Wasps to play Harlequins in Abu Dhabi

Wasps and Harlequins have confirmed they will break new ground by staging their forthcoming LV= Cup fixture in Abu Dhabi.

The London rivals will be the first English clubs to stage a competitive match outside of the country.



The match, nominally a home fixture for Wasps, will be played under floodlights in a specially constructed 5,000 capacity stadium at the Emirates Palace hotel.



Wasps board director Lawrence Dallaglio said: "To be the first club to take a competitive game of rugby overseas really reflects Wasps desire to be innovative and try new things.



"We want to ensure that Wasps has a long term future and it is steps like this that strengthen the club and develop a global brand.



"We know that there will be some disappointment for those fans that cannot travel, but we know our supporters want long term success and stability and one-off opportunities like these can only help build our profile, appeal and reach."



The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and Wasps are hoping to appease season-ticket holders who now cannot attend the game by staging an open day with players later in the year.



Wasps owener Steve Hayes and Dallaglio came up with the idea after visiting the region last year as part of their research into stadium development.



Wasps and Harlequins have both already enjoyed success in engaging new supporters by attracting big crowds to club matches at Twickenham.



Harlequins' Big Game 3 against London Irish on December 27 drew a crowd of 74,212 and both clubs are keen to build on that with this landmark initiative



A club statement added: "Eager to push the boundaries, Wasps, in partnership with Harlequins and the LV= Cup tournament, take the first steps to promote rugby to a new overseas market by playing a competitive game abroad."



Rugby is not the first sport to embrace the concept of engaging new markets by staging fixtures abroad.



The NFL have staged regular-season games at Wembley Stadium for the last three years and the NBA are to follow suite, with games arranged for London in March.



But there was a negative reaction when the Barclays Premier League proposed plans to play an additional round of league fixtures in different cities around the world.



Both sides will be without their current England stars with the Six Nations beginning the following weekend.



Harlequins won their first two LV= Cup fixtures, against Leicester and Newcastle, and currently top Pool Four of the Anglo-Welsh competition.



Wasps opened their campaign with a defeat to Exeter but bounced back with an 18-16 victory over Bath.



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project