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EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 29 ryegrass being used at the majority of the tournament venues. Twenty years ago the cultivars used for football and rugby were hard-wearing but relatively broad and open in habit. Today Columbine not only has exceptional wear tolerance but also possesses a very fine leaf and excep- tional shoot density as well as the camera-friendly colour and disease resistance that the leading venues are looking for. Pitch Management Plan To allow the maximum time for the establishment of the new sur- face pitches typically will be stripped with the use of a fraize mower as soon as the previous season is over. As well as preparing a smooth and level surface for seeding this has the added benefit of removing excess organic matter and any poa annua that has built up over the year. Following any decompaction work and the application of any required topdressing the pitch will then be direct drilled typically at a seed rate of 50-75 grams per square metre. In trials the higher rate has proven to deliver the strongest surface in the shortest possible time while also reducing the chance of poa annua being reestablished. Hard-wearing Seeds for Rugby All of the venues selected for the Rugby World Cup tournament are exist- ing commercial developments so it was up to them to make their own seed selections. Preparing a pitch for a top world-class rugby event as well as keeping a focus on how their normal renovations were done saw groundskeepers considering such factors as nutrition light and irrigation when deciding which seed mix and cultivars to choose for rugby use as opposed to strictly football use. Many groundskeepers have turned to DLF for their seed selections. A grass seed supplier for the last two FIFA World Cups DLF is a major supplier again at the Rugby World Cup for those host clubs that decided to overseed their fields. DLF cultivars were a popular choice either in direct Johnsons Sports Seeds mixtures or via third party mixtures that contained them. This was the case with Leicester City FC of the British football Premier League whose home King Power Stadium was chosen to host matches for the Rugby World Cup. All of the pitch preparations had to be done on a tight schedule as the day before each rugby game a training session known as the Captains Run was held on the pitch resulting in a total of three Captains Runs and three games in just eight days John Ledwidge has been head groundskeeper for Leicester City FC since January 2014. He started in the groundskeeping field at the young age of 13 initially doing voluntary work and then moving into an apprenticeship at Coventry City FC. He became deputy head grounds- keeper there at the age of 19 and head groundskeeper at Coventry City at the age of 24 with a spell at Aston Villa in between. Currently Ledwidge has a staff of seven to support him at Leicester City. In addition to the main pitch Ledwidges team is responsible for maintaining seven and a half pitches at the training ground with Johnsons Sport Seed mixtures being involved in most of them. Ledwidge said hes used J Premier Pitch everywhere hes been noting its a seed that has achieved great results at a lot of high profile venues rugby and football alike. Its tried and tested Ledwidge said. I trust it to do what it says on the tin. Twinkle Toes or Brute Force Machine With the playing schedule weve been given explained Ledwidge the pitch will be subjected to a lot of wear from a completely different spe- cies of player from a twinkle toes footballer to an 18-stone brute force machine of a rugby player This means it is so important to use seed you can trust will deliver when it comes to it said Ledwidge. I have peace of mind that we will be able to turn the pitch around as nine days after the Rugby World Cup weve got our first football game back at the stadium. Its going to be hectic but the whole team is looking forward to the challenge. J Premier Pitch seed was sown in the summer across the major- ity of the pitches at the training ground as well as at the Leicester City FC stadium. Because the pitches use artificial lights sowing started about a month earlier than normal to ensure the grass surface was as strong as going into the schedule. It required a lot of hard work from Ledwidges team to make sure each field was cleaned up and well presented for the rugby matches the day after every Captains Run. Well Prepared and Equipped Prior the start of the Rugby World Cup Ledwidge said Im hoping the weather will be fair to us although with the pitch of a sand-based Desso construction it is well designed to cope with higher rainfall and heavy wear and does drain relatively freely. As were not used to maintaining a dual-use facility it is a challenge but the team are making the right preparations to ensure they are well prepared and well equipped to cope. Ledwidge adds that the main challenge will be to keep the plant strong healthy and maintaining grass cover. This is the aim for the tournament so that when its turned back around to be used for football it is at the standard they expect. With football it is essential to ensure that the grass cover is good but with rugby it is not quite so imperative because the ball isnt played on the ground.The pitch will be subjected to a lot of wear from a completely different species of player from a twinkle toes footballer to an 18-stone brute force machine of a rugby player SEEDING THE FUTURE SINCE 1856 KWS and me. Thats reliability. Trust isnt something that grows overnight. Many farming families have relied on KWS for generations. Since nearly 160 years weve been the seed specialist that delivers what farmers expect the best quality seed for sugar beet corn cereals rapeseed and potatoes. Thats why it comes as no surprise farmers consider orange the color of reliability. Find out more at our website.