Ulster to host Pro12 final at Kingspan Stadium in May

The news that Ravenhill is to host the Pro12 Grand Final in May was announced in Belfast on Monday
The news that Ravenhill is to host the Pro12 Grand Final in May was announced in Belfast on Monday

Ulster have landed a major coup by securing the rights to stage the Pro12 Grand Final at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday 30 May (18:30 BST kick-off).

The tournament organisers confirmed the news in Belfast on Monday.

The move follows the example of the European club competitions which always choose their venues well in advance.

Ulster's new stadium, which was only formally opened last May, meets the 18,000 capacity criteria necessary to host the annual showpiece decider.

The tournament organisers have decided to move away from the tradition of the highest placed finisher at the end of the regular League season having the right to host the final at a stadium of their choice which meets the criteria.

The top two finishers have home draws in the semi-finals, then previously once the finalists were known, the highest finisher would nominate a venue.

The Pro12 comprises four clubs from Ireland, four from Wales, two from Scotland and two from Italy.

The announcement will provide added incentive for Ulster to progress in the competition.

The Irish province currently lie fifth in the standings, two points behind fourth-placed Leinster, who are the holders after beating Glasgow 34-12 in last year's final.

The play-off semi-finals are scheduled to take place the weekend before the decider.

"We are extremely pleased that our bid to host the Pro12 Final was successful," said Ulster Rugby Chief Executive Shane Logan.

"While we hope that our province is in the final, we are fully committed to working with the Pro12 to ensure that regardless of who contests it, that this event is a huge success."

Meanwhile, tournament director David Jordan says the first 'destination final' for the league is evidence of the efforts to build the Pro12 brand.

"We have been working with all our clubs to build the Pro12 rugby brand and the announcement today is an important step in showcasing our fantastic competition.

"Our last five sell-out finals were truly memorable rugby spectacles and, building on this success, we look forward to welcoming fans to Belfast for what will be a fantastic rugby weekend."