The enthusiasm of the Scottish public for the IRB Under 21 World Championship was confirmed in style this afternoon when the cumulative attendance at last year’s tournament in England was surpassed – by the end of the pool matches.
With semi-finals and finals still to come some 32,000 supporters have watched the three rounds of pool games in Glasgow, Edinburgh and The Borders, beating the overall attendance at last year’s tournament in England of 30,000.
‘The fans’ response to this world-class tournament has been heart-warming,’ said Scottish Rugby Chief Executive Phil Anderton. ‘They’ve enjoyed some top-class rugby action from players who as we build to the semi-finals and finals are looking more and more like the stars of today, never mind the stars of tomorrow.
‘Once again our thanks to supporters and the many volunteers at the host clubs and here’s to our bumper crowds continuing to lap up the entertainment next week.’
IRB Tournament Director Gethin Jenkins said: ‘The IRB is delighted by the attendance figures in all three areas and by the friendly atmosphere the host clubs have generated. We look forward to an exciting set of matches over the next two rounds and hope spectators will continue to get as much enjoyment from the tournament as they have to date.’
David Williams, chief executive of EventScotland, a key funding partner, added: ‘EventScotland would like to congratulate Scottish Rugby on their organisation and marketing of this tournament which, to date, has secured record numbers of people in attendance at the matches. The success of this tournament so far is extremely positive and bodes well for future aims to host other major rugby tournaments in Scotland and drive towards securing the World Cup in 2015.’
Today’s attendances at Burnbrae were 2,350 for Scotland v Russia and 2,917 for New Zealand v South Africa. At Raeburn Place, 1,200 saw Ireland against France and 1,340 witnessed the Wales v England clash. At Netherdale 600 spectators were in for Italy v Tonga and 1,100 for Australia v Argentina.
The unofficial semi-final pairing for Wednesday is Australia v Ireland and New Zealand v South Africa at Hughenden. At Raeburn Place it’s Wales v France and Italy v Russia and at Netherdale it’s England v Argentina and Scotland v Tonga. Matches kick-off at 5pm and 7.30pm.
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