White laments Europe's synthetic pitches
REACTION: Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White says he is not a fan of Europe’s 4G synthetic pitches after flyhalf Johan Goosen suffered a knee injury at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.
A barnstorming second-half performance by the Bulls saw them clinch their maiden United Rugby Championship victory, 29-19 (half-time 3-16) over Cardiff Blues in the Welsh capital on Saturday.
Goosen went to the ground in the 15th minute of that match clutching his knee after losing his footing and White believes the surface they were playing on played a role in the injury.
“It’s a different kind of pitch. To be honest – and it is probably not the right thing to say to you [media] – I am not a fan of 4G pitches.
“I understand why they [teams in Europe] do it with the weather, water tables and freezing in the north.
“I wonder if injuries like Goosen’s can be prevented if we played on grass.
“Hardly anything happened there. He just turned his leg to change direction and I think the fact that his foot got stuck in the turf, which doesn’t give [way] as much as grass turf, is the reason why you can get a lot of knee and ankle injuries.”
White added: “It’s not a negative thing, I think it is circumstance and it is the weather. I spoke to [Cardiff coach] Dai Young about it before the game and obviously, there is a lot more to it. There is the community game, and they need to keep numbers.
“We are very fortunate with our temperatures and our fields [in South Africa] that we don’t really need synthetic pitches.
“Our outdoors and or rugby season are generally mild enough for us to have grass.
“It is an adaptation. I am just not a believer in it and actually prefer grass and I prefer playing on pitches that we are used to.”
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Round 3 is done ✅
— United Rugby Championship (URC) (@URCOfficial) October 10, 2021
‘Credibility to the competition’
Meanwhile, Round Three of the URC was much better for South African teams.
The Sharks also secured their first win of the tournament against the Ospreys, while the Stormers secured a draw against Edinburgh.
The Lions were close to grabbing their second win of the season.
“A losing bonus point for the Lions, a draw and two wins for SA teams is going to be massive for everybody,” said White.
“It gives credibility to the competition.
“We have seen the numbers and viewership has gone through the roof.
“What you don’t want to do is lose and lose and end up losing all those supporters and fan base.
“I am sure the URC leadership will be incredibly happy with the fact that the competition is healthy.”