Synthetic rugby surface in Canterbury still delighting young players years later

When Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys joined forces with the Canterbury Academy and local rugby club Canterbury RFC in 2014, the construction of an artificial turf pitch raised a few eyebrows. Since then, however, the Rugby MXSi TLT surface designed by Lano Sports has more than met the expectations of the local sportsmen. “The field is fully booked the whole time,” says Deputy Headteacher (formerly Director of Sport), Darren Watson. “Both on and off the pitch, there’s quite a scrum to get on,” he laughs.

On the other side of the Channel, rugby is the national sport – after Football, the King of Sports. For more than 150 years, British rugby teams have been ploughing grass pitches all over the country trying to score through the opponent’s defence. But not in Canterbury. In the face of countless scrums, rucks and mauls, the artificial turf surface has showed tremendous resilience and durability and retained its high-quality playing characteristics, till the last whistle.

365 days a year

“The quality of the MXSi TLT surface is nothing short of impressive,” Darren enthuses. “The rugby teams are not the only ones clashing on the field every week; many other sports are also taking place here: from American football to lacrosse. Using different markings gives us the option to invite all kinds of sports, but it does not seem to damage the synthetic yarns. After years of intensive use, they are just as resilient and the pitch shows no sign of deterioration. The pupils from our academy and other sports enthusiasts can use the pitch on any day, in winter or summer, come rain or shine.”

Recognised quality labels

Darren: “In order to safeguard the quality of the artificial turf, we sweep the field clean weekly and perform an in-depth clean six times a year. The pitch therefore still meets the standards of international sports federations such as FIFA and World Rugby. The surface is suitable for all standard of play, including national competitions.  In addition, the fact it is used for almost all training sessions by school and club means our grass pitches are in outstanding condition, so everyone is happy!”

If a legend says so …

Nicky Little, the Fijian legend of 4 Rugby World Cups, experienced the surface transformation up close: “As the rugby coordinator at the Academy, I have noticed that young players are enjoying the training more in recent years. When played on an artificial turf pitch, rugby goes a lot faster, which gives the sport a new dimension.” Darren chimes in: “If we had to do it all over today, we would once again choose an MXSi TLT surface from Lano Sports.”