Cardiff Blues have today announced sensational plans to rip up their state-of-the-art artificial pitch at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park and return to playing on grass for the start of the 2015/16 Guinness PRO12 campaign - because of bugs biting through the surface!
The region is only into their second season on the £400,000 ‘Arms Park carpet’ after becoming the first PRO12 side to install an artificial pitch – and second in the UK!
But now officials have confirmed they will have to return to grass from next season after an infestation of bugs have started ruining the surface
Dafi Slooparly, Head Groundsman at Cardiff Blues, said: “You hear about all sorts of insects eating grass like armyworms, cutworms, sod webworms, white grubs, spittlebugs… and now we’ve got a terminal infestation eating our artificial grass!
“We noticed earlier in the season the rubber was disappearing at an alarming rate and now large patches of the pitch are just being eaten in front of our eyes. It’s truly bizarre!
“We’ve spoken to experts and they’ve told us there is nothing we can do to stop the Arms Park bug. Because of that we will be dusting off the tractors, getting the grass seed out and returning to our old grass pitch from next season!”
Cardiff Blues installed the plastic pitch in the summer of 2013 and the artificial carpet met the stringent requirements of International Rugby Board (IRB) regulations.
It was designed to allow rainfall to drain straight through the system, meaning an end to sodden pitches.
But this has not stopped the bugs biting through and the Arms Park will return to grass surface in the summer.
Joy Kinlong, Professor of Entomology at Cardiff University, said: “We’ve been working with Cardiff Blues for the last few months to study these fascinating creatures which we have dubbed the Arms Park bug.
“The good news is they don’t seem interested in grass so the Millennium Stadium is safe… there is no chance of a repeat of the Millennium bug!”