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Leinster sell out 82,300 capacity Croke Park within hours

By Ian Cameron
Ryan Baird with a double air pump - PA

Tickets for the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals between Leinster and Northampton Saints at Croke Park were sold out within hours of public release on today.

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The semi-final match between the Irish giants and Gallagher Premiership top dogs Northampton Saints went on public sale this morning following a pre-sale to season-ticket holders, with all over 50,000 public tickets greedily hoovered up within hours of release.

This event marks the first major rugby match at the 82,300-capacity stadium since 2010. The stadium previously hosted a Champions Cup match in 2009 between Leinster and Munster, with the men in blue famously taking the honours before going on to win their maiden European trophy.

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Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White gives a concerning injury update

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Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White gives a concerning injury update

Similarly, the second semi-final featuring Stade Toulousain and Harlequins at Le Stadium in Toulouse which holds 33,000 also sold out quickly for the Sunday game.

Fixture
Investec Champions Cup
Leinster
20 - 17
Full-time
Northampton
All Stats and Data

With both venues at full capacity, the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) anticipates a total attendance exceeding 110,000 fans over the weekend.

Croke Park – the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) – was something of a controversial call for the game, with some pundits claiming it hardly counted as a neutral venue for Leinster. The game would have been played in the Aviva Stadium but for a Europa League game at the venue already pencilled in.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Stephen Jones branded the move as an unfair advantage for the Irish province. “The organisers of this tournament have made it partially ridiculous by allowing the seedings from months ago to apply all the way through until the final, which has devalued the event and given Leinster a ludicrously priceless advantage.”

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The match is likely to Leinster’s Investec Player of the Year nominees Caelan Doris, Jamison Gibson-Park, James Lowe and Dan Sheehan take centre stage. Northampton’s Courtney Lawes and Fin Smith – both contenders for the prestigious award – will also be on show.

Leinster will be aiming to repeat the dramatic comeback victory they achieved against Northampton in the 2011 tournament final in Cardiff, the last time the two teams met in the knockout stages of the competition.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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