Waratahs play down Brookvale pitch concerns

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Waratahs have played down concerns about the Brookvale Oval surface, just days out from their season opener against the Hurricanes.

NSW officials have visited the ground and say there are no reservations about playing their round one match there on Saturday night.

It isn't the first time there have been concerns raised about the Brookvale surface with NRL side Manly Sea Eagles voicing their issues last year after a series of injuries.

The Waratahs last year requested an extra pitch inspection ahead of their Super Rugby clash with the Blues in the wake of the Sea Eagles' concerns and plans for a Shute Shield curtain raiser were abandoned by the Northern Beaches Council due to the surface.

NSW Rugby CEO Andrew Hore said they would monitor the pitch this week but there was no chance of a relocation.

"We are looking at the management of the field this week, but it has been assessed by all parties and there is no reason to believe it won’t be fit for purpose and ready for Saturday," he said in a statement.

"We will be there Saturday – we are confident of that.

"We know the challenges that have been faced with the surface at Brookvale over the years, but we have done a site visit and are confident the surface will meet our standards.

"The NSW Waratahs are excited to be returning to our rugby heartland on the northern beaches at Brookvale Oval, with a huge crowd expected and tickets selling fast."

The match is on track to be a sellout, with tickets being picked up at double the rate of last year's Super Rugby clash with the Blues.

If it does sell out, it would be the Waratahs' biggest crowd in more than a year, with 18,059 to watch the Sunwolves the biggest NSW crowd of 2018.

Saturday's match will be the second regular season Super Rugby match at Brookvale Oval and their fourth in recent years after preseason trials in 2017 and 2018 at the ground.

The Waratahs take on the Hurricanes on Saturday February 17, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets at nswwaratahs.com.au