SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The New Zealand Maori’s non-cap rugby test against the invitational Asia Pacific Dragons in Singapore next month is in doubt as the hosts battle to repair a problematic pitch at their new National Stadium.
The surface was laid in May but lacked an appropriate bedding period and has been re-seeded four times, staff said on Monday, as they try to cope with the demands of hosting so many different events in a tropical climate.
The sandy pitch, with plenty of bare patches, will host Brazil in a soccer friendly against Asian Cup holders Japan on Tuesday, with organisers of the Southeast Asian soccer championships voicing concerns about Singapore’s ability to part-stage their event in late November-early December.
The pitch will be covered, which has caused many of the problems, for Taiwan singer Jay Chou’s concert on Nov 8 but the rugby could be shifted altogether.
“The Jay Chou concert will not be cancelled and for the Maori All Blacks against the Asia Pacific Dragons, we are in discussions with the event promoter now,” Sports Hub CEO Jin Teik Oon told reporters on Monday.
Asked to confirm if the rugby would go ahead, Oon was vague.
“Keeping all options open,” he said.
The pitch has been a perennial headache for all since the stadium, the centrepiece of Singapore’s new $1 billion Sports Hub, opened this year.
The surface was slammed by Italian soccer champions Juventus in August when they played a friendly against a Singapore selection, with manager Massimiliano Allegri saying he did not select first-choice players Carlos Tevez or Arturo Vidal “to avoid pointless risks because the pitch was bad”.