Sarries hope to show that plastic really is fantastic

SARACENS chief executive Edward Griffiths believes the club’s plan to play on an artificial surface from next season will produce a far more entertaining brand of rugby.

The club yesterday announced its plans to leave Watford’s Vicarage Road and build a new £10m stadium – fit to host rugby and athletics – at Barnet Copthall in north London.

Sarries hope to move in for the start of next season, subject to gaining approval from the London Borough of Barnet, with an artificial pitch, to be installed at a cost of £500,000, central to their plans.

“Artificial turf will take the game forward in this country,” said Griffiths, who confirmed the 3G surface, which would be the first of its kind to be used by an English rugby club, will comply with IRB rules.

“The traditional view held by many people is that sport and technology don’t sit hand in hand. This is a clear example of when it does.

“We can no longer tolerate playing a sport on pitches which are frozen in the winter and barely have a blade of grass on them come the end of the season. That’s not conducive to any sort of entertainment.

“Obviously, the fact that it will cost less to maintain came into consideration. Clearly you don’t have to mow it. But we also want to make sure we are building a community venue that can be used all year round.

“By going ahead with an artificial pitch we can guarantee that, as well as ensuring a safer and more entertaining sport is on offer for our fans.”

Meanwhile, Watford last night confirmed Saracens will leave Vicarage Road next summer, regardless of whether their move to Barnet Copthall goes ahead.