Euro Cup to be played in Cape Town?

Saracens are hoping to play their home European Cup tie against Biarittz in Cape Town in January.

After the success of the first Super Rugby game abroad between the Crusaders and Sharks in London this year, Saracens are now planning to hold the first European Cup fixture in the southern hemisphere, with Cape Town the designated city.

The venue choice is no surprise as Saracens have a host of Saffas in their squad, like centre Brad Barritt, No 8 Ernst Joubert and hooker Schalk Brits. They have also recently signed Springbok skipper John Smit for next season.

Saracens CEO Edward Griffiths has confirmed that the Watford-based club has contacted the European Cup organisers, the RFU and Saru about the matter. Although nothing is confirmed yet and negotiations are ongoing, it is said that all three boards are not against the initiative. French club Biarittz are also believed to be keen as a final decision to be made next month.

Griffiths added that although they need permission, their first obligation is to ensure their supporters will be happy and they hope to meet the requirements of tournament broadcasters, Sky Sports.

If the proposal is successful, the match will be played at Newlands or Cape Town Stadium (likely the latter) and be scheduled at 7pm CAT time (6pm UK time) to accommodate European viewers.

Saracens are optimistic that the plans should be give the green light considering Wasps were granted permission to play their LV Cup match against Harlequins in Abu Dhabi last season. A projected 30 000 crowd attendance in Cape Town will also be convincing as Saracens’ European Cup match against Clermont at Vicarage Road last season only attracted 6000 fans.