Cardiff opt not to play Munster at Millennium

CARDIFF BLUES are to deny Munster fans the potential for a big Heineken Cup show of strength at the Millennium Stadium.

The Welsh club has decided not to move the Pool 4 clash with Munster to the Millennium Stadium to prevent Munster fans giving their team a huge boost in what could be a tricky away tie.

Had they done so, it would have allowed Munster access to thousands of tickets instead of the much more limited number they will get for the game at the Arms Park, a ground that holds just 13,500 people.

Cardiff have apparently decided to play just one game in the international stadium in the pool stages — against Leicester.

The news from across the Irish Sea suggests Cardiff seriously considered moving the Munster game to the 70,000-seater Millennium Stadium and making a financial killing.

But they were also aware that Munster supporters, renowned for their willingness to travel, might well have turned the game into a “home” tie, as they did in the Heineken Cup final against Biarritz last season.

Now, Cardiff have apparently decided to bank on a bumper “gate” at the Millennium Stadium against Leicester on October 29, without the annoying possibility that the home supporters will be outnumbered.

Cardiff will be happy that a game against a prestigious English club, with all the rivalry attached, should still be good enough to attract a big crowd to the much bigger venue, and thus make it a worthwhile financial venture.

But the Blues also know Leicester fans will not travel in nearly the same numbers as Munster, thus giving them the benefit of a much bigger section of the support.

Meanwhile, Leicester, who take on Munster in a friendly at Musgrave Park tomorrow night (7pm) have named a strong side for the tie, and have given former Munster player Paul Burke an opportunity to return on home base just weeks after his departure.

Burke is named at half back alongside Harry Ellis in a side that will be captained by Daryl Gibson, the former All Black, from the centre position.

Geordan Murphy lines out at right wing and former Leinster players Shane Jennings and Leo Cullen have been named in a pack that includes high profile English prop Julian White.

Club captain Martin Corry and Lewis Moody have been rested by coach Pat Howard who admitted: “The important thing about this match is to get some of our players used to unfamiliar territory and a different atmosphere.”

Italy international prop Marco Castrogiovanni arrived in the summer from Calvisano, Paul Burke came from Munster, Henry Tuilagi is getting back to full fitness after missing most of last season with a broken leg, while Jordan Crane is an England U21 back row signed this summer from Leeds Tykes.

Munster will finalise their squad of 22 today from a list of 26 players named yesterday by the coach Declan Kidney.

Mark McCall has named his Ulster side to play the Earth Titans tomorrow at Ravenhill (7.30).

B. Cunningham, M. Bartholomeusz, P. Wallace, P. Steinmetz, A. Maxwell, D. Humphreys, K. Campbell, J. Fitzpatrick, P. Shields, T. Court, J. Harrison, T. Barker, K. Dawson, S. Ferris, N. McMillan.

Leicester: S. Vesty, G. Murphy, D. Hitkiss, D. Gibson (captain), T. Varndell, P. Burke, H. Ellis, M. Castrogiovanni, G. Chuter, J. White, L. Cullen, L. Deacon, G. Crane,. H. Tuilagi, S. Jennings.

Leinster squad v London Irish at Donnybrook on Friday (KO: 7.30pm)

Forwards: W. Green, R. McCormack, R. Corrigan, F. Pala’amo, R. Sweeney, J. Wickham, H. Vermaas, B. Blaney, B. Jackman, A. Byrnes, T. Hogan, D. Toner, R. Leyden, O. Finnegan, N. Ronan, S. Keogh, D. Dillon, J. Heaslip, C. Potts

Backs: C. Whitaker, G. Easterby, F. Contepomi, C. Warner, M. Berne, A. Dunne, J. Sexton, S. Grissing, L. Fitzgerald, K. Lewis, G. Brown, R. Kearney, R. McCarron

More in this section

CourtsRugbyPlace: Millennium StadiumPlace: Arms ParkPlace: Irish SeaPlace: Musgrave ParkPlace: CalvisanoPlace: RavenhillPerson: Paul BurkePerson: BurkePerson: Harry EllisPerson: Daryl GibsonPerson: Geordan MurphyPerson: Shane JenningsPerson: Leo CullenPerson: Julian WhitePerson: Martin CorryPerson: Lewis MoodyPerson: Pat HowardPerson: Marco CastrogiovanniPerson: Henry TuilagiPerson: Jordan CranePerson: Declan KidneyPerson: Mark McCallPerson: B. CunninghamPerson: M. BartholomeuszPerson: P.Person: P. SteinmetzPerson: A. MaxwellPerson: D. HumphreysPerson: K. CampbellPerson: J. FitzpatrickPerson: P. ShieldsPerson: T. CourtPerson: J. HarrisonPerson: T. BarkerPerson: K. DawsonPerson: S. FerrisPerson: N. McMillanPerson: S. VestyPerson: G. MurphyPerson: D. HitkissPerson: D. GibsonPerson: T. VarndellPerson: P. BurkePerson: H. EllisPerson: M. CastrogiovanniPerson: G. ChuterPerson: J. WhitePerson: L. CullenPerson: L. DeaconPerson: G. CranePerson: H. TuilagiPerson: S. JenningsPerson: W. GreenPerson: R. McCormackPerson: R. CorriganPerson: F. Pala’amoPerson: R. SweeneyPerson: J. WickhamPerson: H. VermaasPerson: B. BlaneyPerson: B. JackmanPerson: A. ByrnesPerson: T. HoganPerson: D. TonerPerson: R. LeydenPerson: O. FinneganPerson: N. RonanPerson: S. KeoghPerson: D. DillonPerson: J. HeaslipPerson: C. PottsPerson: C. WhitakerPerson: G. EasterbyPerson: F. ContepomiPerson: C. WarnerPerson: M. BernePerson: A. DunnePerson: J. SextonPerson: S. GrissingPerson: L. FitzgeraldPerson: K. LewisPerson: G. BrownPerson: R. KearneyPerson: R. McCarronEvent: Heineken CupEvent: Heineken Cup finalOrganisation: CardiffOrganisation: MunsterOrganisation: LeicesterOrganisation: BiarritzOrganisation: BluesOrganisation: All BlackOrganisation: LeinsterOrganisation: England U21Organisation: Leeds TykesOrganisation: UlsterOrganisation: Earth TitansOrganisation: London Irish
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