Saints to host Saracens in Milton Keynes
July 4, 2014
Northampton's George Pisi goes over for the Saints' second try in last season's Premiership final © Getty Images
Northampton Saints have moved next season's 'home' fixture against Saracens to Milton Keynes in order to help the city prepare for the 2015 World Cup.
Stadiummk, home of Milton Keynes Dons Football Club, will host a repeat of the 2014 Premiership final next season when the Saints take on Saracens on Saturday, April 25 2015.
The match will serve as a warm-up for next year's World Cup, with the 30,500-capacity venue due to host three pool matches at the tournament.
Northampton and Saracens have already met at stadiummk in December 2012, a match Saracens narrowly won 17-16 when Stephen Myler's last-gasp 50-metre penalty hit the crossbar.
Nearly 19,000 supporters headed Milton Keynes that day and, with the venue now expanded to 30,500, a new record attendance for a Northampton home game is expected, beating the current 22,220 mark set when the Saints hosted Munster in the 2011-12 Heineken Cup.
Northampton chief executive Allan Robson said the club were persuaded to move the fixture to Milton Keynes after being asked to do so by World Cup organisers.
"When England Rugby 2015 approached us to help them prepare for the tournament by hosting a game in Milton Keynes we thought long and hard before agreeing to the proposition as we know how important it is to our supporters to play in Northampton," Robson said.
"After weighing up the pros and cons of playing in Milton Keynes, the board of directors made a unanimous decision to move because we believe that it is in the longer-term interests of all parties.
"We needed a game that was both high profile enough to fill the stadium but that would also give us the best possible chance to retain home advantage.
"A game against Saracens fits this bill perfectly. We have had some thrilling encounters with them over the past few years, no more so than in the Aviva Premiership final, and it going to be a game which is sure to excite all rugby supporters in the area.
"We all want the three Rugby World Cup 2015 games in Milton Keynes to be a success and so we will be working closely with stadiummk's management and England Rugby 2015 to help their preparations by making sure that the event runs as smoothly as possible and provides a fantastic showcase for the sport."
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