Artificial pitches and facilities

Synthetic pitch at Murrayfield StadiumOn this page:

To be suitable for contact rugby, synthetic pitches must meet strict requirements around ball-surface interaction, player-surface interaction and durability.

They must also meet the requirements of the International Rugby Board (IRB) regulation 22 and IRB Artificial Rugby Turf Performance Specification.

A number of synthetic pitches have been constructed across Scotland, and more are planned. Changes in the IRB regulations mean that some existing synthetic pitches may now meet the requirements for contact rugby.

However, operators will need to review the design and specification of their pitch to determine whether it should be subject to a field test by an Accredited Test Institute.

Visit the IRB website for more about the synthetic pitch regulations.  

Requirements for synthetic rugby pitches

A synthetic sports pitch may only be used for contact rugby training or playing where it meets all of the requirements below.

Pitches must:

  • be constructed to the specifications required by the IRB Artificial rugby turf performance specification and IRB regulation 22
  • go through a successful field test, carried out by an IRB Accredited Test Institute, and submitted to the Scottish Rugby Union
  • be granted approved status by the Scottish Rugby Union (approval lasts for two years).

To find out more about the approval process for synthetic pitches, for advice on choosing suppliers and details of how to report any injuries that may occur, download our protocol for synthetic pitches (pdf).

You can also view a list of the synthetic pitches with conditional approved status (pdf), along with the date when this approval runs out. Only the pitches on this list are approved for contact playing or training.

Approved artificial pitches are designed to take the wear and tear involved in rugby, therefore (kite-marked) metal safety studs which are designed for rugby can be used on these pitches.

Guidance on developing facilities

A range of guidance is available to support any club developing its facilities:

  • sportscotland’s website offers advice on planning, design and construction as well as information about how to apply for sportscotland’s own facilities fund.  

  • sportscotland also offers technical data sheets covering different types of pitches. They are designed to help with selection and design of surfaces and lighting provision.

The Sport and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) offers a range of technical guidance, as well as information for suppliers.