Saints issue statement on Wasps’ switch to Coventry

Wasps will stage their first game at their new home in Coventry against Castres or London Irish in December
Wasps will stage their first game at their new home in Coventry against Castres or London Irish in December
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Saints have moved to allay fears about the effect Wasps’ switch to Coventry will have on the Franklin’s Gardens club.

Wasps have acquired a 50 per cent interest in the Ricoh Arena and will move to the stadium from their current base at Adams Park in High Wycombe in December.

It means the midlands area will be saturated with clubs, with Saints, Leicester and Worcester among those competing for support.

However, Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder has made it clear he does not feel the move will see fans of his side switching allegiance to Dai Young’s men.

And the club statement said: “The management of Northampton Saints has noted with interest the announcement of Wasps’ move to Coventry.

“We are also aware of speculation as to the impact that this move will have on the Saints, but do not believe that it will unduly affect the successful model that has underpinned our growth over the past decade and more.

“Franklin’s Gardens is renowned throughout the Aviva Premiership as being a unique and atmospheric stadium. This was reflected in the recent vote on Rugby Tonight which named the home of the Saints as supporters’ favourite away ground in the league.

“We do already attract a number of loyal and committed supporters from the Coventry area, and believe that they will continue to be supporters in the future and not change their allegiance.

“However we also have supporters travelling to Northampton from across the East Midlands, Eastern Counties and beyond, and are looking forward to filling an expanded Franklin’s Gardens repeatedly in the future.”