Last year, PRO12 organisers decided to move away from the format which gave the highest seeded team to make the playoff final the opportunity to host the game. Instead, they introduced the 'Destination Final'. Ravenhill was the chosen stadium. In the final, Glasgow easily defeated Munster.
This year, Edinburgh's Murrayfield is the destination for Connacht and Leinster as they battle it out for the PRO12 title.
Organisation for the final has been poor.
For one, the game is on Saturday, that's the same evening at the Champions League final. Considering the PRO12 is a league which needs all the publicity it can get, scheduling its biggest game to kick off just two hours before the premier event in European club football is remarkably weak from a PR perspective.
The headlines could have been owned by the Connacht fairytale getting the end it deserves or Johnny Sexton helming Leinster to the title. Instead, it will likely be blown away by images of Cristiano Ronaldo posing as Real Madrid defeat their city rivals.
From the perspective of the fans is where the final is particularly badly organised.
There were two weeks between the last game of the regular season and the playoff semi-finals. The gap between the semis and the final is a week for Leinster and six days for Connacht. It wasn't until Friday and Saturday night that fans knew whether or not they would be heading for Edinburgh this weekend.
The Pro 12 final should be moved to Ravenhill or Limerick. Tough ask for Leinster and Connacht fans to travel to Edinburgh.
— Ken Reid (@bigkenreid) May 21, 2016
Throngs of fans from both will undoubtedly descend on Murrayfield.
Just a week's notice means fans pay extra in terms of both travel and accommodation expenses. According to the Irish Independent, hotel rooms were costing upwards of €800 yesterday.
Rugby fans gouged by airlines, hotels and travel agents for Pro12 final this weekend.#Leinster#Connacht #Pro12Final
— Michael Knowles (@nodknowles) May 23, 2016
The accommodation situation has been exacerbated by the final being on the same weekend as the Edinburgh marathon, an event participants knew about months in advance and so already had many of the hotel rooms available booked.
Similarly, the short time between semi-finals and finals also ensured a scramble for transport. Both sets of fans were undoubtedly attempting to book flights moments after the final whistle in their respective games.
Disappointing that the pro 12 final isn't on in Ireland 😔😔😔😔
— Conor.mortimer (😷)⚽️ (@Conmort) May 21, 2016
As always, sports fans are a resourceful species and will find ways of getting there to support their team but it could have been so much easier for them with a modicum of foresight from organisers.
Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE