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Welsh attendances when English visit

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How Welsh PRO14 attendances compare when the English visit in Europe

With one English club chairman claiming at the weekend that there will be a British League up and running in two years’ time, it is being claimed that attendances at regional rugby grounds in Wales would theoretically increase.

However, it’s not as if there currently isn’t any annual meetings between English and Welsh clubs. They already face off every year in European competitions. 

Here, RugbyPass looks back at the 2018/19 season to compare attendances at the four Welsh regions in the PRO14 and how they fared whenever an English club visited. 

Welsh PRO14 home averages

Scarlets: 8,443, Cardiff Blues: 7,360, Ospreys: 6,812, Dragons: 5,123

The success of Judgement Day, when all four Welsh regional sides play the final derby match at the Principality Stadium, significantly skews average attendances. This year there was 51,297 present, so we have excluded those numbers from Cardiff’s and Dragons’ average home crowd.

Welsh PRO14 derby home averages

Scarlets: 10,267, Cardiff Blues: 10,082, Ospreys: 9,521 Dragons: 7,286

Welsh PRO14 non-Welsh opposition home averages  

Scarlets: 7,760, Cardiff Blues: 6,582, Ospreys: 5,797, Dragons: 4,518

Welsh home European tournament averages

Cardiff Blues: 9,267; Scarlets: 7,857, Ospreys: 6,049, Dragons: 4,503

Welsh home European versus English opposition 

Cardiff Blues: 12,018 (v Saracens), Scarlets: 8,087 (v Leicester), Ospreys: 6,184 (v Worcester), Dragons: 4,600 (v Northampton)  

Attendances at European games against English sides were higher for all four Welsh regions than their average PRO14 attendances against non-Welsh teams. In the case of Cardiff, it was hugely up by 5,436.  

The figure for Scarlets versus Leicester Tigers was adversely affected by the fact Scarlets were already out of the qualification picture at that stage. 

The previous year they hosted 11,479 fans in their group fixture against Bath when they were still in contention for the knockout stages. That was noticeably higher than their non-derby PRO14 average. 

Glancing at these figures, an argument can be made that rare competitive fixtures against English teams are more popular for Welsh regional rugby supporters than frequent home games against PRO14 opposition from Ireland, Scotland, Italy and South Africa. 

The big question, though, is would this attraction of playing the English clubs increase if the fixtures were far more frequent as part of an Anglo-Welsh League?

That is the dilemma which Welsh club must ponder before any agreement is signed to leave behind the PRO14 in its current guise. 

WATCH: The latest RugbyPass documentary, Foden – Stateside, looks at how ex-England international Ben Foden is settling into Major League Rugby in New York

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How Welsh PRO14 attendances compare when the English visit in Europe