Judgement Day IV, Welsh rugby's Guinness Pro12 double-header to be played out in Cardiff on Saturday 30th April, has sold out the Principality Stadium middle and lower tiers and is three months ahead of record sales figures hit last year.
Organisers have now opened the Stadium’s upper tier – something which did not happen until the final two weeks of sale in 2015 when a record Pro12 attendance figure of 53,000 was achieved.
The fourth incarnation of the event, which sees the Cardiff Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30pm) and the Dragons take on the Scarlets (5.00pm) in back-to-back matches, was backed by WRU chairman Gareth Davies to fill the national ground to its 74,500 capacity in a message sent to clubs over Christmas.
Now it looks like the chairman’s prophecy is set to come true as fans snap up tickets to see their international heroes meet each other at Wales’ national ground in regional colours.
“The response from supporters to Judgement Day has grown year on year and the event has become a must-visit part of the annual rugby calendar,” said Davies.
“We need the rest of the rugby watching population in Wales to rally round for one final push now so we can fill Principality Stadium to its rafters for this true celebration of our national game.
“All three of our home Six Nations matches at Principality Stadium sold-out in record time this season and Judgement Day is a fourth opportunity for supporters to see many of their heroes competing in an elite environment under the same roof.
“No one knows what the atmosphere will be like at a sold-out Principality Stadium for a Judgement Day fixture but, based on previous seasons, it’s an extremely exciting prospect.
“We will be adding the carnival mood of two top class pro rugby fixtures to the kind of mood of atmosphere you can only normally get at a home Wales international and throwing a little local Welsh rivalry to the mix.
“These matches have fast become ‘must-see’ games, the Judgement Day event is a true celebration of Welsh pro rugby and we are delighted that it has once again captured the imagination.”
Last year Judgement Day saw the Scarlets climb back into the Pro12's top six as they beat Newport Gwent Dragons 10-29 with a clinical display in front of the record crowd and Ospreys secured their place in the Pro12 play-offs with a convincing 23-31 win over Cardiff Blues.
“Welsh derbies capture the true spirit and passion of Welsh Rugby – we’ve seen the positive success of our derby series over Christmas and New Year and how much our supporters enjoy these games,” said Mark Davies, Chief Executive of Pro Rugby Wales.
“It’s the only place to see all the best players in Wales - current internationals and future stars - playing on the same pitch on the same day.
“With the added excitement, profile and momentum of the Six Nations we have the opportunity to follow on and make Judgement Day a very special event in the calendar for Welsh rugby and our supporters.”
Tickets for Judgement Day IV have been frozen at 2015 prices and can be purchased now at £10 per person (booking fees apply) from www.wru.wales/tickets (where print-at-home is available from Friday 5th February), by calling 0844 847 1881, in person from the WRU Ticket Office on Westgate Street, from each of the four regions or from Tesco stores throughout Wales.
Cardiff Blues are the ‘home’ side in the first fixture of the day facing the visiting Ospreys, with the Newport Gwent Dragons hosting the Scarlets for the second clash.
“It’s great to hear that tickets sales are so strong for Judgement Day IV and we are all looking forward to the game with Ospreys at Principality Stadium," said Cardiff Blues Head Coach, Danny Wilson,
“We would encourage our fans to get involved and enjoy what has become one of the biggest dates in the diary every season and a real celebration of pro rugby in Wales.
“It will be my first experience coaching the Cardiff Blues at Judgement Day and I’ve been told about how special and memorable the atmosphere was last season. It would be fantastic to see a sell-out crowd in the Welsh capital to enjoy watching all four teams in action.”
Newport Gwent Dragons Director of rugby Lyn Jones added: “As I predicted last season, this event will grow and will become an annual sell-out at Principality Stadium.
“We will look forward again to Judgement Day IV and this year isn’t any different. It is a huge April with the European Challenge cup Quarter Final and the Ospreys at Rodney Parade.
“I look forward to seeing all of our fans supporting us and celebrating Regional Rugby at Principality Stadium once again this year.”
Season tickets purchased from either of the home teams – Blues and Dragons – include access to Judgement Day IV, with fans asked to liaise with the respective box offices.
Both matches will be shown live on television with BBC Wales showing the first match and S4C the second.
JUDGEMENT DAY IV
Saturday 30th April 2016
Match 1: Cardiff Blues v Ospreys (BBC Wales) – Kick off 1430hrs
Match 2: Newport Gwent Dragons v Scarlets (S4c) – Kick off 1700hrs