Thursday 21 November 2019

Kingspan Stadium to host Guinness Pro12 final after tournament organisers' u-turn

Darren Cave runs in to score Ulster's first try of the game
Darren Cave runs in to score Ulster's first try of the game

Tournament organisers have confirmed that the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast will host this year's Guinness Pro12 final.

Ulster are understood to have won a tender to host the showpiece ahead of the Glasgow Warriors after tournament organisers choose to move away from giving home advantage to the highest placed finisher at the end of the regular season.

The top two finishers in the regular season will hold onto home advantage.

Kingspan Stadium, previously Ravenhill, meets the criteria for staging the final after after the capacity was upgraded to 18,000 in a recent redevelopment.

Ulster are currently outside the playoff places in fifth in the Guinness Pro12 but this news will see them make a big push to break into the all-important top four.

Announcing Belfast as the chosen host city, John Feehan, CEO of PRO12 Rugby said: "Belfast is an inspiring host city and the new Kingspan Stadium is a state-of-the-art venue for the GUINNESS PRO12 final.

"Given the development of the competition the time is right for a showcase event and we invited offers from all 12 clubs & their regions to host the final. The tender from 'Team Belfast' was outstanding and was unanimously agreed as the chosen venue.

"Belfast excelled itself as the host city for our PRO12 season launch in 2013 and their plans for the city in the lead up to and around the final are very exciting.

"Our competition is truly unique. 12 clubs, 4 unions, 1 trophy - we are delighted to be able to work with our partners to promote the variety of fantastic international destinations that the GUINNESS PRO12 has to offer.

"We look forward to working with all our partners in staging a festival of rugby where fans from all four of our countries will enjoy a memorable final and a great weekend in Belfast."

Belfast Lord Mayor Cllr Nichola Mallon commented: "For Kingspan Stadium to be chosen to host the GUINNESS PRO12 final this year is fantastic news for our city. Having staged the Giro D'Italia and Carl Frampton's World title fight in recent months, this final just adds to Belfast's growing reputation as a city of sport.

"Rugby fans coming in May will be given a warm welcome and I hope they get the chance to see everything Belfast has to offer."

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