Ulster battling to save pitch ahead of La Rochelle visit
Ulster have stressed that they are “continuing to take every possible step” to ensure that their Heineken Champions Cup match with La Rochelle goes ahead this Saturday despite inclement weather.
The reigning European champions visit the Kingspan Stadium this Saturday, but with temperatures in Belfast barely moving above freezing this week, the match could be in jeopardy due to an unplayable pitch.
The province assured everyone today that they are striving to preserve the pitch ahead of Saturday, saying in a statement: “Frost covers have been on the pitch all week and additional measures such as heaters are being brought in. Efforts will continue, with sustained freezing temperatures forecast over the coming days.”
Ulster are also in regular contact with the EPCR regarding the state of the pitch, but it has been reported that they could relocate the match to the RDS Arena in Dublin, as Leinster would have played the evening before.
Following a chastening 39-0 against Sale Sharks in round one of the Champions Cup at the AJ Bell Stadium, Ulster realistically not only need this match to go ahead, but need a victory as well to keep their European hopes alive.
Entering the competition on the back of a promising URC season, the weather has played havoc on Ulster’s Champions Cup campaign so far. Their travel plans for the Sale match last Sunday were also scuppered by the weather, as they only travelled to Manchester on the morning of the match due to a cancelled flight the day before, with one half of the squad flying into Birmingham and the other half flying into Liverpool.
Despite the disruption, Ulster head coach Dan McFarland downplayed its effect on the result last week.
“We play in the URC, so that’s trains, planes and automobiles most weeks for us – we’re used to that kind of thing,” he said.
“It’s not ideal, but it’s certainly not something we’re going to worry about or use as an excuse for today.”
Join free and tell us what you really think!Join Free
Rescinding was the injustice.Go to comments
As someone who is living with a family of Ukrainian refugees, whose home and male family members are being hit with missiles daily, I'm shocked you are calling professional rugby players refugees. My last company closed their doors thanks to an unpaid tax bill, I don't think that makes me a refugee, do you? They lost their jobs, as have hundreds of thousands thanks to the economy and COVID and have been fortunate to find work albeit the other side of the world. I'm pretty sure they are living a good life. We are not going to feel sorry for themGo to comments