Twickenham Stoop to host landmark United Rugby Championship game

Twickenham Stoop in London, England

Featured image credit: Harlequins

The United Rugby Championship (URC) has announced it will stage its first game in London, with Welsh team the Ospreys taking on South Africa’s Sharks at Twickenham Stoop later this year.

The home of English Premiership club Harlequins will host the Round 3 encounter on November 3. The initiative has been led by Ospreys, which plays its home games at Stadium, with the support of Durban-based Sharks, the URC and key stakeholders.

The URC, which comprises clubs from Wales, South Africa, Ireland, Italy and Scotland, said its biggest fanbase outside of its core markets resides in London. The URC in May pointed to improved fan engagement campaigns as a means to help it to break attendance records for the 2022-23 season.

Average attendances grew to just shy of 10,000 (9,893) per match for the regular season, which was the highest average the league has ever recorded. All 16 teams in the URC experienced an increase in average attendance from the 2021-22 season with overall match attendance up 36%.

United Rugby Championship CEO, Martin Anayi, said today (Friday): “We believe rugby should embrace new ideas and innovative events and we’re very happy to support Ospreys and Hollywoodbets Sharks in bringing the BKT United Rugby Championship to one of the world’s biggest cities where sport has such an iconic history.

“In addition to those who travel from Wales, we are fully aware of the large BKT URC fanbases living in London and we hope that the interest from Welsh and South African supporters in London can make this a really special event.”

Commercial director for the Ospreys, Anthony Cole-Johnson, added: ”We’re absolutely thrilled that Ospreys can play host to a showcase game in London, providing a unique spectacle for our fans and newcomers alike. For us, this is not just a fixture; it is an opportunity to provide our local fans with a fresh experience and engage with both Ospreys exiles and the wider rugby fanbase in London.

“It’s been great to have worked in collaboration with the BKT URC and the Hollywoodbets Sharks to put together this ground-breaking game to grow the interest around Ospreys and the league.

“London, a city with a rich sporting heritage, has always been a popular destination for fans from across the globe. As one of the world’s leading rugby hubs, the city is no stranger to hosting showcase events.”