AAMI Park surface slammed after Rebels-Hurricanes

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles described the AAMI Park surface as "quite dangerous", after a match in which parts of the turf looked more like a sandpit.

Scrums made the surface look like the home course of the world’s worst golfer, such were the chunks displaced each time the sides packed down and Coles said both sides struggled to stay up with the uneven turf.

"It’s actually quite dangerous, you actually quite a bit of pressure going into those scrums, both teams were kind of losing their feet and there was a few collapses," he said.

"I'm not too sure what the solution is.

"Both teams were happy to move away from those areas."

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd echoed his captain's comments, saying the condition becoming an issue.

"It’s a bit of an issue isn’t it," he said.

"Julian Savea tripped in that area when they scored the first try and it’s jut a problem or an issue that they need to get on top of because it’s probably not good enough."

Rebels coach Tony McGahan was not keen on being caught up in the turf debate around AAMI Park.

“I could tell you the turf is the last thing I’m concerned about,” he said.

“Turf is not my area. I couldn’t care less. We’ve got to be better on top of it.”

Groundstaff working to fix the AAMI Park turf on Friday night. Photo: Getty ImagesMcGahan's more pressing concern was that he felt more than just deja vu  watching his side go down to the Hurricanes on Friday night.

As the Rebels mistimed kicked, threw intercept passes and found themselves constantly on their own line, McGahan said he could have just as easily been watching their clash against the Highlanders from three weeks ago.

“It looked like watching the Highlanders game in different jerseys tonight,” he said.

“(There’d be a) High ball, chip over the top, intercept...there flows on the rest of the game.

“They increase their lien speed, they put us under good pressure and did really well tonight.

“They’re a very, very good side. They played accordingly to their seeding.”

In a compounded blow, the Rebels have more injury worries coming up, with inside centre Mitch Inman set to miss a month with a broken thumb.

Inman and Toby Smith (concussion) were both late withdrawals from the Hurricanes match and McGahan confirmed Inman’s prognosis post-game.

“Mith hurt his thumb against the Waratahs and got through three days training and then got a scan late Wednesday...so he’l be out for a month.”

Winger Dom Shipperley was also helped off in the first half with what seemed like an ankle injury but the severity is not yet known.

It wasn’t all bad for the Rebels, who showed their defensive grit under enormous pressure on their own line, on a night where the Hurrricanes’ six tries could easily have been far more.