World Rugby are confident that the pitch at the Fukuoka Stadium is up to standard ahead of Ireland’s World Cup match against Samoa.
The Ireland camp have raised concerns over the state of the pitch before their crucial Pool A clash against Samoa on Saturday. Large parts of the turf had to be re-laid twice following Italy’s win over Canada, and the USA’s game against France.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was seen spending a part of their training session examining the pitch and showing problematic areas to his coaching staff. The Irish players were also videoed lifting a part of the pitch up and hiding a rugby ball under it.
World Rugby released a statement in which they expressed their confidence in that the turf would hold up during Saturday’s match, which could have a huge impact on which team qualifies for the playoffs from Pool A.
So the pitch in Fukuoka looks… interesting.
— BBC SPORT NI (@BBCSPORTNI) October 11, 2019
‘We are confident in the integrity of the new Fukuoka pitch for Ireland v Samoa,’ the statement read. ‘With stability and performance the key considerations, World Rugby and JR 2019 took the decision to re-turf the playing surface following significant wear caused by the France versus USA match after heavy rainfall as a consequence of Typhoon 17.
‘The tournament has dedicated nurseries where back-up turf is meticulously prepared in line with World Cup standards. While the look of the turf may not be perfect, as would be expected from a recent installation, we are confident that the new pitch will perform superbly.’
Joe Schmidt not looking impressed at all. pic.twitter.com/yDD1VVWKCm
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) October 11, 2019
Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek said they had been given the same assurances from World Rugby.
‘You guys are pretty smart individuals, and you would have seen the pitch yourselves,’ Feek told the media. ‘We just went out there, had an inspection and we’ve been given all the assurances by World Rugby that it’s safe to play on and that’s all we can ask for.
‘I don’t want to predict anything or cause any more controversy at this stage. We just try to back the players, trust that the pitch will do its job. We were trying to alleviate any concerns when we were out there, but then it’s just a matter of wait and see.’
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