Guinness PRO12 Final Nearing Sell Out
Guinness PRO12 Final in Belfast nearing sell out
5 teams in contention outline their approach to last 3 games before Play Offs & Final
The Guinness PRO12 Final at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast on Saturday May 30th is nearing sell out with just over 400 terrace tickets left for public sale and very strong ticket interest amongst the 5 clubs still in contention for the Play Offs. Each finalist will receive 2,000 tickets and these are expected to be snapped up quickly.
The Guinness PRO12 Final contenders will come from Glasgow Warriors, Munster, Ulster, Ospreys and Leinster who all were represented at today’s Press Briefing at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. The match at 6.30pm kick off will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and also on terrestrial television (channels dependent on finalists – BBC, S4C, TG4).
Belfast will be wrapped up in Final Fever as plans were outlined to decorate the whole city. Belfast’s hotels, restaurants & bars expect an influx of sports fans keen to see the many sights the city has to offer including the Titanic Quarter (and Game of Thrones set locations), City Hall and Queen’s University while enjoying their visit.
Team Belfast are expecting an influx of visitors from all 12 clubs and 4 rugby unions represented in the Guinness PRO12 with some of these rugby fans adding on a visit to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in nearby Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Co. Down. Indeed, Belfast expects a busy summer of visitors with the Tall Ships docking in Belfast on July 2nd to the 5th.
Speaking at today’s Press Conference, with three rounds left to go, Ulster captain Rory Best said: “We have a tough-run in of Leinster, Munster and then Glasgow away, so we can’t look beyond the Leinster game.
“But in terms of the run-in, it probably couldn’t get a lot harder than that.
“It’ll be a good marker to see where we are and we’re in a good position at the minute, our destiny is in our own hands because we’re playing the teams around us.
“Everyone wants to play at home, with the crowd and we’ll get a sell-out – it’ll give us a lift, an edge. But that won’t make the games any easier.”
Table toppers Glasgow Warriors were represented by Ulster old boy Tommy Seymour who admits that, with Connacht, Ulster and the Ospreys still to play, his side cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
“The quality of the league has definitely lifted and there really are no easy games,” said Seymour. “Any time you go away from home you know you’re in for a tough challenge, but with European qualification – that added incentive – the quality across the board is huge.”
Munster too are aiming for a home Play Off but coach Anthony Foley insists his team must first cross a top-four finish off their checklist.
“There is pressure on us every year. Whether it be in the Guinness PRO12, Europe or any other cup, that expectation is around Munster,” said Foley.
“It’s something you embrace when you come into the club but our mindset at the moment has to be a game at a time – last week we achieved top six, now we’ll go on to try and secure top four and see where we are after that.”
Munster play Benetton Treviso at home then Ulster away & the Dragons at home.
Welsh contenders the Ospreys are searching for a return to the Play Offs after slipping out of the top four last season, and back-row Tyler Ardron believes he and his teammates are starting to come of age.
“I don’t think there’s any secret to our success, we’ve got a lot of young guys who want to be here, and everyone’s turned up a bit more focused this season – especially after losing some of the older players.
“The Glasgow game is crucial but we know the other two will be just as important.”
Ospreys play the Blues away in Judgement Day III, then are home to Glasgow and away to Connacht.
Leinster, this weekend’s Guinness PRO12 representative in the European Champions Cup Semi final v Toulon, are still in contention despite last Sunday’s loss to the Newport Gwent Dragons.
And team manager Guy Easterby says no-one at the club is ready to accept that their Play Offs hunt is over.
“We’ve still got a chance of making the top four and it’s a huge focus for us this season, like it is every season,” said Easterby.
“We’ve left ourselves with a lot of work to do, especially after last Sunday’s result against the Dragons.
“But there are still plenty of games between the top five where the teams above us could drop points – we’re not giving up.”
Leinster play Ulster away, then Benetton Treviso at home and Edinburgh away.
More quotes on www.pro12rugby.com
Photos from www.inpho.ie