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Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Twickenham to host Crusaders' Super 15 game in London

Crusaders fly-half Dan Carter
Crusaders are set to host Brumbies at Trafalgar Park in Nelson this weekend

New Zealand side Crusaders will play their Super 15 match against the Sharks at Twickenham on Sunday 27 March.

The Christchurch-based Crusaders asked the Rugby Football Union about playing in London because their stadium was damaged in February's earthquake.

The RFU had ruled out the possibility because of a clash with a game between Harlequins and Gloucester.

However, the match will now form the centrepiece of a Red Cross fundraising weekend for the earthquake appeal.

Tickets go on sale on Tuesday afternoon, with £5 from each ticket sold going to charity.

An RFU spokesperson said: "It's fantastic news that we were able to find a date that would enable us to host the game.

"Having some of the southern hemisphere's best players on display at Twickenham will be a treat for all English-based fans of the Super 15.

"It is great to see the rugby family pull together for such a worthy cause and we would like to thank all our stakeholders for their flexibility and support in making this happen.

"We now have less than two weeks to get tickets sold so we would urge supporters to get online and buy soon."

All Black stars Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams, who made his Test debut at Twickenham against England in November, are set to feature for the Crusaders.

The Sharks, from South Africa, boast several internationals including Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira and Ryan Kankowski.

The Crusaders were forced to explore the possibility of switching their match after the AMI Stadium in Christchurch was damaged during the earthquake on 22 February.

The venue, which will remain closed while the damage is assessed, is due to host seven matches in the Rugby World Cup - the first of which is England's Pool B match against Argentina on 10 September.

The Crusaders moved to Trafalgar Park in Nelson for last weekend's 33-18 win over the Waratahs, but the 10,500 capacity limits ticket revenue.

The match at Twickenham will be the first time Super 15 Rugby has been staged away from the participant nations, Bledisloe Cup Tests between Australia and New Zealand have been contested in Japan and Hong Kong in recent years.

In January, Wasps moved their LV= Cup match against Harlequins to Abu Dhabi in the first United Kingdom domestic fixture to be played abroad.

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see also
Earthquake drama for NZ's Nelsen
24 Feb 11 |  Football
Rugby World Cup fixtures and results
26 Sep 11 |  Rugby Union

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