Melbourne based Super Rugby franchise the Rebels have confirmed that their Super Rugby match next week against the Stormers will proceed as scheduled at AAMI Park on Saturday.
There had been doubt about where the match would be played after the surface tore up in Australia’s second Test against England.
After seeking reassurances from the Melbourne & Olympic Park Trust (MOPT) the club is satisfied with the agreed action by stadium management to resurface parts of AAMI Park’s playing pitch to ensure it performs to a Super Rugby standard.
MOPT contracted an independent turf expert to perform turf testing this past week and made various recommended courses of remediation to MOPT, one of which involves resurfacing sections of the pitch. MOPT debriefed the Melbourne Rebels of its intention to resurface the pitch to ensure improved durability of the pitch under scrum conditions.
“We’re pleased to confirm we will host the Stormers at our home ground AAMI Park next weekend, following the undertakings of MOPT in consultation with an independent turf expert and practical testing of the new turf under live scrum conditions,” Melbourne Rebels General Manager Rugby Operations Baden Stephenson said.
“We are comfortable that MOPT and the stadium’s management have taken the necessary actions to ensure the pitch performs to a Super Rugby standard thereby protecting the safety and wellbeing of our Rugby players.
“The review process included consultation with the Melbourne Rebels, Australian Rugby Union (ARU), Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) and SANZAAR senior management.”
Concerns were raised regarding the safety and wellbeing of players after scrums during last weekend’s Wallabies and England Test match highlighted delamination of certain areas of the playing surface.
The Rebels only victory over the South Africans in four previous fixtures came when the two sides last met at AAMI Park in Round 14, 2013.