West Ham United: No game for Hammers, but London Stadium still in use this weekend
PUBLISHED: 18:00 23 March 2018
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West Ham’s home to see Saracens entertain Harlequins in Rugby Union’s Aviva Premiership on Saturday
West Ham United may be without a game this weekend, but their London Stadium home will still be in use on Saturday —though it will host a different sport.
Rugby Union will return to Stratford for the first time since the 2015 World Cup when Saracens entertain London rivals Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership.
It will mark the first time a competitive club rugby match has taken place at the east London venue, having only hosted international matches in the past.
The first ever rugby match to take place at the London Stadium came before the World Cup, when Samoa lost 27-24 representative side Barbarians.
During the World Cup itself, the venue saw four group games, as well as the bronze medal match.
France beat Romania 38-11; New Zealand defeated Namibia 58-14; Ireland edged out Italy 16-9; and South Africa crushed United States 64-0.
South Africa were back at the stadium at the end of the competition to duke it out with Argentina for third place, with the former prevailing 24-13 in front of a crowd of 55,925.
During the World Cup in 2015, the games at the London Stadium saw almost 50 points a match on average.
Fans of Saracens and Harlequins will hope that is the case again this weekend as the London rivals look for an exciting derby.
For Sarries, who usually play their home matches at the 10,000-capacity Allianz Park in Hendon, taking a game to the London Stadium is something new, but not entirely a step into the unknown.
The north London outfit have regularly taken matches to Wembley Stadium in recent seasons, and have often packed the 90,000-capacity venue out.
However, with the national stadium hosting the England football team this week, Saracens have had to take their annual trip elsewhere.
The London Stadium is the lucky venue to host Mark McCall’s men, and flanker Jackson Wray has more reason than most to be excited about the game with Quins.
“It’s no secret I’m a Hammers fan and I’m buzzing to play at their home,” Wray told the club website.
West Ham fan Wray will hope he has a win to celebrate on his day at the London Stadium.