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Rugby union bodies to deepen reporting on the effects of artificial turf

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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is investigating whether professional clubs are holding players back from playing on artificial turf due to medical or management advice.

Compiled by the RFU with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players Association (RPA), the 2014/15 Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project revealed that while there was “no clear difference in the incidence, severity or overall injury burden” between matches played on artificial turf and natural grass during the 2014/15 season, more research needed to be done during the 2015/16 season.

“It is important to note that currently this study considers responses from those who have taken part in matches on artificial turf pitches. What this survey cannot monitor is the extent to which players are not selected to play on artificial pitches on specific medical/player management advice within clubs and the strategies of club medical and conditioning teams in managing the effects of playing on artificial pitches,” states the report. “It is intended to capture this information during the 2015/16 season.”

While the 2014/15 report concluded that playing professional rugby union on artificial turf “does not appear to substantially alter overall acute injury risks,” it did find that players playing on artificial turf reported a “small increase” in muscle soreness, particularly in the lower back, and with less readiness to return to training.

Two Premiership teams – Saracens and Newcastle Falcons – play their home matches on artificial turf.

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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) is investigating whether professional clubs are holding players back from playing on artificial turf due to medical or management advice.
SAR
Saracens' Allianz Park is one if two Premiership stadiums with artificial turf / Press Associations
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