The date and kick-off time for the 2008/09 Heineken Cup final has been confirmed – the deciding match in European rugby’s premier competition will take place at Murrayfield on Saturday, May 23.
ERC, the tournament oganisers, announced on Wednesday afternoon that the second final to be staged in the Scottish capital will kick off at 5pm and will be broadcast live by Sky Sports and France 2.
Another 2,500 tickets have been sold since the main tournament launch ten days ago and total advance sales are now running at over 20,000 tickets.
Meanwhile, encouragingly a record 152,991 fans poured through the turnstiles across Europe in round 1 of the Heineken Cup last weekend.
Two grounds established attendance records for pool matches in the tournament.
The upsurge in attendances came on top of millions of armchair viewers enjoying 10 live games across the tournament’s broadcast platform.
The biggest crowd of the weekend was in Toulouse, where last season’s finalists pipped Bath 18-16 in a thrilling Pool 5 clash.
There were 31,885 fans crammed into the Le Stadium in Toulouse – almost 10,000 more than saw the two teams play at the same venue back in 2000.
Munster’s refurbished Thomond Park Stadium established a record European pool gate for the Irish province with 23,500 as they launched their defence of the title with a narrow win over Montauban in Pool 1.
In the other Pool 1 match, Clermont Auvergne’s 15,681 gate against Sale Sharks was a club record for the tournament.
The previous record for the opening round of the Heineken Cup was last season’s 128,587.
On a news-packed day for European rugby fans, confirmation has also come through that Leinster’s Pool 2 encounter with London Wasps on Saturday, January 17, will be held at Twickenham.
The decision was taken by Wasps to move the game away from their regular home of Adams Park, which only has a capacity of 10,000.
The Londoners won the Heineken Cup at Twickenham in both 2004 and 2007. They are travelling across to Dublin this weekend to face Leinster at the 18,500-capacity RDS.
Heineken Cup Attendance Records – Round by Round
Round 1: 152,991 – 2008/09
Round 2: 136,965 – 2006/07
Round 3: 134,634 – 2006/07
Round 4: 126,084 – 2007/08
Round 5: 128,020 – 2005/06
Round 6: 115,886 – 2007/08