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Premiership expecting bumper crowds

Premier Rugby are anticipating a record-breaking Christmas weekend after Saracens moved their Boxing Day fixture against Wasps to Wembley Stadium.

With Harlequins tackling London Irish at Twickenham the following day, the two London Aviva Premiership games are expected to attract a combined total of around 120,000 fans.

That figure will be swollen further with Leicester tackling Sale at the 24,000-capacity Welford Road, while Bath host Exeter, Gloucester face Northampton and Leeds meet Newcastle.

The previous highest attendance for a Premiership weekend was on the same weekend last Christmas, when over 150,000 fans flooded through the turnstiles at six matches.

Harlequins attracted nearly 77,000 to Twickenham for their Big Game 2 against Wasps on December 27.

Saracens' Wembley experiment last season was a roaring success with all four of their matches - including a memorable victory over South Africa - attracting crowds in excess of 40,000.

The victory over Harlequins which all-but sealed Brendan Venter's team a place in the Premiership semi-finals drew a crowd of 47,106.

Saracens have also announced their first home Heineken Cup fixture of the season, against Leinster on October 16, will be staged at Wembley.

Chairman Nigel Wray said: "Saracens at Wembley has quickly become synonymous with a great family day out including great rugby and great entertainment for a great price at a great venue. We are delighted to take these two outstanding matches to Wembley, and we look forward to two more fantastic occasions."

Wasps are planning to stage another St George's Day game at Twickenham while Premier Rugby are working on a similar one-off event in the north later this season.


From Belfast Telegraph