Ulster’s added incentive as Belfast hosts final

Guinness Pro12: A reinvigorated Ulster could not have asked for a better incentive to lift their first silverware for almost a decade when Belfast won the bid stage to host the Guinness Pro12 final at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, May 30.

The 18,000-capacity stadium at Ravenhill was nominated ahead of the tender by Glasgow who had planned to use the 4G pitch at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park. Originally there were four very interested applicants but both Dublin and Cardiff pulled out before the final tenders were taken.

While Glasgow would have seen their financial outlay fully been written off by the Kilmarnock County Council, Kingspan Stadium’s bid was backed by the Belfast City Council, Visit Belfast, Tourism Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Ulster lifted the league title back in the 2005-6 season when Alan Solomons was in charge, but the sideboard has been pretty bare since.

Obviously, there is a big chance that the final will include an Irish province with Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht sitting in line behind leaders Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors as the race for the semi-finals hot up after this week’s break.

Ulster, like Munster, can now fully concentrate on the league after their European adventure ended at the weekend.

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