Ricoh Arena: New turf in the Wasps’ Nest

10th Aug 2020

White Horse Contractors are proud to announce the successful construction of a brand-new hybrid turf sports pitch at the Ricoh Arena, home to Premiership rugby legends Wasps.

A bespoke solution for Britain’s largest rugby club stadium

Wasps approached White Horse Contractors to improve the playing surface at their home ground, Ricoh Arena. As the only fully enclosed stadium in British club rugby, the Ricoh Arena poses demanding agronomic challenges.

The White Horse team developed a strong, collaborative, working relationship with the senior management of the club and began a programme of research and analysis to identify the best solution for Wasps.

The first stage of research revealed that ‘Hero Hybrid Grass’ had been successfully utilised at Gloucester Rugby Club, Etihad Campus (Manchester City’s training ground), and Ciudad Real Madrid (training ground of Real Madrid) to provide an elite playing surface capable of withstanding the high hours of usage demanded by world class teams.

Dr James Welsh (Technical Director of White Horse Contractors) conceived a detailed design solution and construction plan, to overcome the agronomic issues and meet the challenge of delivering a new pitch in time for the 2019/20 Premiership season.

“A key technical challenge was the shallow depth of the heating and irrigation pipework systems under the pitch. To address this we raised the pitch level, which improved aeration and drainage in the upper rootzone, and utlised a microporous mineral to improve water and nutrient retention.
Through this work we enabled the new pitch to bed in faster, ensuring we hit the critical deadline, while allowing the grass to develop a stronger rooting system which will improve the quality of the playing surface and provide a consistently high-quality surface throughout the season.”

Dr James Welsh, Technical Director, White Horse Contractors

“There’s no such thing as confidence. You either have it or you don’t.”

Rob Andrew, Wasps legend

Trusted to deliver

Impressed by the depth of knowledge and expertise evident within the White Horse proposal, Wasps management felt confident to commission WHC within a matter of weeks.

The contract was signed on 1st August 2019 with work commencing shortly afterwards. Despite several additional challenges emerging during the process the new pitch was completed in just four weeks and officially handed over to Wasps on the 3rd September.

Three weeks later, Wasps played Saracens in their first home match of the season. The newly christened playing surface received fantastic feedback from the players.

For more information call 01865 736272 or email