Napier City Council could face a fine after it was revealed rugby bosses were "not happy" about the state of McLean Park's playing surface ahead of last night's Super Rugby match.
The South African-based Sharks played the Hurricanes in Napier at 7.30pm.
Yesterday a spokesperson for rugby's governing body SANZAAR said the field was not up to the standard they would have expected for the game.
"We're not happy with the field to be honest. It was reported to us in the week that the field had a few issues," spokesperson Greg Thomas said.
"From a playing perspective there are no player welfare issues, we've had both teams and referee inspect the field, the game will go ahead. But from our appointments perspective we are disappointed in the state of the field that was delivered for the match."
However, the condition did not appear to affect the game with home-town hero Ihaia West kicking a conversion after a nailbiting 85th minute try to clinch a one-point win of 38-37 over the Sharks.
Thomas said a recent cricket game played on the grounds was believed to have created bare patches in the turf and could have led to some player welfare concerns.
"We were caught a bit unaware that the field had been affected by the cricket. But we worked very hard with the teams, the referee, and everybody at the venue to ensure the match would go ahead."
Thomas said he could not comment on reports of a potential fine for Napier City Council - as the venue owners.
"As far as we're concerned the most important thing at the moment is that we have a match, and the match is being played, and McLean Park will be hosting it. That's the first issue, we will then be looking at the whole matter.
"We do review all of these issues when they occur, we have weekly reviews and yearly reviews about the venues and pitches, so we'll be taking those into consideration but as to any further action, I can't possibly comment at this stage."
A Hurricanes spokesman said they had taken advice on the pitch, and both they and the Sharks were fine to play on it.
"The groundsmen and the council gave us their assurances that it would be fine," he said.
"As far as we're concerned the referees signed it off...and both teams were happy to play".
Yesterday Napier City Council chief executive Wayne Jack was confident the field would be presented in "top notch condition" for the game, and that any issues with the park would be resolved in its upcoming returf.
"There was Plunket shield cricket played on it last week, so it was prepared for cricket and the team have turned it around within a week. The main issue is that [the field's] safe to play on, which it is."
He said they were not expecting any fines, or further action to be taken against the council.
This is the latest in a spate of issues for Napier's premier sporting venue, starting after a one-day cricket international between New Zealand and Australia in February last year was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
When asked how another McLean Park issue looked for Napier's ability to host sporting events, Napier Mayor Bill Dalton pointed to their $4.9 million redevelopment of the park which begins next week.
"That's why the bulldozers are in there on Monday, to completely dig the park out and replace it, that's why because there are some problems with the park.
"We're dealing with that … it's in our long term plan. We're going to end up probably by the time we've finished with the best multi-sports park in New Zealand."
NZRPA CEO Rob Nichol said he would have been surprised to see how the ground could not be up to scratch, as the game had been scheduled for awhile.
"The main concern from a players perspective, and a teams perspective is welfare stuff, so I'm sure [SANZAAR] will be all over it, they've got a pretty long track record of managing these kind of fixtures.
"Hopefully it works out all right. The last thing Napier needs is another grounds controversy for a high-profile sporting event."
Hawke's Bay Rugby Union chief executive Jay Campbell said he was not aware of any current issues.
This was the last match at McLean Park before excavators move in to rebuild the oval with a new drainage system, a drop-in cricket block and a new hybrid turf.
The hybrid turf is being grown in Auckland, and is due to be harvested and transported to Napier in July. It is hoped the venue will reopen in time for the spring rugby season - as long as the weather plays ball.
Over summer drainage issues meant three scheduled international cricket matches were moved from McLean Park, and Central Districts scheduled most summer games away from the venue.