England To Play Home Game Outside Twickenham For First Time In 20 Years
England will play their first home game outside Twickenham in over 20 years next summer when they play a warm-up game against Italy at St. James’ Park in Newcastle, according to a report in The Times.
It will be the first time that the RFU has decided to take a home game away from Twickenham since they played World Cup qualifiers against Italy and the Netherlands in Huddersfield in 1998.
The famous ground, home of Newcastle Football Club, hosted games at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, as well as a special fixture for Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership this season.
It’s also set to host next year’s Heineken Champions Cup final, and is quickly building an excellent reputation as a rugby ground.
The RFU had always been against moving a match away from Twickenham because it would be sacrificing key revenue, with internationals at England’s headquarters generating about £10 million. However, Steve Brown put the proposal on the table when he took over as chief executive last year.
“It’s a good thing,” Brown said.
“It’s always a commercial challenge, but I think the case has been made for us considering more games in the north.”
England played against Uruguay at the Etihad in 2015, though that was in the World Cup, while matches against Wales at Wembley in 1999 and Argentina at Old Trafford ten years later were technically away games.