ARU CEO Bill Pulver slams AAMI Park second Test surface.
The Australian Rugby Union said Sunday it will review the hosting of future Tests at Melbourne’s AAMI Park after slamming the playing surface as “not up to standard” for the England clash.
Both teams were critical of the playing surface after unstable turf cut up badly at each scrummage during England’s 23-7 series-clinching victory over the Wallabies on Saturday.
ARU chief Bill Pulver said his organisation has expressed its “extreme disappointment” to the ground’s operators and warned the playing surface would need to improve for further big matches to be staged at the venue.
“We have expressed our extreme disappointment to the Melbourne and Olympic Trust following last night’s Test at AAMI Park,” Pulver said in a statement.
“The playing surface was clearly not up to the standards required for international rugby.
“The issue with the stability of the turf during scrums has existed throughout this Super Rugby season and despite the work done on the surface by the Trust prior to last night’s Test, the end result was simply not good enough.”
Pulver said the 30,000-capacity stadium, which hosted its first rugby union Test on Saturday, had an agreement to host a Test next year, but the venue would need to prove the playing surface was fit.
“While we haven’t yet announced the fixture, we have an agreement with the venue to play a Test match at AAMI Park in 2017,” he said.
“The venue is obligated to provide a playing surface which is safe for the playing of international rugby and clearly this was not delivered upon last night.”
Pulver said prior to making any decision about next year’s Test match, the stadium must put specific measures in place, including an independent turf expert providing regular reports back to the ARU.
“AAMI Park must investigate all technology available to improve the surface. If we don’t have satisfactory progress in the coming months, we’ll need to revisit our agreement with them for 2017,” he said.
The unstable surface put the players at risk of injury, although no one was hurt by the state of the field as ground staff tended to large divots while play was proceeding.