Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or email us
Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths admits plastic pitch at new home in Allianz Park is a "risk"
The Men in Black will host their first match on their new turf in Barnet on Saturday, February 16 against Exeter Chiefs and work is currently underway to get the new surface ready.
The pitch will be the first of its kind in the Aviva Premiership and Griffiths told the Saracens fans forum on Wednesday night that he accepts there are risks involved.
“Of course there is a risk of being first,” Griffiths said.
“The general reaction of other clubs has been OK it’s interesting but let’s wait and see how it turns out, but at Saracens we want to be first and we want to be taking the club forward.
“In two years time either everyone in rugby will have moved to what we have or we will have moved back to grass.”
Saracens pride themselves on being a family club and one of the benefits of the surface is that it will be available for use by the local community.
Griffiths continued: “The great thing is that because it is plastic underneath, fathers and sons can go on the pitch and play on it until the end of the night as far as I’m concerned.
“And we won’t have a game called off until it’s below -8 degrees celsius – so I’ve already drawn up the rental costs for when the winter months draw in,” he joked.
The plastic surface will have excellent draining capability and Saracens may find it easier to play a faster, more free-flowing brand of rugby, absent from their performances of late.
Lock forward Alistair Hargreaves said: “The surface will take a bit of getting used to, it might be a bit different but we’re hoping we can use that to our advantage.
“It might be a bit faster so hopefully we will see a few more tries being scored.
“I think we are all optimistic about the pitch but until we get out there your guess is as good as ours really, but we’re looking forward to playing on a dry surface, definitely.”
Saracens are currently playing their home games at a variety of venues including Wembley and Vicarage Road but Griffiths hopes their new home, with a 10,000 seating capacity, will have an atmosphere unique to the Men in Black.
“I think it will look spectacular and I know there will be a great atmosphere,” he said.
“I want people to be able to turn up two hours before the game and hopefully just enjoy the experience.”
Concerns have been raised about the club’s ability to attract its new fan base whilst also maintaining its current loyal supporters.
But Griffiths is optimistic the new stadium will capture the local imagination in Barnet.
“I’m very confident about it. I sent a letter to people in the Barnet area and wrote a line at the bottom saying if you’re interested in getting a Sarries season ticket you can register here online for a cost of £30 or whatever.
“And 550 of them have registered - that’s just from three lines at the bottom of a letter.
“I would encourage people to get their seats early and hopefully I’ll go on the website and see the ticket allocations saying full, full, full.
“There are currently 3,000 season ticket holders and I think we’ll find that being in central London will make a massive difference - there’s a massive rugby following in Barnet.”
And the Sarries boss is confident the club’s current fans will follow the Men in Black to their new home.
“We were expecting the transition to be a bit more cautious,” he said.
“But it is going remarkably well and we’re finding that the majority of supporters are on board which is great.”
Comments are closed on this article.