Tis year's Champions Cup and Challenge Cup sees the introduction of South African teams for the first time in the competition's history.
It is by far the most significant addition to the the tournament, probably in its history, and it has made for one of the most anticipated seasons in years.
However, the opening round as been tainted by shocking attendances across the both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, with the London Irish vs Montpellier and Lions vs Dragons fixtures standing out.
The opening game of the tournament saw London Irish downed 27-32 by their French opposition, but the atmosphere was far from ideal.
Even more shocking was the turnout in Ellis Park for the Challenge Cup fixture between the Lions and the Dragons. Despite a cracker of a game, which finished 31-31, it was seriously marred by the minuscule attendance, resembling the empty stadium games of lockdown.
One Twitter user summed up his experience with a damning assessment:
"Ellis Park absolutely pumping. I can actually hear Kobus Wiese doing commentary whilst sitting on the grand stand."
Disappointing Champions Cup Attendances
— Andries Combrinck (@AJCombrinck) December 10, 2022
London Irish Montpellier
— Graham Love (@glove931) December 9, 2022
Welkom by Ellispark, Dragons! pic.twitter.com/rYi10w8lmc
— LionsWorld (@LionsWorldRugby) December 10, 2022
Dragons head coach Dai Flanagan, however, did not reference the poor turnout in his post-match comments.
"We could have won it but we could have lost so in the end, it's definitely three points gained.
"Physically we knew we had to match them by throwing the first punch in tackles, carries, scrums and lineouts and we did that.
"We've had some sickness in the camp this week so for the boys to pull out that performance was fantastic.
"We were a lot more accurate today than the league meeting two weeks ago and our half-backs really controlled field position and the clock.
"It's a great start to the campaign and we can build on this for the next game against Pau."