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Provinces combine for Aviva opener

Guinness PRO12 Editor

15 Apr 2010

AvivaStadiumFeb2010

The four Irish provinces will split into two sides for the historic opening match at the new Aviva Stadium.

Magners League outfits Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster will all be involved in celebrating the completion of Ireland’s new national arena some three-and-a-half years after building work began.

Connacht and Munster will join together to take on a Leinster and Ulster side on Saturday, July 31 as Irish rugby moves from its temporary Croke Park home to the site of the old Landsdowne Road.

"This promises to be a great occasion to open the Aviva Stadium to the Irish rugby public," said Philip Browne, the chief executive of the Irish Rugby Football Union. 

"It was felt that a combined provinces fixture would be the most appropriate way to do this, providing a look back into the history of the game while also creating a new chapter for Irish rugby." 

Leinster and Ulster were the first representative teams to play at the old Lansdowne Road nearly 133 years ago on December 16, 1876. 

Both provinces were also on hand to play the final game, ‘The Last Stand’, at the world famous stadium on New Year’s Eve 2006, when Leinster beat Ulster 20-12 in the Magners League.

The first international to be played at the new stadium will take place on Saturday, November 6 when World Champions South Africa visit Dublin.

Ireland will then face Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina on successive weekends before the stadium hosts its first Six Nations game on February 13, 20111 when Grand Slam winners France will be the opposition.