Rob Andrew was left exasperated when Newcastle's Parker Pen Challenge Cup first-leg tie against Saracens was yesterday postponed until this evening because of a frozen pitch.
The French referee, Joel Dume, had ruled out the match at Watford's Vicarage Road by 2.00pm, but European Rugby Cup officials and the Newcastle coach wanted the game played at High Wycombe straight after Wasps' Parker Pen tie against Stade Français.
However a lack of time to make the necessary arrangements meant there was no alternative but to postpone it 24 hours. "It's a disgrace," said Andrew, who was not told about the state of the pitch until 12.30pm. "Why could we not have been told at 8 o'clock this morning that this pitch was unplayable?"
Saracens had not found an alternative ground to play on because they have recently installed undersoil heating. But when groundstaff arrived at 8.00am they discovered that it had switched itself off at 2.30am, possibly because of a power surge.
For Newcastle it is an echo of what happened last year in the Heineken Cup when they twice had to rearrange their game against Leinster.
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