Ulster and Leinster name RDS as ‘home’ venue for Pro 12 final
Ravenhill redevelopment rules out Belfast venue
Both Leinster and Ulster have nominated the RDS as their ’home’ venue for the Pro12 final
In accordance with tournament regulations, Ulster, as one of the five teams still in contention for a play-off place, had to nominate a venue to host the final should their regular season seeding earn them that right.
A spokesperson for Leinster confirmed that despite the disappointment of losing the 2010 and 2012 finals at the Dublin venue to the Ospreys on both occasions, Leinster have no plans to shift the game to the Aviva stadium.
“It normally takes four to six weeks to sell-out the Aviva and we wouldn’t have that latitude, obviously. There would be no point in having a half-full stadium, so we are happy that if we manage to make the final and have choice of venue, then we will play the game in the RDS.”
The draw for the semi-finals pits the team finishing first in the league against the fourth side, while the second-placed team has home advantage against the club in third spot.
The higher-ranked survivors from the penultimate stage of the competition earn the right to choose the final venue, which must have a capacity greater than 18,000. The RDS fulfils that remit.
Ulster confirmed that with the two-year redevelopment of Ravenhill still ongoing, it would not have been possible to host the game at the Belfast venue.
When the work is complete next summer, the capacity at Ravenhill will be 18,200 and the ground will be capable of hosting a Pro 12 final, or indeed a Heineken Cup quarter-final.
If the final is played at the RDS with Ulster designated as the “home” club, Ulster fans will be entitled to 50 per cent of the tickets for the game in accordance with the rules of the Pro 12.
If the province finish first or second place in the league stage they will get to play a semi-final at Ravenhill.
Commenting on the decision to nominate the RDS as it’s “home” venue for a Pro12 final, Ulster Rugby chief executive Shane Logan said: “While no one is presuming that Ulster will be in a final, it is important that we and the organisers of the league prepare for every eventuality.
“Our primary focus is to have the two new stands open to welcome our loyal supporters at the start of the 2013/14 season.
“Our build is on time and on budget but it would not have been possible, without significant delay to our redevelopment project, to open the stands on a temporary basis for any potential RaboDirect Pro12 final.
“Therefore, in agreement with Celtic Rugby, we have nominated the RDS, with its capacity of 18,500, as the venue for a final involving Ulster as host club.
“If Ulster do make it to the final, I have no doubt that the RDS will be a fantastic location for the game and I hope that our supporters will travel there in huge numbers to back the team.”