Glasgow Warriors Euro tie switched to Rugby Park

Scotland played Tonga on Rugby Park's artificial pitch in 2014. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Scotland played Tonga on Rugby Park's artificial pitch in 2014. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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Glasgow Warriors have moved their European Champions Cup match against Racing 92 to Rugby Park in Kilmarnock.

With Scotstoun likely to be unplayable next weekend, the Pro12 champions have decided to play on the football club’s artificial surface

The Pool 3 clash with the French side will be played on Saturday 23 January at 5.30pm and will be shown live on Sky Sports.

The 18,128 all-seater Rugby Park has a World Rugby compliant 3G pitch and hosted the first ever Tier 1 rugby international on an artificial surface in November 2014 when Scotland beat Tonga 37-12.

Around 6,650 tickets have already been sold for the clash with the Top 14 leaders and an additional 7,500 match tickets will become available from glasgowwarriors.org on Thursday.

Glasgow Warriors managing director Nathan Bombrys said: “We’re disappointed to have to move another game away from our home at Scotstoun, but are pleased to have such a quality venue as Kilmarnock Football Club’s Rugby Park available to host this important European fixture.

“The unprecedented rainfall has flooded the Scotstoun pitch over the past few weeks, despite the best efforts of the club and Glasgow Life [who own Scotstoun].

“Whilst we would prefer to be able to keep the match at Scotstoun, it is clear from the conditions that it is highly unlikely our pitch will be playable next weekend.

“We’ve taken the decision this week to give our supporters as much notice as possible to make their arrangements to support the team, as well as to provide both teams with certainty for their preparations for the match.

“The 3G pitch at Rugby Park will give our players the best possible surface and the increased capacity will enable more supporters to attend and get behind the team as the match was heading for a sell-out at Scotstoun.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Kilmarnock Football Club for being so accommodating and we look forward to staging a Glasgow Warriors European home match in Ayrshire for the first time.”

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “Naturally we’re disappointed we can’t play this match at Scotstoun, but we’re glad a decision has been made early in order to safeguard the game and help our supporters make appropriate plans.”

Kilmarnock FC director Michael Johnston added: “Kilmarnock Football Club is delighted to welcome Glasgow Warriors to Rugby Park for their crucial European Rugby Champions Cup match against Racing 92.

“Having hosted Scotland v Tonga in the world’s first full international rugby union match played on a synthetic pitch in November 2014, everyone at the club is looking forward to this prestigious event.

“Founded in 1869, Kilmarnock Football Club evolved from a sports club which featured rugby, so it’s fitting that rugby is coming home to Rugby Park.”

Glasgow lost 34-10 to the French side in Paris on Saturday and face Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens this weekend needing a win to keep their European Cup hopes alive.

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