Twickenham to host Euro Finals
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 14:31
The RFU's bid was extremely strong
The finals of European rugby's two new club competitions will both be staged in London, organisers announced Tuesday.
The final of the 2014/15 European Rugby Champions Cup, the successor to the European Cup, will take place at Twickenham Stadium on May 2.
The second-tier European Rugby Challenge Cup will take place 24 hours earlier at the nearby Twickenham Stoop, the home ground of English Premiership side Harlequins.
Both tournaments will be overseen by the Swiss-based European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), which effectively took over the running of the continent's elite tournaments after a club-led revolt against the pre-existing European Rugby Cup after leading teams called for a greater say in how the events were run.
An EPCR statement said England's Rugby Football Union (RFU) was awarded the inaugural finals by the EPCR Board following a "competitive tender process" which was open to the six countries which provide the clubs for the English Premiership, France's Top 14 and the Celtic League (Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy).
The statement added that the RFU's successful bid "will guarantee the best possible financial return to the clubs".
Next year's showpiece fixture will be the fifth time that Twickenham - also the venue for the 2015 World Cup final - has staged a major European final.
The south-west London ground set an attendance record for a European decider in 2012 when 81,744 fans watched Leinster's victory over Irish provincial rivals Ulster.
Meanwhile the Stoop will also be hosting a European final for the fifth time.
On the last occasion that The Stoop staged a Challenge Cup decider, Biarritz defeated fellow French side Toulon in 2012.
"In the inaugural season of the tournaments, the Board of EPCR took the view that fairest and the most commercially-sound approach was to award the finals based on a competitive tender process," said EPCR director Bruce Craig.
"The RFU's bid was extremely strong and the fact that we are going to London for the 2015 finals is hugely positive for European club rugby."
RFU chief executive, Ian Ritchie added: "We are delighted to have been chosen as host for EPCR's inaugural finals.
"This is a particularly exciting time for European club rugby as we move into a new era, and we see both games as constituting one marvellous event which will bring tens of thousands of supporters from across Europe into London and Twickenham."
French and European champions Toulon have been already handed a tough draw in the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup.
They will face English club Leicester, also double European champions, Ulster and Welsh side Llanelli Scarlets in Pool Three.
Fixtures for both the European tournaments, whose pool stages begin in October, will be announced on Thursday.
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