Having enjoyed record crowds at their finals in recent seasons, PRO14’s next destination final will be a less crowded affair as plans are allegedly afoot to host the 2020 decider at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Guinness showpieces have been enjoying excellent growth. Murrayfield attracted 34,550 for an all-Irish final in 2016, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium hosted attendances of 44,558 and 46,092 in 2016 and 2017 respectively, while last Saturday’s crowd at Glasgow’s Celtic Park topped that record again, 47,128 turning up to see Leinster retain their crowd against local side Glasgow Warriors.
That record will now stay intact until at least 2021 as the annual showpiece, according to a report on WalesOnline, is set to be staged at the 33,280 capacity ground used by the Cardiff City football team who were recently relegated from the English Premier League.
A Celtic League final was played once before in Cardiff, Munster beating Neath in 2003 in front of 30,076 at the Millennium Stadium. The league then switched to a first-past-the-post-wins system for the next six seasons before grand finals were reintroduced.
However, none have taken place in Wales. Dublin’s RDS hosted four of the finals and Limerick the other when the highest seeded team was given the right to stage the decider.
A spot of news for you. Wales is to stage the PRO14 final for the first time next season. Great to be able to report this. It's been a long wait.https://t.co/yAJ0lzq1rw
— Simon Thomas (@simonrug) May 28, 2019
Destination finals were introduced in 2015, with Belfast, Edinburgh, Dublin (twice) and Glasgow earning the right to host the decider.
Wales never previously applied to host due to the now named Principality Stadium’s busy schedule of hosting other sports and non-sporting events.
Congratulations to @leinsterrugby and @GlasgowWarriors there can only be one winner but boy did you both do @PRO14Official proud in front of a record of over 47k at @CelticFC #GuinnessPRO14 #PRO14Proud pic.twitter.com/DjRfYT4dpW
— Martin Anayi (@TinoAnayi) May 26, 2019
However, with the Cardiff soccer ground now entering the equation with a capacity of less than half that of the Principality, the Welsh will seemingly get a turn to become the end-of-season focus for the five-country tournament. A date of June 20, 2020, is ready to be pencilled in due to it being a World Cup season.
The 2020 PRO14 final won’t be the venue’s first showpiece rugby game. It staged the 2011 Amlin Cup final that featured Harlequins and Stade Francais.
WATCH: RugbyPass goes behind the scenes at the 2018 Guinness PRO14 final in Dublin q1featuring Leinster versus Scarlets
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