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Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009

Contaminated pitch to be replaced

Millennium Stadium
The Millennium Stadium pitch has been relayed more than 25 times

The Millennium Stadium pitch is to be replaced before next Saturday's Test with Argentina as it is contaminated.

Independent experts examined the pitch in the week and found Bibionidae fly infestation which causes damage to root growth and the surface grass coverage.

"We've decided to avoid any risk of the infestation causing further erosion," said stadium manager Gerry Toms.

"The important issue is that we have carried out the correct checks and acted decisively."

More than 25 pitches have been laid in the Millennium Stadium's 10-year history, and this is the second time an infestation has been found.

"Obviously our major concern was how much damage might take place between now and the Australia match which will take place at the end of November," he added.

"By installing a brand new surface we effectively remove any question mark over the stability of the surface because the turf delivered will have healthy root and grass growth."

Agronomist John Lockyer one of the experts called in to advise on the condition of the pitch, said: "We have confirmed the presence of this infestation and I agree with the decision to take positive action now to replace the surface.

"The insects which consume the grass thatch and root material can multiply during the current weather conditions."

In October last year, root knot nematodes which causes gradual deterioration of the grass quality, was discovered in the Millennium Stadium pitch and the turf was replaced.

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