Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Kingsholm clash called off

Kingsholm
Kingsholm

Gloucester's Aviva Premiership game against leaders Northampton at Kingsholm on Sunday has been postponed due to a frozen pitch.

Although the playing surface has been covered since Gloucester's Amlin Challenge Cup clash against La Rochelle last weekend, current temperatures rendered it unplayable. And with conditions for the Gloucester area possibly plummeting to minus 10 on Christmas Day night, there will be no opportunity for the pitch to thaw.

"We felt that it was only fair to try and make an informed decision as soon as possible as to whether the game could proceed or not," said Gloucester managing director Ken Nottage.

"The protective dome that allowed the La Rochelle game to proceed is unfortunately no longer at Kingsholm, and the freezing conditions have just been too much for our frost covers.

"We called in (referee) Chris White for his opinion, and, unfortunately it was bad news. It's the first time we have had to postpone a game, apart from for fog, in almost 15 years.

"It's desperately disappointing, as Sunday was going to be a sell-out and we were all looking forward to a terrific game of rugby.

"Our stadium staff have worked incredibly hard over the past few days in an attempt to stage two fixtures in the space of a week, but the weather conditions have proved to be too much."

Premiership Rugby has access to three sets of pitch kits which include hot-air blowers.

For the next round of Premiership games, the kits are at Kingston Park for Newcastle's game against Leeds Carnegie - which has been put back 24 hours to Monday afternoon because of current pitch conditions - plus the scheduled Monday games between Harlequins and London Irish at Twickenham and Leicester versus Sale Sharks at Welford Road.

Bath's clash against Exeter became the latest Boxing Day casualty due to a frozen pitch at the Recreation Ground.

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