Champions Cup final at BT Murrayfield heading for a sell-out

Leinster were victorious the last time BT Murrayfield hosted European rugbys blue-riband event in 2009
Leinster were victorious the last time BT Murrayfield hosted European rugbys blue-riband event in 2009
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The European Rugby Champions Cup final which is being held at BT Murrayfield in May, is on course to be a sell-out, organisers today said.

The conclusion of Europe’s top rugby union competition is taking place in the Capital for the first time since 2009 on Saturday, May 13.

As the pool stages continue this weekend, 30,000 tickets have already been sold for the showpiece final match.

And those in charge of bringing the event to Scotland are confident that the encounter will be played out in front of a capacity 67,144 at the national stadium.

When Toulouse beat Stade Francais 18-12 after extra-time in the final back in 2005 at the same ground 51,326 people were in attendance while four years later when Leinster edged out Leicester Tigers the crowd was 66,523.

This year’s final has the added bonus of having two other matches being played at the venue over the weekend.

The Challenge Cup – the secondary European event which Edinburgh Rugby are taking part in currently – has its final on the Friday evening.

And it has recently been announced that the final qualifying match for the 2017/18 Challenge Cup will be played on the back pitches on the Saturday morning or early afternoon with the kick-off time to be decided.

Officials from European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) were in the Capital to meet with Scottish Rugby representatives.

EPCR director general Vincent Gaillard admitted the decision to bring the finals to Scotland was “simple”.

“It was very simple, Edinburgh produced a very compelling bid,” he said.

“The combination of the history of the place, the city itself, a top quality stadium and a top class bid made it quite easy for us to decide that Edinburgh was the best place to hold the finals this season.

“We have a good relationship with the Scottish Rugby Union too and we are coming to Edinburgh for all the right reasons in May and are very much looking forward to it.

“The figures for tickets are already looking good with around 30,000 having been sold for the Champions Cup final and over 19,000 for the Challenge Cup final.

“Adding in the final qualifying match for the Challenge Cup is something exciting because we want people to see clubs from up-and-coming rugby nations.

“And with these two sides already knowing that they are into the Challenge Cup for the following season it should mean there are three great matches over the course of the weekend.

“Edinburgh is a great city and it is clear from the fact that tickets are being bought from many different countries that people want to come here.”

Scottish Rugby’s chief operating officer Dominic McKay, who is also a director of the Celtic League/PRO12 Board and a director of European Rugby governing body Rugby Europe, played a big part in bringing the finals to Edinburgh.

And he does not just want the weekend to be an experience for those who visit the city, but he also wants to use the opportunity to get local people more involved and interested in the sport.

“We are well on the way to a sell-out crowd for the Champions Cup final and a record attendance for the Challenge Cup final,” McKay said.

“It is a great opportunity to get two matches of rugby in two days that will be pretty special and now we have the added joy of having the final match of the Challenge Cup qualifying event also being played on the back pitches.

“In recent years we have really begun to pride ourselves on putting on a show when people come to this stadium and there will be plenty going on.

“We also want to engage with the community and get people who don’t have a ticket the chance to see the trophies and participating players.

“A fanzone will also be somewhere in the city and we are looking into that at the moment.”

Meanwhile, 15,000 tickets have so far been sold for the 1872 Scottish Cup at BT Murrayfield that takes place on Boxing Day.

Last season in the corresponding fixture 23,642 saw Edinburgh defeat Glasgow Warriors 23-11 and Scottish Rugby officials believe things are on course for a similar turnout a week on Monday.