European Champions Cup semi-finals set for lowest attendance in 15 years with thousands of tickets still on sale for Saracens v Wasps and Leicester v Racing 92

 
Joe Hall
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The presence of world superstar Dan Carter will not be enough to attract a sell-out crowd in Nottingham (Source: Getty)

The European Champions Cup is braced for the worst attended set of semi-finals in Europe's premier rugby competition for 15 years this weekend.

Thousands of general sale tickets are expected to go unsold for both Saturday's Saracens v Wasps match and the Sunday's meeting of Leicester and Racing 92.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) expect 18,000 fans to fill the 24,161 capacity Madejski Stadium in Reading for Saracens v Wasps, while roughly 20,000 people are anticipated inside Nottingham Forest's 30,445 capacity City Ground despite the presence of international superstar Dan Carter in the Racing 92 line-up.

Each of the three English clubs involved have sold out their allocation to supporters but plenty of general sale tickets remain available, with nearly a third of all available seats for the weekend's action now expected to go unfilled.

Read more: Five things to look out for in this weekend's European Champions Cup semi-final

Not since the 2001 semi-finals of the Heineken Cup, when 20,400 watched Stade Francais beat Munster in Paris and 14,010 watched Leicester beat Gloucester at Watford's Vicarage Road, has Europe's top rugby competition suffered such small crowds at the semi-final stage.

Only twice before in that time has the cumulative attendance for the semi-finals dipped below 50,000.

Last year's meeting between Clermont and Saracens at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne was watched by 41,500 fans - more than are expected for both games put together this weekend.

This season marks the first time that both semi-finals have been held in England since 2008, when London Irish and Saracens both lost.

Yet despite the relatively small crowds, EPCR are pleased with sales figures and believes the anticipated 18,500 attendance for Saracens v Wasps is in line with expectations for a semi-final between two English sides.

Adult tickets still available for the game are priced between £35 and £60.

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