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Waratahs likely to stick with Sydney Cricket Ground, says coach

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – The New South Wales Waratahs are unlikely to move Super Rugby matches away from Sydney Cricket Ground despite the playing surface being ripped apart during Saturday’s clash with the Queensland Reds, according to coach Daryl Gibson.

The surface was a problem throughout the match and referee Glen Jackson was forced to halt play during the second half to allow groundstaff to temporarily repair the pitch after a scrum had created huge divots that made footing unsafe.

The pitch was pocked with scars at the end of the game, sparking discussion over whether the two remaining home matches scheduled to be played at the venue this season might be moved.

“I don’t think that has been brought in,” said Gibson, adding that officials would probably need to have discussions about the surface before the March 23 clash against the Canterbury Crusaders.

“It is certainly something I am sure the powers that be will look at and how it is rectified for the next game.

“(But) we are loving the fact we are playing around the state. It is such an iconic ground, it is a real thrill to play here.”

The Waratahs have been forced to find alternative home venues while the Sydney Football Stadium is rebuilt as part of a overhaul of sports facilities in Australia’s largest city.

While the Waratahs felt comfortable with the SCG as a venue following their 28-17 victory, Reds coach Brad Thorn said he thought the surface had taken away their opportunity to use the scrum as an attacking weapon.

“It just shut it down didn’t it?” Thorn said.

“Its professional sport. Rugby grounds, there is a lot of running around but with the mauling and the scrummaging, the ground is pretty important. That was disappointing.

“It just didn’t have any strength to it.”

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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