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Northampton Saints players hit out at 4G pitches with gruesome photos of Allianz Park injuries

By Nathaniel Cope
Allianz Park has come under fire for its artificial surface.

Northampton scrum half Alex Mitchell has sparked a debate on Twitter over the use of 4G pitches in rugby after posting a gruesome picture of the injury he sustained playing at Allianz Park during the Saints’ 36-17 defeat to Saracens in the Gallagher Premiership last Saturday.


Mitchell picked up some nasty grazes and said on Twitter “Say No to these 4G pitches @theRPA”.

His clubmate Fraser Dingwall was in full agreement, the 19-year-old England U20 centre went off in the opening quarter against Sarries and posting a picture of his foot encased in a surgical boot he said: “Agreed. Both times on 4G @theRPA”

One Twitter user Jamie Watson responded to Mitchell stating “Been there before mate! Ended up getting infected as well, horrific!”


Another Twitter user @NickRayment who said he was a physio said: “My (physio) perspective from a biomechanical point of view: On grass and mud a firm tackle to the leg and the ground (generally) gives way to the stud. 4G weave with no give; a stud or two are fixed firmly in the ground… something else has to give. #joint #bone”

Another user on the social media platform, @Chrishood57 said: “I think the many arguments in favour of them are becoming much less credible I can see the point of them for all weather soccerball practise, but rugby is a different type of game, much of it hitting the deck in some forcible fashion. Torn ligaments and missing skin? Just no ?


Another Twitter user @OHCelt replied: “Not to mention the long term damage to ankles, knees, and other joints and tendons from this surface. Just look at 50 year old NFL players.”

It’s not the first time a 4G pitch has come in for criticism, Glasgow Warriors’ Scotstoun pitch was lambasted last May with Scarlets back Johnny McNicholl stating that 4G pitches should be “illegal” after Scarlets players were left with burns, bad grazing and blisters following their Pro14 semi-final win at Glasgow Warriors.

The New Zealander said: “It has not been a couple of nice nights, sticking to the sheets,

“Underfoot, it is good when you are running, but as soon as you hit the deck it affects your joints as well.

“I would prefer not to play on them. I remember going down on the deck for the ball and got this massive grass burn on my backside.

“It was like a carpet burn. I said to the trainer straight after with a few words that I felt this pitch should be illegal.”

The 28-13 last-four victory also came at a cost for Steff Evans.

“These [wounds] are going to be stuck with me for a while, it is a tough field that 4G. It was just really dry. It wasn’t soft, it was a hard ground.” the Wales wing said.

“The weather didn’t help, it was like playing on carpet, it was shocking. You are waking up in bed and the sheets are stuck to your leg about seven times a night.”

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