Ireland Six Nations tickets offered for staggering €2,000 each as touts cash in on Grand Slam fever
The Ireland rugby team's success in November have many looking forward to next year's Six Nations, but it could be ticket touts that are set to cash in.
Joe Schmidt's men, fresh from wins over New Zealand and Australia this month, will play only two games in Dublin during the 2017 championship with tickets already appearing online for as much as €2,000.
Ireland tickets for the Six Nations rarely go on general sale - first being offered to local rugby clubs and schools, with the remainder then sold through the IRFU supporters' club.
Despite this, scores of tickets are already being listed on ticket selling sites such as Viagogo and Stubhub for clashes with France and England in the Aviva Stadium three months from now. Viagogo, where fans can part with anything between €400 and the better part of €2,000 for one ticket, estimate that the contests will sell out on their site before the new year, warning would-be attendees that "prices have been rising over the last three days" and will only continue to go up.
Ireland meet England in the final round of games on March 18 in what is already being described as a potential Grand Slam decider.
The phenomenon is not a new one for the championship, with fans often reminded that the easiest way to attend a Six Nations fixture is through membership at a local rugby club.
When France were last in Dublin, the IRFU had to issue a warning against buying from unofficial sellers when 144 tickets were lost in transit and left unaccounted for, while in the past they have warned that tickets are traceable and punitive action can be taken against clubs if the black market is flooded with tickets intended for their members.
In 2014, the RFU in England were forced to launch an investigation after a ticket intended for a family member of player Owen Farrell was bought on Viagogo for over five times its £70 value, although it was found that Farrell had no knowledge of the transaction and made no profit.
For fans willing to travel, tickets for Ireland's away games in Italy and Scotland for 2017 are much easier to come by, although those looking towards the trip to Wales will find themselves forking out around €300.
Ireland's first Six Nations clash will be against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 2, 2017, before taking on Italy away on February 11.