Six Nations: A international switched to Headingley

Thursday, March 01, 2001
Friday's A international between England and Scotland has been switched from Newcastle to Leeds.

Newcastle's pitch at Kingston Park is under a blanket of snow.

Headingley, home to Leeds rugby union and rugby league clubs, will now stage the match instead.

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have also expressed concern over Newcastle staging fixtures, while the current foot and mouth epidemic remains uncontrolled.

The ground is close to a number of farms where there have been confirmed cases.

MAFF's anxiety must put Falcons' Premiership home match against Harlequins next Tuesday night in grave doubt.

Headingley hosted the same fixture two years ago. It is 90 miles from Newcastle, so how many existing ticket holders will make the journey is debatable - although those who have bought tickets will be entitled to a full refund if they are unable to travel.

"We were contacted by the Rugby Football Union once it became apparent that Kingston Park was not going to be a viable venue," said Leeds Tykes media manager Phil Daly.

"We are glad to host another prestigious game for Headingley.

"This, plus the awarding of the Harlequins versus Newcastle European Shield semi-final on April 22, shows that Headingley is now considered as a dual code international venue."

England A are unbeaten after two matches of their Six Nations campaign, drawing with Wales in Wrexham and then beating Italy 44-3 at Bedford.

The Scots recovered from an away defeat against France by destroying Wales 42-20 in Edinburgh a fortnight ago.

After taking advice from MAFF, the RFU have confirmed that Saturday's England-Scotland Six Nations clash, plus representative under-21 and students fixtures will go ahead as planned.