Fans coming to the Harlequins match on March 24 will be treated to more than just a top-of-the-table clash – with a curtain-raiser match at Allianz Park set to feature the likes of Thomas Castaignede, Paddy Johns, Paul Wallace, Jason Leonard and Kris Chesney to name but a few.
The John Buckton XV against the Saracens Scimitars has long been a regular fixture in the calendar but this year with the match being played at Allianz Park, former Saracens and England international Buckton will be leading a star-studded old boys side with kick off at 11am.
Joining the likes of Castaignede, Johns, Wallace, Leonard and Chesney in action will be former Sarries Gregg Botterman, Lee Adamson, Ben Sturnham, Andy Lee and Steve Ravenscroft with Alex Bennett and Richard Hill providing some coaching expertise from the sidelines.
This is the 10th anniversary of the annual fixture, and Buckton, a classy centre in his playing days for Saracens, provided an insight into the events history.
He explained: “This is actually the 10th anniversary of the ‘Re-union’ match. The idea for a ‘re-union’ event was originally hatched late one night in a bar, and the following day it still sounded like a good idea so the organisation began.”
He added: “The Club was also going through a transition from amateur to professional, and we very much wanted to celebrate some of the amateur players who had given long service to the club, and bring them back into the Saracens fold.”
Buckton emphasised the importance of maintaining the club’s links to their previous players and Bramley Road, but the former England International says he is looking forward to the fixture’s first appearance at Allianz Park.
He said: “The choice of the opposition was interesting, we could have opted for another club’s ‘vets’ team – but in the end we decided that it would be great to play against the Saracens Scimitars, a team who still play and represent the club at Bramley Road.
“The venue was going to be Bramley Road, the ground where the majority of players would have played their competitive rugby, but this year we have been granted permission to play our re-union game at the new ground – on the new state-of-the-art surface, and my invite this year was met with a flood of emails requesting to play and it should be a fantastic occasion.”
More details and the squads for both teams will be announced nearer the match.
Gates open at Allianz Park at 11am, just in time for kick-off, so get to Allianz Park early to enjoy what should be a fantastic and entertaining curtain-raiser to Saracens v Harlequins.