Saracens train on artificial pitch at Allianz Park

Saracens hope to reap the benefits from playing on the new £500,000 artificial pitch at their new stadium.

The Premiership side held their first training session at Allianz Park ahead of the first match there on 27 January.

The club's high performance director, Scott Murphy, told BBC London: "It is available every day of the year and is very low maintenance.

"It doesn't freeze, doesn't become muddy and doesn't break down. You can't over-use it."

Saracens will become the first professional rugby union side to play on an artificial surface when they move to the ground at Copthall in Barnet.

The pitch has a lifetime of eight years and is made up of three separate layers.

Murphy added: "It is available to professional sports and the community.

"We are going in wide-eyed and working with multiple bodies including the Rugby Football Union, the International Rugby Board and Premiership Rugby.

"We are a part of a partnership in ensuring this is the best thing for rugby and the game."

Murphy says that technology has moved on from the surfaces seen in football during the 1980s and early 1990s.

QPR, Luton Town, Oldham Athletic and Preston North End all installed synthetic turf, which were dubbed "plastic pitches".

"Artificial surfaces have been around for a long time," Murphy said.

"Unfortunately when they initially came into professional sports they were given a bad name by the situations at QPR and Luton.

"Over time with technology they have really changed and developed.

"Now we have a synthetic fibre which is tough enough to sustain the heavy contact and use of a rugby pitch but forgiving enough to allow the safety of the players and the game to be at the forefront.

"There are pitches prevalent in the NFL [National Football League in America] and football throughout Europe in places like Norway and Russia."

The surface received the seal of approval from Saracens players when they trained at Allianz Park on Wednesday.

"I'm quite impressed with how soft it is," hooker Schalk Brits told BBC London.

"I as a player was worried about it as the last thing you want is injuries but so far, so good.

"Everybody is working hard to get this place ready and eventually we'll get a place we can call home. I literally can't wait."

Meanwhile, fly-half Owen Farrell does not believe his kicking technique will be affected by the switch to an artificial surface.

"You still do the same things that you do," Farrell said.

"The tee sits a little bit higher [than on grass] because it doesn't settle in as much. It is no big deal.

"To have our own home is going to be fantastic. It will be a great place to play at."

The first match at Allianz Park will be an LV Cup tie against Cardiff Blues on 27 January but the grand opening will be on 16 February when Sarries host Exeter Chiefs.

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