J Premier Pitch proves to be a game-changer for Northampton Saints

J Premier Pitch from Johnsons Sports Seed has been described as a ‘game-changer’ for Northampton Saints Rugby Club, delivering outstanding resilience, weartolerance and overall turf quality at both the stadium and new high performance training centre. As one of just three clubs in the Premiership with an all-natural pitch, expectations and demands on the turf are high – but with the right seed, feed and maintenance programme in place, the team lead by Head Groundsman Andrew Miller are delivering on every front.

The cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens has been the stage for a strong season for Northampton Saints, leading rugby union’s top division at the time of writing. Ensuring the aforementioned stage is set is Andrew and a team of three. “Maintaining top flight rugby facilities poses a number of challenges” he explains. “Not only do we have the micro-climate stadium conditions like many other sports, but rugby demands strong, healthy rooting if the surface is going to withstand the pressures exerted by two 900kg scrum packs! Without the help of any hybrid support, Johnsons J Premier Pitch has helped us deliver on this and so much more.”

Andrew has been using the 100% perennial ryegrass mixture for the last nine years. The new 2024 formulation blends five top-rated cultivars to create the ideal winter sport mix, incorporating Monroe and Gildara for significantly improved resistance to Brown Patch and other common turf diseases. Trusted by many of Europe’s leading stadia, J Premier Pitch delivers proven play performance and outstanding visual merit.

“The turf quality and quick establishment have surpassed our expectations, vitally important with the small windows we’re given to grow the pitch back in after concert season. It gives us more than just a great density of sward with vibrant green colour which looks fantastic in a stadium - the resilience and recovery is outstanding, particularly during intense periods of play and the bad weather we endure through the winter months.”

Besides the stadium, J Premier Pitch was also used on the replica stadium pitch at the club’s High Performance Centre – upgraded during the summer of 2022 and officially unveiled in April 2023. “We achieve fantastic consistency and know and trust the quality we’re going to get from every bag.” He adds, “This seed mix has been the foundation to elevating all of our surfaces to a standard that professional athletes love to perform on!”