Aviva Stadium to host first ever Guinness Pro14 final

Dublin's Aviva Stadium will host the first ever Guinness Pro14 final on 26 May 2018, it was announced this morning.

The Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Picture: Getty

The home of Irish rugby, where the new-look championship which has been expanded to include South African sides the Cheetahs and Southern Kings this season had its official launch today, also hosted the last ever Pro12 final in May, when Scarlets beat Munster in front of a record 45,566 crowd. The capacity of the Aviva is 51,700.

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The Kingspan Stadium in Belfast was the first neutral venue in 2015, when Glasgow won the Pro12, after previously it was held at the home ground of the highest seeded finalist. A year later BT Murrayfield became the first “destination final” at a major international stadium.

A crowd of 34,500 watched Connacht surprise Leinster in the 2016 final and it had been speculated that it may be the turn of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium to host the showpiece, but a scheduling clash means it returns to Dublin.

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Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi said: “Aviva Stadium is a world-class arena and that is one of the top-ranking criteria when it comes to deciding upon the venue for our showpiece game.

“With our expansion into South Africa and the inclusion of the Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings we’ve also increased the size of the Guinness PRO14 Final Series which gives six teams the opportunity to reach the knock-out stages.

“For fans that means greater opportunities for their teams to reach the Guinness PRO14 Final in Dublin and experience the Test-level standards and drama that knock-out rugby produces.

“After the success in BT Murrayfield in 2016, we saw another record attendance in Dublin for the 2017 Guinness PRO12 Final – now our goal is to beat that figure of 45,566 who bought tickets for last season’s decider.”

The Guinness Pro14, which is split into two sections, with Glasgow in Conference A and Edinburgh in Conference B, starts next weekend.

• Tickets for the final are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.ie