone notice the amount of blood staining on Patchell’s compression top (the arm around the elbow), right from the start, which is a result of the previous weeks game.

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