Ospreys-Sharks ‘Swoop to the Stoop’ rugby show


URC will play at Twickenham Image: Coliseum GSVA

The 2023-2024 United Rugby Championship seasons is set to break new ground as the Ospreys – the rugby union team from Wales (UK) – are set to ‘Swoop to the Stoop’, and host the South African side the Sharks.

‘RUCK’ stated that the home of the professional rugby union club Harlequin F.C. – the Twickenham Stoop in Twickenham, England – will host this first-ever United Rugby Championship match in London, with the nation’s capital chosen for this milestone match.

The United Rugby Championship is an annual rugby union competition involving professional teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa, and Wales.

The Ospreys, formerly the Neath-Swansea Ospreys is one of the four professional rugby union teams from Wales. They compete in the United Rugby Championship and the European Rugby Champions Cup. Their home ground is the 21,088-capacity Swansea.com Stadium.

The European Rugby Champions Cup is an annual rugby union tournament organized by the European Professional Club Rugby. It is the top-tier competition for clubs who compete in a predominantly European league.

The Sharks is a South African professional rugby union team based in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. They compete internationally in the United Rugby Championship and the EPCR Challenge Cup, having competed in the Super Rugby competition until 2020.

The Twickenham Stoop Stadium is a sports stadium located in South-West London, England (UK). The stadium is home to the Harlequins F.C., who play in the Gallagher Premiership (the top division of the English rugby union system). The stadium has a capacity of 14,800 and is situated just across the road from the 82,000-capacity Twickenham Stadium.

‘RUCK’ further stated that the Ospreys are four-time winners of the competition, when the league was known as the Celtic League in 2005 and 2006 and as the Pro12 in 2010 and 2012. The Sharks, who have been renamed to the Hollywoodbets Sharks for sponsorship reasons, will collide with the Swansea side in Round Three of the 2023-2024 URC seasons.

The fixture at the Twickenham Stoop will take place on November 3rd, 2023 with a later kickoff time of 7:35pm (UK time/ 9:35 SA time). The Sharks were added to the league, amongst the quartet of South African sides who joined with the Pro14’s expansion to the United Rugby Championship.

Alongside the South Africa rugby union teams Stormers, Blue Bulls and the Golden Lions, the Sharks joined the fray for the expanded 2021-2022 seasons and finished as quarter-finalists in their opening campaign. The Durban side followed this up with another final-eight finish the following season, as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

Said Martin Anayi, United Rugby Championship head honcho, “We believe that rugby should embrace new ideas and innovative events and we’re very happy to support the Ospreys and the Hollywoodbets Sharks in bringing the BKT United Rugby Championship to one of the world’s biggest Cities where sport has such an iconic history. In addition to those who travel from Wales, we are fully aware of the large BKT URC fan bases living in London and we hope that the interest from Welsh and South African supporters in London can make this a really special event.”

Stated Anthony Cole-Johnson, Commercial Director for the Ospreys, “We’re absolutely thrilled that the Ospreys can play host to a showcase game in London, providing a unique spectacle for our fans and newcomers alike. For us, this is not just a fixture, it is an opportunity to provide our local fans with a fresh experience and engage with both Ospreys exiles and the wider rugby fan base in London. It’s been great to have worked in collaboration with the BKT URC and the Hollywoodbets Sharks to put together this ground-breaking game to grow the interest around Ospreys and the league. London, a City with a rich sporting heritage, has always been a popular destination for fans from across the globe. As one of the world’s leading rugby hubs, the City is no stranger to hosting showcase events.”

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