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EPCR Confirm Two Very Unusual Locations For Next Two Champions Cup Finals

EPCR Confirm Two Very Unusual Locations For Next Two Champions Cup Finals
By Gavan Casey Updated
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The 2018 and 2019 European Champions Cup finals will break from the usual stadium circuit and take place in pastures new.

The EPCR have confirmed that the 2018 final will take place in Bilbao, Spain, and more specifically at Athletic Bilbao's 53,289-capacity San Mamés Stadium.

2019 will see European club rugby's marquee event back in England, but rather than Twickenham the game will be held at Newcastle United's St. James' Park, which has a near-identical capacity.

One or two of the Irish provinces, then, might be heading back to the Basque country next May, although the region itself will not be represented in the final; Biarritz currently occupy a playoff birth but in France's D2, while Bayonne are doomed to relegation from the Top 14.

EPCR chief Simon Halliday said in the organisation's official statement:

Fans have previously flocked to matches in Spain both in the European Cup and for last season's TOP 14 final, and they will be sure of a unique, atmospheric weekend in 2018.

Newcastle's commitment to the bid also made it an easy decision to award them the finals in 2019, building on their significant experience of staging major sporting occasions including Rugby World Cup 2015 matches.

Where is the Champions Cup final in 2018?


The all-seater San Mamés Stadium is in Bilbao, a city located in the Basque country. Opened in 2013, it was built near the old San Mamés, which had played host to La Liga outfit Athletic Bilbao for almost 100 years prior.

Similar to Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena, the stadium's exterior is equipped with a lighting system which can be programmed to illuminate the panels on its facade,, or to show flashing or moving graphics.

Traditionally, teams visiting the ground for the first time pay homage to Athletic's late idol, Pichichi, by leaving a bouquet of flowers at a bust of the player, which stands near the players' tunnel.


Where is the Champions Cup final in 2019?

St. James' Park, Newcastle, is the seventh-largest football stadium in England, and has been Newcastle United's home ground since 1892.

The game has been used as a rugby venue in the past, most notably during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and for the 2015 and 2016 'Magic Weekends' in rugby league.

The stadium's location is close to the city centre, roughly 500m away from the city's Central Station.


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