FOREST GREEN manager Mark Cooper bemoaned the decision to play rugby on Newport County’s Rodney Parade pitch the day before his side’s washed out match.

Tsunami-like weather conditions had engulfed the playing surface, which 24 hours earlier had seen Newport Gwent Dragons in rugby action.

A pitch inspection was carried out at 1.15pm, with Cooper and County boss Michael Flynn in attendance.

However, with the persistent rain at the time and no sign of it stopping according to the match officials, the decision was taken to call the game off before a ball had been kicked, much to the disappointment of Cooper.

“This is not Newport’s fault, but how do the Football League or FA allow a game of rugby on a Friday night before a Football League match?" said Cooper.

“Common sense is needed, arrange fixtures at the start of the season so the rugby team are at home and the football team are away, and you might have chance of getting a game on.

“The referee told me the pitch was playable at 1.15pm and the groundsman said the rain was going to stop at two o’clock and the pitch drains really quickly.

"The referee has made a decision purely on the forecast.

“The referee told the guys the pitch was playable before kick-off, but there was an hour-and-a-half to go until kick-off and it was supposed to stop raining but you’ll have to ask the referee why he’s called it off.”

Newport were fresh off a Wednesday night trip to Wembley in the FA Cup, where they lost to Tottenham Hotspur 2-0, but Cooper said that wouldn’t have come into the decision process and says he must now turn his attention to Tuesday night’s game at home to Stevenage.

“Listen, it’s their home game and they’re entitled to do what they want but the referee’s in charge and the referee, I can’t overemphasise it, the referee’s told me the game was playable,” he added.

“We can’t do anything about it, we’ve got a game Tuesday and we could look at it and say we’ll be fresh on Tuesday when Stevenage have played Luton but I’m not into all of that because we wanted to play.

With Rovers’ Chippenham training ground flooded, Cooper was due to call his players in for Sunday training.

He added: “The difficulty now is what we do with the players between now and Tuesday, our training pitch is underwater so we’re going to have to get the players in tomorrow (Sunday) to train somewhere.”

Meanwhile, Cooper poured cold water on his links to the vacant Barnsley manager role

He added: “I think that probably comes from the fact I was offered that job a couple of years ago now when I was at Swindon. That was then, I’ve got a job to do with Forest Green and I’m enjoying it.”

County manager Michael Flynn added: “I’m frustrated not to play but I think the referee made the right decision for the right reasons – for the safety of the players.

“For that reason I think that it was the right call.

“I don’t think the rugby game on it last night helped at all.

“And I didn’t want to start the game and then have it called off at half-time.

"[Forest Green manager] Mark [Cooper] wanted it on and I wanted it on if it was going to finish but I respect the referee’s decision."