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28 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM The six-week tournament that began Sept. 18 is being held in 10 English cities as well as in Cardiff Wales. Thirteen match venues are playing host to the 48 games that will celebrate the sport and engage more than two million spectators including more than 400000 international travelling fans. On Oct. 31 the final of the Rugby World Cup will be played at Twickenham England in the largest stadium in the world devoted solely to the sport of rugby. All Natural Grass Pitches Its a positive statement about the development of natural grass pitches in that all of the matches at the Rugby World Cup will be played on nat- ural turf. Thanks to rigorous on-going global seed breeding programs together with advances in turf management techniques todays natural and hybrid turf pitches deliver outstanding wear and shade tolerance plus excellent tensile strength despite the additional challenges of modern super stadiums most of which now use a 100 per cent blend of perennial ryegrass. Theres no doubt the Rugby World Cup is a major competition. It is officially the worlds third biggest sporting event after the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. By DLF Increase in Wear Tolerance According to research documenting the benefits of natural versus arti- ficial turf perennial ryegrass has increased its wear tolerance by one per cent year on year. This means that a pitch delivering 330 hours of play in 1975 would be yielding well over 450 hours today. In the case of a hybrid pitch this can be increased to more than 750 hours annually due in part to the strong rooting capacity of perennial ryegrass which enhances the inclusion of artificial fibres in the topsoil which in the Desso system are woven into the surface. Even though the artificial fibres only make up approximately four per cent of the surface a hybrid pitch system delivers a very strong and stable surface thats ideally suited to the challenge of hosting punishing World Cup rugby matches as well as a normal football schedule. Modern Sports Turf Varieties in Top Venues Todays renovation mixture will typically include three to four perennial ryegrass cultivars for optimal disease resistance. Cultivars are selected primarily based on their overall wear tolerance and visual appeal but colour disease resistance and recovery speed all come into play. The cul- tivar Columbine is a classic example of the modern sports turf perennial Preparing Pitches for the Rigours of Rugby The team from to left to right Callum Allsop Tyler Baker Simon Gibson John Ledwidge Paul Billington and Nathan Webb.