Friday 17 November 2017

IRFU won't try to push Thomond tie to Aviva

MUNSTER'S crunch Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster will go ahead in Limerick after the IRFU confirmed they won't pressure the province to move the tie to the Aviva.

If the game were to take place at the Dublin 4 venue it would boost the IRFU coffers by a six-figure sum but Tony McGahan's men are unlikely to move from their home at Thomond Park. The Aviva Stadium can cater for almost double the patrons that the 26,000-capacity Thomond Park holds.

Leinster have confirmed that their Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Cardiff Blues will take place at the Aviva Stadium, which could earn the IRFU up to €500,000.

Both provinces are keen to ensure that neither game goes ahead on Good Friday, when pubs and restaurants would be closed in Dublin and Limerick, denying both cities huge amounts of revenue. Luckily, April 6 is a bank holiday in Britain and the Irish provinces will be hoping that Edinburgh's home tie with Toulouse or Saracens' clash with Clermont will be deemed more appropriate for the Friday TV slot.

Saxons take in RWC stars

Matt Banahan and Delon Armitage feature in the England Saxons' 25-man training squad named for Saturday's clash with Irish Wolfhounds in Exeter.

Winger Banahan and full-back Armitage both played in last year's World Cup but must content themselves with a place among the second string, along with winger Ugo Monye and back-rower Thomas Waldrom.

Centre Matt Hopper, scrum-half Paul Hodgson, prop Rupert Harden, lock Ed Slater and flanker Kearnan Myall are new additions.

Hodgson and Harden are injury replacements, while Hopper, Slater and Myall replace Henry Trinder, Geoff Parling and Dave Attwood, who are attending senior squad training this week. Hopper's selection comes after just 11 first-team games for Harlequins.

The Saxons name their side to face the Wolfhounds on Thursday.

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