Garlic used to repel roundworms attacking Murrayfield pitch

Murrayfield Stadium

Ground staff at Murrayfield have been spraying the home of Scottish rugby with garlic in a bid to eradicate a turf parasite.

Nematodes are roundworms that damage the grass root structure.

The problem was indentified in September and Edinburgh's home matches have gone ahead as scheduled.

Japan are the visitors on Saturday as Scotland open their autumn Test series, with South Africa and Australia also playing in Edinburgh in November.

SRU director of management services Mark Laidlaw said: "A soil examination in September revealed an excessive build up of nematodes, which have caused significant root damage.

"The result is a shallow and weakened root network and, though it continues to perform well in play, it can weaken under the significant pressure exerted by scrums.

"We've worked with some of the leading experts in this area to examine and treat one of the best surfaces in world rugby using natural remedies, including the spraying of garlic, but it takes a number of weeks to eradicate the problem and then to recover root strength.

"The ground staff will continue their efforts to develop and consolidate the root structure and hope to return the pitch to the standard we all expect to see at the national stadium."