A STATE-of-the-art synthetic pitch will be installed at Sixways Stadium this summer as Worcester Warriors aim to make more money.

Warriors will be the first Aviva Premiership outfit to convert to the latest generation of artificial grass pitch ahead of the 2016/17 season.

While Saracens and Newcastle Falcons have switched to synthetic, Warriors will be the first in the UK to feature an organic infill rather than rubber crumb, meaning players can still get muddy.

The new turf, which will cost Warriors a significant six-figure fee, allows more use for the club’s elite, academy and community rugby sections as well as hosting events and reducing maintenance costs.

Warriors chief executive Jim O’Toole said: “Our stadium pitch is the single most under-utilised asset in the club, currently being used for fewer than 100 hours per season.

“The structure of our existing playing surface means we have to allocate eight to 10 weeks per summer break to refurbish it, thus removing the possibility of summertime playing usage or commercial activity.

“This exciting development not only allows us to play more rugby at all levels on our biggest physical asset but also allows us to establish new commercial revenue streams, such as concerts, festivals and other non-rugby events.”

The pitch, produced by Italian specialists Limonta Sport, is expected to offer players a consistently high-quality surface all year and in all weather conditions for training and playing.

It sits on a rugby-specific shock pad and consists of two elements, grass and infill. The grass, Limonta’s Max S Turf, features a resilient upright fibre system, while the infill is Limonta’s industry-leading InfillPro Geo.

The grass is a carpet, woven and manufactured with special polymer backing that enhances durability, while the organic infill is a natural brown colour and features shredded coconut fibres, giving the impression of being 100 per cent natural as players get muddy rather than suffering friction burns.

It provides “perfect foot stability”, enhancing safety for players.

The new surface will be maintained after every 10 hours of use and Warriors have hired additional trained ground staff to deliver the maintenance.

However, speaking after Warriors played at Newcastle Falcons last month, director of rugby Dean Ryan said he felt rugby would lose its “integrity” if more synthetic surfaces were installed.

He admitted: “I wouldn’t want to see all pitches go that way because I think it loses some of the integrity of the sport.

“I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the old Newcastle pitch two years ago, so it does clean up some of the conditions.

“You look at some of the pitches and they are in a poor condition and I don’t think that’s helpful for the sport either. “I think it’s a balancing act between the two, so they are part of the future.

“I am not sure I can see a future where every surface is like that. There are no international grounds like it at the moment.”