There has been a mixed response from players and coaches to Widnes Vikings’ new iPitch.
Widnes hosted their opening home Super League game on the new pitch last Friday against Wakefield.
Coaches Richard Agar and Denis Betts have both praised the new 3G pitch, while Wakefield’s Richie Mathers gave a different reaction.
Betts said after the match: “There wouldn’t have been many games around the country at minus six or seven degrees.
“Its pretty cold where I was stood and I had a scarf and gloves on.”
But Betts was quick to praise both sets of players for playing in incredibly cold conditions.
He said: “You have to look at the players across both sides and say ‘how tough are they?’
“To be out on the field and not to be able to feel your hands and still be able to play shows a lot of mental toughness from both groups out there tonight to play in those conditions.”
However Wakefield fullback Richie Mathers was not happy with the new all-weather surface.
Mathers posted pictures on his Twitter account showing the damage the surface had done to his knee, which had ripped off a thin outer layer of skin around the joint.
He said on Twitter: “It’s nothing aimed at Widnes. Great club and happy they are back in. It’s just the surface. In my experience, isn’t right for Super League.”
But while his coach Richard Agar may have admitted there were a few cuts on players’ knees and elbows, he was more concerned about the affect the pitch had under the player’s feet.
Agar said: “There were a couple of times when it looked a bit difficult under foot, but having said that the conditions on the night might have played a part in that.
“I don’t know how it plays when the weather is hot and not as dewy and damp as it was tonight.”