A match as tense and exciting as the All Blacks' 28-23 win over the French XV this morning deserved a quality pitch capable of withstanding the testing demands required of international rugby fields.

One must have assumed that the outstanding stadium that is Parc Olympique Lyonnais - officially known as Groupama Stadium - met the prerequisites of hosting international rugby fixtures when this morning's clash was given to the 60,000-capacity stadium.

It would be an easy assumption to make considering how well put together this glittering one-year-old arena is.

However, while it looked like a great venue with high-class facilities, there was one burning issue about the stadium that presented itself early on in today's match.


That issue is that Groupama Stadium a football stadium.

A football stadium hosting a first-class rugby match is problematic for those involved due to the fact that the pitch of a ground primarily used for football cannot handle the long sprigs worn by forwards who constantly push and shunt against one another in rugby specific actions such as scrums, rucks and mauls.

Those who were not aware of problems of hosting an elite rugby match at a football arena quickly had those issues brought to their attention as both teams warmed up prior to kick-off, with the turf cut apart as the forwards went through their drills.

An early scrum deep inside the All Blacks' 22 early in the first half chewed up a sizeable chunk of earth, and from there, the turf went from bad to worse.

A notable penalty came in the second half when the scrum collapsed entirely as a result of All Blacks prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen losing his footing purely because the pitch could not cope with the pressure of the two forward packs.

Fortunately for both the All Blacks and France, neither side will have to play the remainder of their end-of-year tests at any more football-specific grounds.

The New Zealanders are set to face Scotland and Wales at the familiar venues of Murrayfield and Millennium Stadium, while Les Bleus will host South Africa and Japan at the Stade de France and the brand new U Arena in Paris.

Ligue 1 football side Olympique Lyon will be most concerned about the state of the field out of all parties involved.

The stadium is their home venue, and their next scheduled home fixture is in five days' time when they play Montpellier, and as it stands, their pitch is in woeful condition to play football on.

It seems as though the Groupama Stadium groundsman will be made to work for this week's salary to fix the pitch between now and Monday (NZT).