IRFU hoping to get the women's team into the Aviva Stadium for Test games

IRFU hoping to get the women's team into the Aviva Stadium for Test games

IRFU CEO Kevin Potts has ruled out the Ireland men's team playing test games in Croke Park but has opened the door for the women's team to play at the Aviva Stadium in the future.

The Aviva Stadium has been the home of rugby for the Ireland team and Leinster in big European games, but recently Leinster played in Croke Park because of scheduling issues.

The Champions Cup game against Northampton Saints in Croke Park saw a huge demand for tickets, and it was quickly sold out soon after.

One would think that the commercial opportunity to host more games at Croke Park would be something that the IRFU would look at more often, but according to IRFU boss Potts, that won't be happening.

"They did sell out Croke Park in three hours, which was actually remarkable, but I think we were all taken aback by that," said Potts. "My own family members were struggling to get tickets; they were gone, as we all know.

"Croke Park and our friends in the GAA are very friendly to Irish rugby, and Leinster have access to it when the Aviva isn't available. Next year, Munster will have access to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, and the collaboration is fantastic.

Croke Park hosted a Leinster game recently (Photo By Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

"But if you're asking me, will there be a test played there? No. The home of Irish rugby is the Aviva Stadium, and that's where our test games will be played."

Potts' comments came in the wake of the IRFU's new strategic plan for 2024–28. The new report will look to promote and accelerate the growth of the girls' and women's game in Ireland. One of the key aspects of the report is the willingness to get the women's team playing at Aviva Stadium more often.

Potts also spoke on the topic this week.

"I had that discussion with the players last October," said Potts. "There will come a point in the journey where they will want to play in the Aviva Stadium when they have a big crowd.

"And if the fans get behind the team, really get behind the team in the next number of years, and we can get big numbers at the stadium, that’s when the players want to play, and they can play."