The Parker Pen Challenge Cup final will be staged at the Madejski Stadium, Reading, on Saturday, 22 May (kick-off 12,00 noon).

ERC, the tournament organisers, have announced the venue for the final well in advance of the semi-finals, which will be completed on the weekend of 24 / 25 April, to set up a bumper European finals weekend alongside the Heineken Cup final at Twickenham the following day.

Bath Rugby will meet Montferrand in the semi-finals, the two legs being played on 10 and 24 April, with NEC Harlequins clashing with Connacht on 11 and 25 April to settle who will be at the Madejski Stadium on 22 May. The tournament winner will gain automatic qualification for the 2004 / 2005 Heineken Cup tournament.

Last May over 18,000 spectators saw London Wasps beat Bath Rugby 48-30 in a thrilling nine-try Parker Pen Challenge Cup final at the Madejski Stadium and ERC are delighted to be taking the final back to the ground.

‘The Madejski Stadium is a perfect venue – great access by road, rail and air, a superb playing surface and outstanding viewing for spectators – for the final and we are confident we will have another great match and occasion on Saturday, 22 May,’ said Derek McGrath, ERC Chief Executive.

‘We have four outstanding teams in the semi-finals, any two of which will provide a cracking final. And, with the Heineken Cup final being played nearby at Twickenham the following day, supporters have a great opportunity to see two European finals on one weekend.’

In 2001, when the tournament was the Parker Pen Shield, NEC Harlequins booked their Heineken Cup ticket when they beat Narbonne 42-33 in another great Madejski Stadium final that went into extra time.

Tickets for the 2004 final are priced at £15 and £25 with under-16s, subject to availability, gaining admission at half-price.

Tickets can be booked on the ticket hotline by telephoning 0118 9681000.

For more details contact:

Diarmaid Murphy, ERC PR Manager
Phone: 00353 1 676 9286; Mobile: 00353 876 942 022