PRO12 chief rules out Aviva Stadium final
May 11, 2012
Leinster will play for the PRO12 title at their regular RDS home should they overcome Glasgow in their semi-final clash on Saturday night © PA Photos
RaboDirect PRO12 organisers have ruled out the prospect of this season's final being staged at the Aviva Stadium should Leinster beat Glasgow in their semi-final clash on Saturday night.
Ahead of the first semi-final between the Ospreys and Munster at the Liberty Stadium tonight, PRO12 chief executive John Feehan has confirmed that the top ranked team from the regular campaign will enjoy home advantage for the season finale that is scheduled for the weekend of May 26/27.
Leinster topped the table at the end of the regular season followed by Ospreys, Munster and then Glasgow and as a result the three possible venues for the RaboDirect the title-decider are the RDS, home of Leinster, the Liberty Stadium, home of the Ospreys, and Thomond Park, home of the reigning champions Munster.
One of the three venues will be ruled out after the first semi-final in Swansea tonight, when the Ospreys host Munster. However, if Leinster beat Glasgow Warriors at the RDS on Saturday night then they will host the final due to their superior ranking. However, a crowd-pleasing switch from the 18,200 capacity RDS to the 51,700 seater Aviva Stadium in the same city has been ruled out due to logistical issues.
"Due to the Republic of Ireland international football match against Bosnia at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, May 26, PRO12 decided, after discussions with both Leinster and our TV partners, to avoid any potential clash and switch a Dublin final to Sunday, May 27," explained Feehan.
"It was also felt by all parties that due to the tight turn-around between the semi-finals and final, it would be better to confirm the RDS as Leinster's home venue, rather than consider a possible switch to the Aviva Stadium, to help with the ticketing, policing, travel and administration of the final."
However, Feehan remains convinced the competition is set for a dramatic finale. "Ever since we introduced the play-off system at the start of the 2009-10 season we have wanted to reward the team finishing in the top two positions in the regular season. This means they get home advantage in the semi-finals and then, possibly, in the final."
"We have enjoyed full houses at both previous finals - 19,500 for Leinster v Ospreys in 2010 and 26,100 for Munster v Leinster in 2011 - and look forward to another world class, capacity occasion at the end of this month. Each team will be able to ask for up to 50% of the tickets for the final."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall
John Griffiths digs into the distant past to try to establish the identity of an England international whose life is a virtual mystery