Following a pitch inspection this afternoon by referee Chris White, Premier Rugby and Worcester Warriors have agreed to postpone their Guinness Premiership round 13 match against London Irish.
Despite the pitch having been covered since the conclusion of Warriors' Boxing Day match against Northampton Saints, the wind has picked up and got underneath the covers, causing areas of the pitch to freeze. There were specific concerns about the dead ball areas.
Phil Winstanley, Rugby Director at Premier Rugby added, "We are incredibly disappointed to have to postpone this match as everyone at Worcester Warriors has done their very best to try and get the match played.
"Ultimately, the wind chill has frozen areas at the very extremities of the ground covers and made those areas unsafe for players.
"Player welfare has to be our prime concern and with no improvement in the forecast and therefore the conditions, we were left with no option but to postpone the match.
"I would like to thank everyone at the club for their Herculean effort. They have invested a huge amount of time and resource and I can't see how they could have done any more, but these exceptional circumstances, the worst for well over a decade, have beaten us this time.
"We're obviously very disappointed for all concerned that the game will now not take place," said Charlie Little, General Manager at Warriors.
"A huge amount of time and effort has gone in to trying to get this game ready. At the end of the day we have fallen just short of what would have been a fantastic achievement.
"Chris White, the match day referee, was full of praise for the obvious efforts that had gone in and was genuinely disappointed to have to call the game off. However, in the end as a duty of care to the players and recent weather conditions, especially the wind, have meant that we were not making progress quickly enough ahead of tomorrow's game.
"There would have also been a concern as to what could have happened between removing the covers at 1pm and the game kicking off. With a minus five wind chill forecast for tomorrow there was every chance that the pitch would begin to freeze before the match actually started.
"Finally, it is disappointing as earlier in the week we had successfully put our case to the Safety Advisory Group with regards to the surrounding area. We have a supportive local council and emergency services team and we worked together with them to ensure supporter safety was guaranteed."
Supporters who have purchased tickets for the Guinness Premiership game are advised that they will remain valid for the rearranged date that will be announced in due course. For further information please contact the Warriors Box Office on 01905 454183.
Worcester Warriors' long-term vision to become an established Aviva Premiership Club has been given a significant boost after concluding an agreement with Worcester Rugby, the group that runs amateur club Worcester Wanderers Rugby Club, over the usage of the whole of the Sixways Stadium site.