Premiership investigate Old Trafford final

 

The Aviva Premiership Grand Final could be staged at Old Trafford in 2013 or 2014 as part of a concerted effort to engage rugby fans in the north of England.

There have also been talks about England playing a warm-up match against an invitational team of Premiership players in Bolton next May before they embark on a three-Test tour of South Africa.

The chances of that fixture happening appear to have receded over the last two months - but there is a strong desire within Premiership Rugby, the clubs' umbrella body, to take their showpiece final to the north.

Press Association Sport understands Premiership Rugby is yet to sign a new deal with the Rugby Football Union over the future use of Twickenham for the final.

Premiership Rugby would hope to have the support of the RFU over the venture given their urgent need to sell Rugby World Cup tickets at Old Trafford, St James' Park, Anfield and Elland Road in 2015.

The RFU have had to guarantee an £80million payment to the International Rugby Board and ticket sales will be their only revenue stream.

Tournament organisers need to shift an ambitious 2.8million tickets to hit their target, an average of over 58,000 per game.

The last four Premiership finals have attracted crowds in excess of 80,000 to Twickenham. Old Trafford would be the most likely northern venue.

The north of England used to be a rugby powerhouse. In 1979 The North, featuring players like Roger Uttley and Bill Beaumont, beat New Zealand 21-9 at Otley.

Sale and Newcastle are the only top-flight clubs in the north.

Both have won the Premiership title but neither has managed to build any sustained success.

Sale pair Mark Cueto and Andrew Sheridan were the only England World Cup players based in the north.

The community game is still strong but engaging those rugby fans is one of Premiership Rugby's key objectives. They have set up a specific working group for it.

One idea was for England to play an invitational Premiership team - perhaps resurrecting The North as a concept - at the Reebok Stadium on May 30.

There is a window for it. The 2012 Premiership final and England's traditional Barbarians fixture are at Twickenham the previous weekend and the first Test in South Africa is not until June 9.

It is understood the idea is not completely dead in the water but it now seems unlikely there will be enough time to organise it.

England played New Zealand at Old Trafford in 1997 and Argentina at the same stadium in 2009, in what was technically an away fixture.

They also played two World Cup qualifiers in Huddersfield in 1998 and the Premiership All-Stars at Anfield in preparation for the tournament in 1999.

PA

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week