The Melbourne Rebels will be able to host their next match at AAMI Park after stadium management agreed to resurface parts of the venue's pitch.
There was plenty of controversy over the state of the playing surface during several of the Rebels' home matches earlier this year and the turf capitulated again in the second Test between Australia and England last weekend, with reset scrums being moved as major divots were dislodged during the game.
But after seeking reassurances from the Melbourne & Olympic Park Trust (MOPT) the Melbourne Rebels satisfied with the agreed action by stadium management to resurface parts of the pitch to ensure it performs to a Super Rugby standard.
MOPT contracted an independent turf expert to perform turf testing this past week and made various recommended courses of remediation to MOPT, one of which involves resurfacing sections of the pitch. MOPT debriefed the Melbourne Rebels of its intention to resurface the pitch to ensure improved durability of the pitch under scrum conditions.
The Rebels will host the Stormers in their final home game of the season at AAMI Park on Saturday, July 2.
“We’re pleased to confirm we will host the Stormers at our home ground AAMI Park next weekend, following the undertakings of MOPT in consultation with an independent turf expert and practical testing of the new turf under live scrum conditions,” said Melbourne Rebels General Manager Rugby Operations Baden Stephenson via a press statement on the club's official website.
“We are comfortable that MOPT and the stadium’s management have taken the necessary actions to ensure the pitch performs to a Super Rugby standard thereby protecting the safety and wellbeing of our Rugby players.
“The review process included consultation with the Melbourne Rebels, Australian Rugby Union (ARU), Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) and SANZAAR senior management.”