July 14, 2020 / 12:28 PM / a month ago

Irish to play remaining Premiership home games at Harlequins' Stoop

FILE PHOTO: Joggers run by a message seen on the Harlequins fixture board at the Twickenham Stoop following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

(Reuters) - London Irish will play their remaining five home matches at Twickenham Stoop, the home ground of neighbours Harlequins, when the English Premiership season resumes in August, the Premiership club said on Tuesday.

London Irish’s 20-year stay at the Madejski Stadium came to an end after their tenancy expired during the season’s suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The construction of their new ground, the Brentford Community Stadium, was also halted during the coronavirus lockdown, leaving the Irish temporarily without a venue for the season’s restart on Aug. 14.

“We are delighted to support our soon to be returning neighbours to be able to complete the 2019-20 Premiership season,” Harlequins chief Laurie Dalrymple said in a statement.

“The club is doing everything within its power to help get the sport back on its feet. With that in mind, Harlequins have come to an agreement that London Irish will play their remaining 5 home games in Twickenham, one of which comes against Harlequins.”

London Irish had previously shared The Stoop with Harlequins for one season back in 1999-00 before completing their move to the Madejski.

“Although we may be fierce competitors with Harlequins on the field, even rivals can support each other during extraordinary circumstances such as these,” London Irish chief Brian Facer said.

The Irish, who are eighth in the 12-team standings, will resume their campaign against Bath on Aug. 15, while their home game against Saracens will be played on Aug. 31 to avoid a clash with Harlequins’ clash against Northampton Saints a day earlier.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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