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PRO12 Final Tickets Still On Sale As Five Teams Chase Play-Off Spots

PRO12 Final Tickets Still On Sale As Five Teams Chase Play-Off Spots

The GUINNESS PRO12 final at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on Saturday, May 30 is nearing a sell-out with just over 400 terrace tickets left for public sale and very strong ticket interest among the five teams still in contention for the play-offs. Each of the finalists will receive 2,000 tickets and these are expected to be snapped up quickly.

The GUINNESS PRO12 final contenders will come from Glasgow Warriors, Munster, Ulster, Ospreys and Leinster who all were represented at Wednesday’s press briefing at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.

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The match (kick-off 6.30pm) will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and also on terrestrial television (channels dependent on finalists – BBC, S4C, TG4).

Belfast will be wrapped up in ‘final fever’ as plans were outlined to decorate the whole city. Belfast’s hotels, restaurants and bars expect an influx of sports fans keen to see the many sights the city has to offer including the Titanic Quarter (and Game of Thrones set locations), City Hall and Queen’s University while enjoying their visit.

Team Belfast are expecting an influx of visitors from all 12 league teams and 4 rugby unions represented in the PRO12 with some of these rugby fans adding on a visit to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in nearby Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Co. Down. Indeed, Belfast expects a busy summer of visitors with the Tall Ships docking in Belfast from July 2 to 5.

Speaking at the press conference, with three rounds left to go, Ulster captain Rory Best said: “We have a tough-run-in of Leinster, Munster and then Glasgow away, so we can’t look beyond the Leinster game. But in terms of the run-in, it probably couldn’t get a lot harder than that.

“It’ll be a good marker to see where we are and we’re in a good position at the minute, our destiny is in our own hands because we’re playing the teams around us.

“Everyone wants to play at home, with the crowd and we’ll get a sell-out – it’ll give us a lift, an edge. But that won’t make the games any easier.”

Table toppers Glasgow Warriors were represented by Ulster old boy Tommy Seymour who admits that, with Connacht, Ulster and the Ospreys still to play, his side cannot afford to rest on their laurels.

“The quality of the league has definitely lifted and there really are no easy games,” said Seymour. “Any time you go away from home you know you’re in for a tough challenge, but with European qualification – that added incentive – the quality across the board is huge.”

Munster too are aiming for a home semi-final, but head coach Anthony Foley insists his team must first cross a top-four finish off their checklist.

“There is pressure on us every year. Whether it be in the GUINNESS PRO12, Europe or any other cup, that expectation is around Munster,” explained Foley.

“It’s something you embrace when you come into the province but our mindset at the moment has to be a game at a time – last week we achieved top six, now we’ll go on to try and secure top four and see where we are after that.”

In the coming weeks, Munster will play Benetton Treviso at home and then Ulster away and the Newport Gwent Dragons at home.

Welsh contenders, the Ospreys, are searching for a return to the play-offs after slipping out of the top four last season, and back rower Tyler Ardron believes he and his team-mates are starting to come of age.

“I don’t think there’s any secret to our success, we’ve got a lot of young guys who want to be here, and everyone’s turned up a bit more focused this season – especially after losing some of the older players.

“The Glasgow game is crucial but we know the other two will be just as important,” admitted Ardron, whose team face Cardiff Blues away in Judgement Day III, and are then at home to Glasgow and away to Connacht.

Leinster, this weekend’s PRO12 representatives in the European Champions Cup semi-final against Toulon, are still in contention despite last Sunday’s loss to the Dragons.

And team manager Guy Easterby says no one at the province is ready to accept that their play-offs hunt is over, stating: “We’ve still got a chance of making the top four and it’s a huge focus for us this season, like it is every season.

“We’ve left ourselves with a lot of work to do, especially after last Sunday’s result against the Dragons. But there are still plenty of games between the top five where the teams above us could drop points. We’re not giving up.”

Leinster, who lifted the league title in both 2013 and 2014, wrap up the regular season by visiting provincial rivals Ulster before playing Benetton Treviso at home and Edinburgh away.