Single-round attendance record smashed in United Rugby Championship

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The latest set of United Rugby Championship fixtures have set a new record for single-round attendance, as 135,747 fans attended a total of eight matches.

The figure surpasses the previous best of 123,207 set in round 11 last season, which was also the highest-attended season with 1.6 million tickets sold.

The first seven games of the recent round eight were played across the holiday period in December, with reigning champions Munster drawing in a sell-out crowd of 25,600 against Leinster in a highly anticipated fixture.

Cape Town-based Stormers then attracted 39,925 fans, the most of the round, for the derby with Pretoria’s Bulls while the clash between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh was sold out.

The 19,703 spectators that attended the final game of the round in Durban, where the Sharks took on the Lions, pushed the total into unprecedented territory.

“This is a major positive not only for the BKT URC but for the sport of rugby,” said United Rugby Championship chief executive Martin Anayi.

“Our clubs are innovating and collaborating to grow their crowds and attract new fans to rugby and this fantastic achievement speaks to their work throughout the season.

“Fans are turning up more often across Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales because of the engaging match-day experiences at our clubs and the competitiveness and jeopardy of the BKT URC.

“I would also give great credit to our broadcast partners who understand how vital kick-off times are in allowing our teams to maximise their attendances and create memorable occasions.”

Anayi added: “We’ve seen great drama across the festive season and it’s very encouraging to see the interest in BKT URC continue to grow in what is shaping up to be our best season yet.”

All eyes now turn to the final fixture of round nine on January 27 as the Bulls prepare to host the Lions at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

The total for that round stands at 119,414 and a crowd of 16,334 would break the record once again.