Croke Park to host Leinster Champions Cup game if they progress

Croke Park to host Leinster Champions Cup game if they progress

Croke Park will be a venue for Leinster if they overcome La Rochelle in their Champions Cup tie this weekend. Leo Cullen’s side will play either the Bulls or the Northampton Saints on May 3 or 5. 

Due to scheduling problems and Leinster's home-country advantage, the normal venue of the Aviva Stadium would be off-limits in May. Dublin's other big stadium, the Aviva Stadium, is being prepared for the Europa League final that month.

To solve this problem, the GAA has said they will allow the Champions Cup game to be held in the home of the GAA.

From 2007 to 2010, Croke Park hosted home matches for the Ireland national rugby union team and the Republic of Ireland national football team while their new Aviva Stadium was constructed. The last time a rugby game was held in the 82,000-capacity stadium was a Six Nations defeat to Scotland in 2010. There have been 13 other games held at the venue: 10 test matches and 4 Six Nations games.

Also, it would bridge a 15-year gap since the last time club rugby was played in the stadium was when Leinster defeated Munster in the 2009 Heineken Cup semi-final, which generated a then world record attendance for a club match.

Leinster and La Rochelle have met four times previously in European action, with La Rochelle winning on three occasions while Leinster earned their first win during December’s pool stages. The province has never beaten the French side in a knockout game.

The game this weekend starts at 17:30 and can be seen live on RTÉ 2.

Possible Investec Champions Cup semi-final matches and venues: 3/4/5 May
(Pool stage rankings are in brackets.)

  • Stade Toulousain (1) vs. Union Bordeaux-Bègles (4) or Harlequins (5), Le Stadium, Toulouse (capacity: 33,150)
  • Leinster Rugby (2) vs. Northampton Saints (3) or Vodacom Bulls (6), Croke Park, Dublin (capacity: 82,300)
  • Northampton Saints (3) vs. La Rochelle (10), Stadium MK, Milton Keynes (capacity: 30,500)
  • Union Bordeaux-Bègles (4) v Exeter Chiefs (8), Matmut ATLANTIQUE, Bordeaux (capacity: 42,100).
  • Harlequins (5) vs. Exeter Chiefs (8), Ashton Gate Stadium (capacity: 27,000)
  • Vodacom Bulls (6) vs. La Rochelle (10), UK venue TBC