Saints forced to move Qtr-final to Milton Keynes

Northampton Saints have confirmed that their Heineken Cup quarter final against Ulster will be played at stadium:mk in Milton Keynes during the weekend of April 8th/9th/10th 2011.

Heineken Cup regulations stipulate that a quarter final has to be played in a stadium with a minimum capacity of 15,000 and the Saints home ground Franklin’s Gardens has a capacity of 13,591.

Northampton applied to the organisers to hold the match at their home venue but the ERC insisted that their regulations be adhered to and that the match be moved to the Saints’ nominated alternative venue of stadium:mk, which can hold 21,500 people.

Saints’ chief executive Allan Robson today said that while it was disappointing that the game had to be moved away from Franklin’s Gardens, stadium:mk is the next best option.

“We sought approval from ERC to hold the match at Franklin’s Gardens, which is our home and where we belong,” Robson said on the Saints site.

“However ERC’s regulations were introduced to develop the status of the Heineken Cup, which is why they insisted that the game be moved to a stadium with a larger capacity.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder also called on the Saints supporters to turn stadium:mk into a home from home for the day.

“We obviously wanted to play the game at Franklin’s Gardens, which is our home and where we have played well over the past few years,” Mallinder said.

“But we also know that our team can win anywhere and that we can win in Milton Keynes. The support of the fans will be crucial to this. “

“They have been superb so far this season and we will need them to turn stadium:mk into a home from home for the day by packing the stands and getting behind the team.”

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