Pro14: Scarlets dub Glasgow pitch 'shocking' and 'very bad'

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Johnny McNicholl hopes no more artificial surfaces are introduced to rugby after he and his team mates suffered burns against Glasgow
Pro14 final
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 26 May Kick-off: 18:00 BST
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

Scarlets say preparations for Saturday's Pro14 final against Leinster have been hampered by burns and blisters suffered by players in Friday's semi-final victory at Glasgow.

Coach Wayne Pivac said Scotstoun's 4G pitch was "very bad", Steff Evans said it was "shocking" and Johnny McNicholl says such surfaces should be "illegal".

Pivac said players suffered blisters, sore feet and "a lot of bad burns".

Glasgow said they are "entirely happy with" the playing surface.

The Warriors added the pitch "is fully compliant with World Rugby's performance specification".

The Glasgow pitch issue was raised as England learned they will be without Wasps flanker Jack Willis on their summer tour because of a knee injury suffered on Saracens' 4G pitch.

Scarlets boss Pivac said players were unable to train on Monday and some were still out of action on Tuesday because "to run around and knock the skin off again is not the ideal situation".

"The main thing is to make the burns heal up," he added.

"So, no-one trained yesterday [Monday] in terms of rugby work on the field and there will be some who won't train today which is unfortunate, but we will have a full training session on Thursday.

"It's things that won't stop them playing, but it's not ideal."

Wayne Pivac looks pensive
Wayne Pivac has been tipped to succeed fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland as Wales coach after the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Pivac said the Glasgow surface "was very dry" on Friday, which led to players getting burns when they slid on it.

"I am not sure what other teams have had, we had got a lot of burns, a lot of bad grazing and blisters," he added.

"The surface was very firm. It is what it is, you have got to play on them and you have got to accept it - but I am not a fan."

'Shocking surface'

Steff Evans tries to break free from Siua Halanukonuka and George Horne at Glasgow
Steff Evans tries to break free from Siua Halanukonuka and George Horne at Glasgow

Wales wing Steff Evans, sporting burns and blisters, said the surface was "totally different" to the artificial pitches he has played on at Cardiff Arms Park and Saracens.

"These [wounds] are going to be stuck with me for a while, it is a tough field that 4G," he said.

"It was just really dry. It wasn't soft, it was a hard ground.

"The weather didn't help, it was like playing on carpet, it was shocking.

"You are waking up in bed and the sheets are stuck to your leg about seven times a night."

But he added: "You can't concentrate on the burns, there is something more important to look forward to this weekend."

Evans also told BBC Radio Cymru: "It was tough when you were sliding down for the ball and you got up and your legs were bleeding."

'Pitch should be illegal'

Scotstoun's 4G playing surface
Scotstoun's 4G playing surface was installed in 2016

Full-back McNicholl, who said he sustained a dozen burns, described the pitch as "horrible" and questioned whether it should be legal.

"It has not been a couple of nice nights, sticking to the sheets," said the New Zealander.

"Underfoot, it is good when you are running, but as soon as you hit the deck it affects your joints as well.

"I would prefer not to play on them. I remember going down on the deck for the ball and got this massive grass burn on my backside.

Rhys Patchell's knee looks sore during Scarlets' win at Glasgow
Fly-half Rhys Patchell skinned his knee during Scarlets' win at Glasgow on Friday

"It was like a carpet burn. I said to the trainer straight after with a few words that I felt this pitch should be illegal.

"I don't like playing on them because they are high risk for injury.

"I could not train yesterday [Monday] because of the burns and my feet were numb.

"This is the only [such] surface I have played on so I can't judge any others. On a dry day, it heats up and it is like carpet."

Meanwhile, Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who missed the victory over Glasgow with a hamstring injury, faces a fitness test on Thursday ahead of Saturday's final.

Scarlets will play European Champions Cup winners Leinster, who beat Munster in Dublin.

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