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Eton Manor set to officially open RFU Rugby365 floodlit AGP this weekend

PUBLISHED: 11:00 31 August 2018

Work started on Eton Manor's new AGP pitch back in February (pic: Martin Pearl).

Work started on Eton Manor's new AGP pitch back in February (pic: Martin Pearl).

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Chairman Gary Wood is hopeful the new artificial grass pitch will attract more people to play rugby

Eton Manor RFC is the latest club set to be benefit from a RFU Rugby365 floodlit artificial grass pitch (AGP), with the facility officially opening on September 1.

The new facility will provide clubs across the local community with the chance to benefit from year-round rugby through the durability of the all-weather, floodlit surface.

This will enable additional training sessions and more flexibility in playing times. As a result, it is expected that the pitch will increase rugby participation across clubs and community groups, further growing the sport.

In the 18 months since launching in January 2017, the RFU have opened 12 live sites across the breadth of the country, with a further 10 being completed this summer and operational for the 2018/19 season.

In excess of 1,200 teams have played on an AGP in that time, with more than 1,500 fixtures fulfilled. The facilities have also seen a footfall of over 200,000 individuals, with 4,700 hours of rugby training achieved.

The pitches are a community facility for all clubs, players and teams from across the area to benefit from and enjoy.

Testament to the growth of the women’s game, one third of all bookings have involved women and girls and a third of bookings are by non-senior teams, showing great appetite from youth players.

RFU Development Director Steve Grainger said: “We have been delighted with how local communities have embraced our first phase of operational AGPs, since the first facility was completed in January 2017.

“The opportunity it has provided, to enable year round rugby has been incredibly positive.

“We have seen clubs, schools and teams from across the local areas embracing the chance to play on these world-class facilities without weather, darkness or lack of pitch access limiting their ability to enjoy this great game.

“I’m sure this will be the case for Eton Manor RFC, following the launch of their AGP.”

Gary Wood, Eton Manor chairman, added: “The new AGP will provide a step change in the number of games we can play throughout the year. Not just for our club, but also the wider local community.

“The feedback from the members and other local sports clubs has been extremely positive.

“Everyone who has played on the surface has commented on the consistency it gives, while the overall impression of the pitch and its surrounding area is a big wow factor.

“We believe the addition of the facility will help attract more people, young and old, back in to rugby to play all forms of the game.

“The club are committed to an open-door facility and are already actively encouraging people from a variety of sport backgrounds to come along to try the pitch, and they will be welcomed by the pitch.”

For more information on AGPs and to book the pitch at Eton Manor RFC, go to www.englandrugby.com/Rugby365.


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