- England legend Jason Robinson officially opens pitch in West Yorkshire
- Seven Rugby 365 pitches now up and running
- Click here to book time on a Rugby 365 AGP pitch near you
The two latest Rugby 365 England Rugby artificial grass pitches in the West Midlands and West Yorkshire have launched with events taking place at Stourbridge RFC and Keighley RUFC.
These new pitches at Keighley RUFC and Stourbridge RFC follow on from completion of the first five Rugby 365 pitches in Buckinghamshire, Somerset, Lancashire, Cambridgeshire and County Durham at the end of last year.
England Rugby’s investment in Rugby 365 is part of their Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy of delivering over £50 million over four years into the development of 100 artificial grass pitches across England.
Former England international Jason Robinson joined RFU President John Spencer to officially open the West Yorkshire pitch at Keighley on 16 December in front of hundreds of guests.
On the day the pitch hosted a schools festival, as well as three matches for Baildon U15s Girls v Old Brodleians U15s Girls, Keighley vs Selby in Yorkshire One and Keighley U15s v Bradford Salem U15s
“The pitch has made a big difference to us in terms of playing on the pitch and also in terms of making changes to the club as it is a catalyst for making changes and improvements in the club," said Sam Griffin chairman of Keighley RUFC.
Club member Ken Dyson added: “For the community as a whole, for the club, for everyone that's been here today, it goes without saying how important this is. It's taken us into a new era - one that's allowing us to develop in different ways as a playing side, but also opening it up to the whole community that benefits not only us as a club, the community itself and a host of different sports. It’s a win-win situation for one and all.”
The opening ceremony at Stourbridge RFC took place on 5 December, with Peter Wheeler (RFU) and Margot James (Stourbridge MP) performing the honours, supported by Nick Perry (Stourbridge RFC President), Robin Edwards (Stourbridge RFC Chairman) and Jackie Jeavons-Fellows (Stourbridge RFC Patron).
The ceremony was followed by lunch for 150 guests, Stourbridge U14s vs Hinckley U14s, Stourbridge Grasshoppers XV vs Kidderminster IIIs and the National 2 North fixture between Stourbridge and Hinckley in front of the largest crowd of the season.
Robin Edwards, Stourbridge RFC Chairman said: "There are many potential benefits. Firstly we have a wonderful pitch on which we can play in almost any weather conditions, it will ensure that fixtures can be played throughout the season.
"The number of games we can host is dramatically increased by having the new surface and we expect to see more rugby played by a variety of local teams from across our community. We think it is a positive attraction for players young and old to play all forms of the game and also to provide a ready platform for other sports teams who have similar requirements.
"We are now able to help to promote this excellent facility and we are committed to engaging with educational establishments and other local organisations to encourage them to become involved in rugby.
“The reaction from members has been consistently positive. Everyone who has walked on the surface comments on the extra ‘spring’ the surface gives and the overall look and feel of the pitch is much applauded."
For more information on the RFU’s Rugby 365 AGP programme, click here.