Saracens consider tour next season which could include Watford, Charlton and Southend
Saracens are considering staging a mini tour for their home games next season before the club’s move to Copthall is completed in the middle of February.
The Men in Black expect to play five matches at their new home in Mill Hill and will also continue to play a couple of games at Wembley. With the London double header at Twickenham counting as a home game, there are eight other games where the club have to finalise a venue.
Sarries are looking to stage at least two games at Vicarage Road but are keen to take other matches on the road to untapped rugby areas such as Essex and Kent in an effort to increase their fan base.
The Men in Black are understood to be considering the possibility of holding matches at Southend United and Charlton Athletic.
The ambitious Premiership side are also hoping to stage a game in South Africa in the new year after their bid to stage a Heineken Cup game in Cape Town fell through last season.
Chief executive Edward Griffiths said: “We are continuing to talk with Watford but we don’t know what the position is until the fixtures come out. I have to say Watford have been very understanding about our predicament and very helpful.
“If you look at it, we are placed in a situation where we’re moving to a new stadium but it’s not ready until February. So we’ve got eight matches which we’ve got a question mark over at the moment.
“We’ve got five matches at the new stadium and two matches at Wembley in September and March.
“We’ve got the London Double Header which is a home match for us so we’ve got eight matches that are pretty much sorted out and clear.
“That leaves eight matches. Now if it was possible to reach an agreement, and that’s what we chose to do, we could play eight matches at Vicarage Road. That remains an option. But we’re also conscious that our crowds there have been around 5,500 to 7,500.
“When Wembley was being rebuilt the England football team went on a bit of a tour to other grounds and it was a massive success. What we are looking at doing is playing in areas where there has not yet been a Premiership rugby match.
“So for example Essex is one of our catchment areas and there are more rugby clubs in Essex than in any other county except for Yorkshire.
“There’s never been a Premiership rugby match in Essex so we’ve looked at Roots Hall which is the home of Southend United. The same goes with Kent and also with other areas closer to central London.
“There are a lot of hoops to go through but we are keen to play a game in Cape Town.
“It is possible that we might take some games and create events at one off venues. It is also possible we might have between one and eight games at Vicarage Road. I think what we’ll end up with is a fantastically exciting season.”
The Men in Black have held a series of fans forums where Griffiths consulted with supporters about their plans for next season.
He also gave an update on Copthall, outlining that Sarries expect to play their first competitive match at the north London venue in the middle of February.
A couple of test events at the redeveloped 10,000 capacity Mill Hill stadium are also being lined up this winter.