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Aviva Stadium springs into life with Ireland v South Africa

By Niall Crozier

World Cup holders South Africa will be Ireland’s first international rugby guests at the new Aviva Stadium.

And with Ulster’s 2010/11 squad including five South Africans — two of them, BJ Botha and Ruan Pienaar, current Springboks — interest in the Guinness Series opener on Saturday, November 6, will be massive.

In keeping with it being a very special occasion, South Africa have waived the unique-to-rugby right and tradition where the visitors wear their home jersey when there is a clash of colours.

This time the guests will allow Ireland to wear their famous green for the first international rugby game at the magnificent new 410 million euro Dublin 4 complex.

Dates and kick-off times for Ireland’s autumnal schedule have now been confirmed.

The details of other international fixtures at the Aviva Stadium in November are:

Saturday, November 13 — Ireland v Samoa (2.30pm).

Saturday, November 20 — Ireland v New Zealand (5.30pm).

Sunday, November 28 — Ireland v Argentina (2.30pm).

Meanwhile Leinster are getting in on the Aviva Stadium act, too. They are to play two significant fixtures at Irish rugby’s new home.

On Saturday, October 2, they will square up to Munster at the Aviva Stadium in the Magners League.

Then a week before Christmas the new stadium will be the setting for Leinster’s Heineken Cup pairing with ASM Clermont Auvergne.

That Pool 2 clash on Saturday, December 18, will mean Leinster, the 2009 winners, playing two of their Heineken Cup group stage fixtures at iconic arena.

On Saturday, October 16, they will face Saracens at Wembley Stadium, making the world-famous London venue the 89th ground to have hosted Heineken Cup action.

Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson explained the temporary use of the Aviva Stadium by saying: “Leinster have enjoyed many outstanding moments in Lansdowne Road down through the years and we are confident that this double-header will kick start an exciting new era for the province in the Aviva Stadium.

“We were proud to stage ‘The Last Stand’ against Ulster in December 2006 and we are grateful to the IRFU for enabling us to use this outstanding facility.”

Stressing that Leinster will continue to play at the RDS, Dawson added: “Obviously we remain committed long-term to the RDS, an arena which continues to serve the province so well and has become a real fortress for the team as well as our loyal supporters.

“But the move for these two games to the Aviva Stadium presents an enormous opportunity for those who can’t readily access tickets to top class rugby across the province.”

Ticket prices for these games are being pegged back; they will start at 30euro, with reduced price family packages also available.

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