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Sat Apr 19 06:49:25 SAST 2014

Saracens' Cape Town dream gets scotched

Craig Ray | 12 October, 2012 06:110 Comments
London Welsh v Saracens - Aviva Premiership
Andy Saull of Saracens attempts to score a try during the Aviva Premiership match between London Welsh and Saracens at Kassam Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Oxford, England
Image by: Bryn Lennon / Getty Images

ENGLISH rugby club Saracens have had another attempt to stage a Heineken Cup match in Cape Town thwarted - the second time in less than a year.

Saracens proposed to pool 1 opponents Edinburgh that they stage their final group match on January 19 at the 55000-seat Cape Town stadium next year. But the Scottish club rejected the idea, leaving the South African-owned team frustrated again.

Earlier this year, Saracens were to host French club Biarritz in Cape Town but petty internal politics at the Western Province Rugby Union scuppered the idea.

This time around though, Saracens had received all the clearances from WP and looked as if they were about to fulfil their ambition of expanding the top European competition into a new market, only for Edinburgh to reject the idea.

"They've passed over the chance to stage a game that I think would have had a crowd of 50000 in Cape Town," Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths said.

"It would have been a one-off. It would have made rugby history and I think it would have been a huge event for everybody.

"From what I understand, there was no enthusiasm at Edinburgh for going at all. Which is sad, because last year Biarritz immediately saw the opportunity and were very enthusiastic. That fell through because of problems out there that have all been solved."

But Edinburgh managing director Craig Docherty said: "The case made by Saracens was not commercially compelling and, from a performance perspective, would have had a detrimental effect on our preparation for this match."

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