The Widnes squad trained on their new iPitch for the first time yesterday (Tuesday), as they gear up for their Super League opener against Wakefield on February 3rd.
Denis Betts’ men have been training at other facilities in the north west to get a feel for the new surface, which is a first in rugby league, but they were able to take to the Stobart Stadium pitch to continue their pre-season preparations.
Betts told the club’s official website: “For the past few months there’s been a massive burden on the players as a large percentage of their training has been done off-site on a similar surface in Skelmersdale, which has meant a fair share of travelling. So, to now have the i-pitch ready for use is great news for everybody concerned.
“Despite it being fairly overcast this afternoon, there’s a smile on the players’ faces and they all seem really happy in their work environment which is a huge bonus.
“Twelve months ago we were running up huge phone bills, trying to find a pitch to train on because our own stadium was unavailable, but twelve months on there’s not a single puddle or muddy patch in sight and the i-pitch will always look like that, regardless of the weather conditions which will only benefit our training schedule.”
Widnes won’t play any pre-season friendlies on the surface, but will travel to St Helens‘ new Langtree Park Stadium next Friday (January 20th), before another away friendly at Hunslet the following Sunday (January 29th).
The Vikings lost to local rivals Warrington 32-18 on Boxing Day, but defeated Championship side Swinton 28-6 at the weekend.