Franklin’s Gardens to host LV= Cup final

PLAYING HOST - this season's LV= Cup final will be played at Franklin's Gardens
PLAYING HOST - this season's LV= Cup final will be played at Franklin's Gardens

Saints have been handed an extra incentive to reach this season’s LV= Cup final after it was announced the game will be played at Franklin’s Gardens.

The Gardens last hosted the domestic showpiece back in 2011, when Gloucester thrashed Newcastle Falcons 34-7.

And it will return to Northampton next year, with the final taking place on Sunday, March 22.

It will be the last LV= Cup game for 18 months as the tournament will not be played next season due to the Rugby World Cup, which will reduce the number of weekends available for Premiership rugby.

Saints reached last season’s LV= Cup showpiece, but were undone by an Exeter Chiefs side who enjoyed home advantage at their Sandy Park ground.

Jim Mallinder’s men renew their quest for the crown this weekend, when Newcastle head to the Gardens.

And the Saints director of rugby said: “With a busy season ahead, the LV= Cup is the perfect opportunity for the younger players, players returning from injury and players that want to prove they deserve a place in the first team, a chance to gain some invaluable experience on the pitch.

“Many of the top players currently playing in the league started off by playing in the LV= Cup which is a testament to its value as a competition.

“Franklin’s Gardens is the ideal location for the final - the pitch is looking great, the facilities are second to none, and the fans will no doubt provide a cracking atmosphere on the day.”

And Saints captain Dylan Hartley, who is currently away on international duty with England, added: “The LV= Cup is an important competition to us and all teams involved.

“It gives up-and-coming players the chance to really prove themselves on the pitch, and should they perform well enough, can put the coaches under pressure to include them in first-team squads.

“It’s an exciting competition for the fans to be involved in, as they will no doubt get to see some stars of the future playing some great rugby.

“The LV= Cup is just as much about the fans as it is about the players - it gives the rugby community a real chance to get together and enjoy some great rugby”