Twickenham is set to stage the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup Final on May 2, 2015 it has been confirmed.
The showpiece event for the newly formed tournament will be hosted at RFU HQ whilst the European Challenge Cup final is set to be hosted at Twickenham Stoop.
Originally the San Siro in Italy had been the planned venue as it was announced the 2015 Heineken Cup final would take place in the Italian capital, however with the creation of the new event plans changed.
Instead, the competition – which had taken place for 19 seasons – was replaced by the new, streamlined Champions Cup, with clubs assuming greater control over that and the secondary Challenge Cup tournament. Since that historic development, a pool draw has taken place, but there has been a logistical delay in revealing fixture details
An announcement is due to be made on Tuesday that London will host the finals on May 1 and 2, with Twickenham securing the Champions Cup decider just four months before the World Cup begins at HQ with England v Fiji. The major final was held there as recently as May, 2012, when Leinster crushed Ulster 42-14 in a one-sided, all-Irish encounter.
The decision to stage the game at one of the world’s leading venues makes sense in terms of capacity – 82,000 – and potential revenue. It is sure to be a lucrative sell-out, but doubtless organisers will be encouraged to consider the merits of taking a final to Italy in the near-future, to drive further development of the sport in that country.
During the 19 seasons of the Heineken Cup, Cardiff staged seven finals, with four taking place in London and three in Dublin. The remaining finals were held in Edinburgh (two), Paris (two) and Bordeaux.
European fixtures will be announced on Thursday