Belfast Telegraph

Monday 31 August 2015

IRFU count cost as Munster refuse to move Ulster clash to Lansdowne

By David Kelly

Published 24/01/2012

Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road
Aviva Stadium at Lansdowne Road

Munster will definitely play their home Heineken Cup quarter-final at Thomond Park after the IRFU confirmed they would not put pressure on the province to switch the tie to Lansdowne Road.

Munster could earn the IRFU a significant six-figure sum should they move their home clash with Ulster from the 26,000-capacity Thomond to the national stadium, which can hold almost twice that.

However, Leinster have already confirmed that they will play their home quarter-final against Cardiff Blues at Lansdowne Road, a tie that could be worth up to €500,000 for the union.

Munster and Leinster will also be keen to ensure that neither of their quarter-finals will be played on Good Friday, when pubs and restaurants in Limerick and Dublin would be closed, denying both cities huge sums in revenue.

With a bank holiday in England on Friday, April 6, the Irish provinces will be hoping that either Edinburgh's home tie with Toulouse or Saracens' clash with Clermont is played on the Friday.

Munster and Leinster would both prefer Saturday kick-offs, although the TV bargaining power of the French will also be a key factor in deciding who is awarded the prime Saturday billings.

After their second successive quarter-final qualification, Ulster are likely to be promoted to second seeds for next year's pool stages, granting them a potentially easier route to the knockout stages.

Tournament organisers ERC will announce the dates, venues and kick-off times for the quarter-finals later this week.

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