19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
There was the highest ever attendance for a Magners League game in Scotland, when 12,534 descended on Murrayfield to watch the inter-city derby between Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors, with the return fixture also attracting a record crowd.
Director of Celtic Rugby David Jordan said: "The improvement in Magners League attendances is spread across the board with every Celtic Union seeing an increase in their like for like average gates.
"We are now at the halfway point in the season and have seen crowds increase substantially.
"289,732 fans had come through the gates by the midpoint last year compared to 385,399 this season, which represents a 33% increase in overall attendances.
"The growth in our attendances can be attributed to a number of notable factors. The opening of new improved grounds with increased capacities - Thomond Park Stadium alone can hold 26,000 fans.
"The innovative marketing that the Scottish teams have undertaken seeing attendances increase by over 50%.
"Leinster, already the Magners League's best supported team, continue to attract an ever-growing support with their average gate increasing by 11.5%.
"And there's also the continuing success of the Welsh regions enjoying capacity sell-outs over the holidays, raising the average Welsh gates by 8.1%.
"Congratulations must go the backroom and commercial staff as well as the players for producing the exciting brand of rugby that fans want to come and see, and thanks of course our loyal fans for their continuing support.
"With the situation in the Magners League tight at the top of the table, only seven points separating the top seven teams and the Ospreys due to play Munster in the next round then it can only get closer.
"Hopefully it will lead into a very exciting finish that should ensure our attendance gains will continue through to the end of the season."
Magners League All-Time Top Attendances By Round:
72,886 Round 12 2006/7
67,878 Round 9 2008/9
61,734 Round 8 2008/9
61,426 Round 6 2006/7
The largest attendance over a round of games, 72,886, in the New Year of 2006/07 was achieved when 48,000 packed into Lansdowne Road for the 'Last Stand' game.
Over the festive period of 2008/09, rounds 8 and 9, each of the ten Magners League teams hosted a fixture at their regular home ground.