As the penultimate stage of Europe’s elite club rugby tournament approaches, France’s Romain Poite will take charge of the first of the Heineken Cup semi-finals when Ulster Rugby clash with Edinburgh Rugby in what promises to be an historic occasion at the Aviva Stadium.
With Edinburgh appearing in a first ever game in the last four, and with 1999 champions, Ulster, bridging a 13-year gap since their last semi-final match, the Dublin contest on Saturday, 28 April looks set to attract another massive attendance as 37,000 tickets have already been snapped up by supporters.
The Heineken Cup referee and assistant referee appointments were made by the ERC Match Officials Sub Committee taking into consideration a comprehensive ongoing review of performances across all relevant tournaments in conjunction with the referee managers in each Union. Throughout the competition, ERC also provides an opportunity for coaches to share their feedback on the performance of match officials and that feedback is considered in the review process.
Poite, who refereed the 2011 final, has been on duty in all seven Heineken Cup weekends to date this season and will be taking of his charge of his 50th
ERC match at the Aviva Stadium.
Meanwhile, Wayne Barnes will referee the second semi-final at the 34,000 capacity Stade Chaban-Delmas when ASM Clermont Auvergne, who have also reached the semi-final stage for the first time, go head-to-head with reigning champions, Leinster Rugby.
The much-anticipated Bordeaux game on Sunday, 29 April, which has already generated ticket sales of 22,000, looks set to be a sell-out as Clermont attempt to derail Leinster’s ambition of winning an unprecedented three titles in four seasons.
HEINEKEN CUP SEMI-FINALS
(Kick-offs local time)
SATURDAY, 28 APRIL
17.45 Ulster Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby – Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Romain Poite (Fra); Assistant Referee 1: Jerome Garces (Fra), Assistant Referee 2: Pascal Gauzere (Fra)
SUNDAY, 29 APRIL
16.00 ASM Clermont Auvergne v Leinster Rugby – Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux
Referee: Wayne Barnes (Eng); Assistant Referee 1: Nigel Owens (Wal), Assistant Referee 2: Dave Pearson (Eng)
Heineken Cup final
– Saturday, 19 May – Twickenham Stadium (17.00)