Fans face tough London ticket search
Rugby:Supporters of the three Irish provinces involved in European action in London at the start of April face a tough search for quarter-final tickets.
Harlequins confirmed that the Heineken Cup last eight clash against Munster will go ahead at the 14,800 Twickenham Stoop over the first weekend in April, with the date set to be confirmed before the weekend.
The London club had the option of moving it to Twickenham, but believe they would give away the considerable advantage they enjoy at their regular home ground.
The ERC stipulate a minimum capacity of 15,000, with Harlequins expected to install some temporary seating to meet that target.
Likewise, Saracens are in discussion with Barnet Council over the possibility of staging their quarter-final against Ulster at their new Allianz Park home, which has a regular capacity of 10,000.
The Barnet ground is the preferred choice for the match, with Twickenham or Wembley the alternatives.
Sunday’s test event against Cardiff in the LV= Cup will be the first game played on the artificial pitch in front of a crowd of 3,500, three weeks before the official opening against Exeter on February 16th.
Chief executive Edward Griffiths hopes Barnet Council will grant Saracens permission to temporarily increase the 10,000 capacity to 15,000.
“There are a number of hoops to go through before we can hold the match at Allianz Park,” Griffiths said.
“We are in talks with the council over the capacity to see if it’s perfectly possible to increase the capacity for one match, or if it’s too soon.
“This is our home ground now so we’d like to stage the match here. This is absolutely our first choice.
“We want to try and bring those discussions to a close by the end of next week. We want something agreed as soon as possible.”
Under ERC rules, Munster and Ulster would be entitled to 25 per cent of the tickets to sell to their supports. In the case of both Harlequins and Saracens getting the green light to play on their home grounds, that would amount to just 3,250 tickets for each province.
It is reckoned that there were between 5-6,000 Munster supporters in a crowd of 15,288 at Vicarage Road for the meeting with Saracens back in December.
Leinster travel to take on Wasps in the quarter-finals of the Amlin Cup on the same weekend.
Wasps play their home games at Adams Park in High Wycombe, which has a capacity of 10,516. The ground also plays host Wycombe Wanderers football team.