Australia tour
Concerns raised about Wembley pitch
PA Sport
December 10, 2008
Matt Dunning winces in agony after snapping his Achilles tendon, Barbarians v Australia, Wembley, December 3, 2008
Wallabies prop Matt Dunning receives treatment after snapping his Achilles during the Wembley clash © Getty Images
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Tournaments/Tours: Australia tour
Teams: Australia

The Rugby Union Players' Association in Australia has launched a health and safety investigation after two Australian props were injured when a scrum collapsed in last week's game against the Barbarians at Wembley.

Matt Dunning has undergone surgery on a ruptured Achilles' and could be out for up to nine months, while Sekope Kepu tore a pectoral muscle and his chances of featuring in the Super 14 are slim. The matter has been referred to a six-man health and safety committee made up of representatives from RUPA and the Australian Rugby Union.

RUPA chief executive Tony Dempsey told the Sydney Daily Telegraph, "We're concerned from an occupational health and safety point of view that our members may be asked to play on surfaces that are unstable. "From discussions I have had it was very, very unstable under foot. The employers are the ARU and as such they have a duty of care to ensure safe playing surfaces for the players. It is something definitely worth exploring.

"(The committee) was established to investigate players' safety and welfare and we're looking to see what recommendations can be given to deal with this issue."

Wembley Stadium officials responded to the renewed scrutiny over the state of their pitch by insisting they "always endeavour" to provide the best possible playing surface.

A Wembley spokesperson said, "It is always unfortunate to see injuries in any game and our sympathies go out to the players concerned. Both teams trained on the pitch the day before the game and were familiar with the playing surface. In addition, 3000 juniors took part in six hours of non-stop rugby before kick-off.

"We are a multi-purpose venue and will always endeavour to provide the best possible playing surface for all events at Wembley."


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