Judgment Day IV had broken every attendance record in the history of Welsh domestic rugby before a ball had been kicked at Principality Stadium today and Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies had two things to say to the 68,262 supporters who turned up to show their allegiance to their national sport – ‘thank you’ and ‘please come back soon’.
“Thank you and come back soon.” Gareth Davies to amazing JDIV crowd.
The annual regional double-header which, this year, saw the Cardiff Blues take on the Ospreys followed by the Newport Gwent Dragons versus the Scarlets in back-to-back clashes, surpasses the Welsh domestic record of 58,000 fans who attended the Neath v Llanelli WRU Challenge Cup Final in 1989 and the 65,756-strong record attendance at any match involving a region – when the Ospreys beat Leicester Tigers at Twickenham in the EDF Energy Cup Final in 2008.
“The fourth Judgment Day will go down in history as the moment this event finally came of age. The concept was a sound one from its inception but this year the supporters have bought into it in their droves and it shows you the passion and loyalty of the fans in Wales,” said Davies.
“There is no reason why this celebration of our regional game cannot become an annual sell-out at Principality Stadium and if the supporters who filled our national ground to its rafters this afternoon can continue their commitment to Welsh rugby at regional grounds on a regular basis as well – then Welsh rugby need never look back.
“I would like to personally thank every one of the supporters who put their hands in their pockets today and issued a ringing endorsement of our regional sides. To see an atmosphere in our national ground akin to a Welsh international match for the regional game is heart-warming and shows that, if we can get the product right week in week out, the future is bright for Guinness PRO12 rugby and for our national game in general.
“Thank you to everyone who turned up today, I hope you enjoyed the experience and come back again soon, not just to Principality Stadium, but to the Liberty Stadium, to Parc y Scarlets to Rodney Parade and to the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.”
Mark Davies, Chief Executive of Pro Rugby Wales said: “Judgement Day’s double-header this year has been a fantastic and exciting conclusion to a successful series of Welsh derbies over the past six weeks that have demonstrated the spirit and passion of our game and our supporters and captured the imagination of rugby supporters far and wide.
“It’s been one of the most significant periods we’ve ever had in a block for professional rugby in Wales and we have seen more than 100,000 supporters enjoying Welsh derbies over the past six weeks at a critical stage in the Guinness PRO12 battle. To have attracted such great support at our home grounds and the national stadium during this short space of time is something we are delighted with and proud to have worked hard together to achieve.”
Martin Anayi, managing director, PRO12 Rugby: “The Guinness PRO12 continues to go from strength-to-strength and part of that is due to the development of ‘super weekends’ like Judgement Day. It is hard to believe this event is only four years old and it is a credit to the WRU, Pro Rugby Wales and the regions that it has captured the imagination not just of fans of each Welsh region, but of ‘big eventers’ and rugby fans from across the world. With a record crowd figure, a great atmosphere and welcoming the Guinness PRO12’s millionth fan, through the gates of Principality Stadium, it has been a fantastic weekend in Cardiff for the championship.”
Rory Sheridan, Head of Sponsorship, Diageo Europe said: “Judgement Day IV was a huge success with over 68,000 rugby fans buying tickets to watch two fantastic games of Guinness PRO12 action. It is great to see how much this event has grown over the four years and this highlights the strength of rugby in Wales and in the Guinness PRO12. Let’s see if we can beat it next season!”