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Aviva Fever

THE Aviva stadium will host a near-capacity crowd for tonight's "fever" clash of Leinster against Munster in the Pro 12 league game.

Blues fans will chant Molly Malone to drive on the Heineken Cup winners against arch rivals Munster in the derby grudge game.

Bragging rights are up for grabs as many of the Ireland teammates meet for the first time since the misery of the World Cup.

Leinster spokesman Peter Breen said tickets -- which are priced between €20 and €65 -- have been selling like hot cakes.

"Ticket sales have been really encouraging all week.

"We've surpassed 46,500 which is brilliant, given the time we're in.

"I would anticipate that the sales will approach 50,000. It just shows how big a game it is, there are not many derbies in international rugby.

"This is one of the biggest club rivalries in the world." Leinster's Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip make their first appearance on the pitch since playing in New Zealand with Paul O'Connell and Munster pals.

"This is the game that players don't want to miss. It's very rare to get to play at club level in stadia like the Aviva, and it'll really hammer home how big the clubs are," said Mr Breen.

"It's a very important league game, and the beauty of it from our point of view is we're opening the doors to more supporters because of the stadium."

David Cahill, from the Leinster Supporters' Club said: "This same fixture last year was a sell-out, it was the first big game in the Aviva. When the team is announced, and if there are a lot of international players, that will drive up ticket sales. Munster are currently second and we're two points behind so it's a top table clash. This is Munster against Leinster, it doesn't need any introduction. This is the big rivalry in Irish rugby, and it's with two of the top four or five teams in Europe.

" It's one of the great European sporting rivalries, it's like Manchester United and Liverpool, or Barcelona and Madrid. This game will be carried live throughout the world. It'll be shown in South Africa, and the rivalry will be just as sharp in bars in Auckland as it will be here in Dublin," he said.

hnews@herald.ie


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