Ireland to stage rugby finals

Dublin is to get a major economic boost following a decision by European rugby chiefs to stage both their major cup finals in the capital on the same weekend in 2013.

As Leinster and Ulster prepare to contest the Heineken Cup’s first all-Irish final at Twickenham in London this Saturday, tournament organiser European Rugby Cup announced yesterday that in addition to the showpiece final being staged at the Aviva Stadium on May 18, 2013, the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup final would be played at the RDS the previous night.

The decision will mark the third year in succession that one city has hosted both ERC finals, with French sides Biarritz and Toulon set to contest the Amlin finale this Friday at Twickenham Stoop.

Speaking at the RDS yesterday, ERC chief executive Derek McGrath cited the 2011 double header in Cardiff, when Leinster beat Northampton Saints in the Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium the day after Harlequins defeated Amlin rivals Stade Français at Cardiff City Stadium, as an example of the economic benefits of staging both finals in the same city.

“Fans who travel to these finals tend to stay at least two nights in the host city and they generally take the opportunity to take in all the city has to offer,” said McGrath.

“In this year’s [Heineken Cup] semi-finals we saw 30,000 fans travel to Bordeaux and 40,000 fans came to Dublin to see Ulster beat Edinburgh and we know the economic impact of hosting both finals in Cardiff was measured at almost €30m.

“We’re going to work in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Dublin City Council, the IRFU, RDS and Aviva Stadiums to encourage fans to travel to Dublin and make the most of their stay when they arrive.”


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