EDF Cup sent to Coventry

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The Independent Online

The Ricoh Arena in Coventry will stage this season's EDF Energy Cup semi-finals.

The March 28 double-header has been moved from its traditional home at the Millennium Stadium because the Wales football team have a World Cup qualifier against Finland on the same day.

The 32,000-capacity stadium has a growing rugby tradition, having already hosted two Heineken Cup semi-finals and a pool match since it opened three years ago.

Tournament director Terry Burwell said: "We are delighted to be able to take the semi-finals to a new venue. The Ricoh has a good track record in hosting top class rugby, having successfully held three Heineken Cup matches.

"Once we knew that we were unable to use the Millennium Stadium this season because of the clash, we searched thoroughly for the most suitable venue and we very much feel that we have found it."

The Ricoh Arena will also provide a better fit for the semi-final double-header, with a capacity crowd and better atmosphere now almost certain.

Last season's semi-finals - Leicester v Wasps and Ospreys v Saracens - attracted a 41,000 crowd which was just over half the Millennium Stadium's capacity.

Premier Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty added: "Several of our clubs - Northampton Saints, London Wasps and Saracens - have played there before and were very impressed.

"Taking a new competition there will once again provide an opportunity for people to see top class rugby union in a different area of the country."

The final of the EDF Energy Cup takes place at Twickenham on Saturday April 18, 2009.