Munster will have access to a minimum of roughly 40,000 tickets for their clash with the reigning champions Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium in the first of four Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, three of which, including Leinster’s trip to Welford Road to take on the Leicester Tigers, take place on Saturday, May 7th. Racing 92 host the Sale Sharks in Paris the following day. All four matches will be broadcast live on BT Sport.
In real terms Munster could have closer to 48,000 tickets to distribute for sale, even allowing for an allocation to EPC Rugby and their commercial partners in terms of tournament sponsors. Toulouse are entitled to 25 per cent of the stadium capacity (52,000) but will probably only take up about 1,500-2,000 tickets and possibly less.
Munster were forced to shift the game from Thomond Park due to a prior commitment that the venue would host two Ed Sheeran concerts on Thursday, May, 5th and Friday, May 6th – there have been 70,000 tickets sold for the concerts – and it will take weeks for the pitch to be playable again.
An upside to moving the game to a bigger stadium is that Munster will be entitled to 65 percent of the net ticket revenue from the fixture, based on the capacity of the Aviva stadium (52,000) compared to their Limerick home ground (26,000). Ordinarily that net ticket revenue is split 50/50 between the competing clubs; this will be the case for the Tigers and Leinster.
Johann van Graan’s side has been given the prime Saturday afternoon slot (3pm) and tickets for the game will go on sale on Thursday at 2pm through traditional outlets. The cheapest adult ticket is €20, with a junior ticket costing €10.
Discounted tickets will also be available for members of the Munster Rugby Supporters Club (MRSC) and priority ticket holders. Munster clubs and schools will be offered bus subsidies for group travel, the details of which will be made available over the coming days.
Leinster will be entitled to roughly 6,500 tickets for their quarter-final with the current English Premiership league leaders, Leicester, at Welford Road, which boasts a capacity of 25,890. The game kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday evening.
Leinster season ticket holders will be emailed a link to purchase priority tickets for the game on the Leicester website from 9am on Thursday morning across five categories and price points £35, £40, £45, £53, and £60.
Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle, beaten finalists last year, will host fellow French Top 14 club Montpellier at the Stade Marcel-Deflandre with the same kick-off time (5.30pm) as the game at Welford Road.
Meanwhile Ireland will open the 2023 Six Nations Championship with a trip to face Wales at the Principality Stadium and conclude the campaign when England travel to Dublin on March 18th; it will be the final match in what has become 'Super Saturday' triple header.
Andy Farrell’s Triple Crown champions travel to Cardiff to contest the early game on Saturday, February 4th (2.15pm), a slot they will have for the first three matches in the tournament. Ireland welcomes the Grand Slam champions France to the Aviva Stadium the following Saturday before travelling to Rome a fortnight later to take on Italy.
Ireland have one Sunday match, in round four when they head for Murrayfield and a game against Gregor Townend’s Scotland. The campaign concludes with England visiting the Aviva Stadium the day after St Patrick’s Day. There are no Friday night fixtures but each round bar the last weekend will have games on a Sunday.
The Six Nations will have an added resonance in a World Cup year with the latter tournament taking place in France in the autumn.
Champions Cup quarter-finals
Saturday, May 7th: Munster v Toulouse, Aviva Stadium (3.0); Leicester Tigers v Leinster, Welford Road (5.30); La Rochelle v Montpellier, Stade Marcel-Deflandre (5.30, Irish time)
Sunday, May 8th: Racing 92 v Sale Sharks, Paris La Défense Arena (3.0, Irish time)
Semi-finals: Weekend of May 13th/14th/15th (The highest-ranked clubs from the pool stage will have home venue advantage).
SF 1: Racing 92 (A1) or Sale Sharks (A5) v La Rochelle (A3) or Montpellier (A7)
SF 2: Leicester Tigers (B1) or Leinster (A4) v Munster (B3) or Toulouse (B7)
Final: Saturday, May 28th, Stade Vélodrome, Marseille (4.45pm, Irish time).
2023 Six Nations fixtures
Saturday, February 4th: Wales v Ireland, Principality Stadium (2.15pm); England v Scotland, Twickenham (4.45pm)
Sunday, Feb 5th: Italy v France, Stadio Olimpico (3pm, Irish time)
Saturday, Feb 11th: Ireland v France, Aviva stadium (2.15pm); Scotland v Wales, Murrayfield (4.45pm).
Sunday, Feb 12th: England v Italy, Twickenham (3pm)
Saturday, Feb 25th: Italy v Ireland, Stadio Olimpico (2.15pm, Irish time); Wales v England, Principality Stadium (4.45pm).
Sunday, Feb 26th: France v Scotland, Stade de France (3pm, Irish time)
Saturday, March 11th: Italy v Wales, Stadio Olimpico (2.15pm, Irish time); England v France, Twickenham (4.45pm).
Sunday, Mar 12th: Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield (3pm)
Saturday, Mar 18th: Scotland v Italy, Murrayfield (12.30pm); France v Wales, Stade de France (2.45pm, Irish time); Ireland v England, Aviva Stadium (5pm)