International federation makes call for research applications to add to extensive knowledge on artificial surfaces.
Focus of new grants will be on player welfare and in particular impacts of using different surfaces across a season as well as footwear.
The new research fund will enable the international federation to focus on a further three key areas:
The impact on players of playing on a mixture of artificial and natural surfaces across a season
How boots and other footwear interact with artificial surfaces
The economic and social impact of the standards World Rugby requires for use of artificial turf within rugby
This new research fund is in addition to existing studies into artificial turf, funded by World Rugby, that are already in place. In 2020, World Rugby partnered with the University of Cardiff and Sports Labs to commission research into better tests for reducing skin abrasions. The findings of this work are expected to be published later this year.
World Rugby regulations already require some of the highest standards for artificial surfaces in international sport and for pitches to be specifically designed for playing rugby. The international federation already works closely with preferred turf producers (PTPs), accredited test institutes (ATIs), member unions and player’s associations to ensure that playing on artificial surfaces represents no greater risk than a match played on natural grass.