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'I'm just talking facts' - Pat Lam takes aim at Worcester's artificial pitch

By Ian Cameron
Pat Lam /PA

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Bristol Bears director of rugby Pat Lam has become the latest high profile name to add his voice to criticism of artificial pitches.

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Bears have been hit by a spate of injuries, most significantly to their scrumhalf stocks. Last weekend’s trip to Worcester’s home ground of Sixways proved particularly injurious, with three players removed from the action in the second half alone.

Bristol lost Steven Luatua and centre Piers O’Conor to injuries midway through the third quarter. Bristol’s scrum-half woes continued when loan signing Toby Venner, limped off, meaning that full-back Ioan Lloyd had to deputise at nine.

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Lam now has four injured scrumhalves and didn’t pull his punches about the artificial surface at Sixways, as Bristol Live reported.

“We’ve played two games there (Sixways) now and three guys have ended up with surgery and other niggles – Piers O’Conor has sprained his ankle and I know (Worcester’s) Jamie Shillcock did his. We’re not having great luck there, we’ve come away with some big injuries on that surface,” Lam told a press conference.

“I’m just talking facts. One guy got a knee injury just stepping and another guy a high ankle sprain, so he had surgery. If you have a look, Toby just went to step and his knee gave way, which was similar to the game before (at Sixways) and then Piers went to step.

“A lot of the players aren’t big fans of the 4G but they get on with it. You get injured on any pitch but certainly the 4G pitch you’re open to bigger injuries. It’s more the way it happens, it’s just unfortunate.”

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“They’re all slightly different, depending how they were made, how they were put together and what standard they’re at,” said Lam.

“A lot of people have 4G pitches because of the community part, and you can get a lot of people and a lot of games and you don’t have to worry about the mud and the weather. What happens is the more people that are on it, it can flatten and harden it out.

“At the end of the day, the players give you feedback, and the players certainly enjoy the grass. But it’s a mindset, you get on there and you play, the boys don’t complain… but the facts are, we’re pretty much always getting injuries on them.”

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