THE MUNSTER SUPPORTERS that won deserved praise for making their voices heard against Harlequins, and presence felt, are staying away from Thomond and Musgrave Park this season.
While three of the Irish provinces experienced jumps in attendance figures for RaboDirect Pro12 matches, Munster have seen a decline of more that 750 supporters for home games this season.
With just one round of fixtures remaining, the league released average attendance figures for the season. The reading is good, in general, for the Irish sides.
Leinster, boosted by the sell-out against Munster at the Aviva Stadium last October, Leinster have the highest average [19,791] in the league, up 768 on last season.
Munster [14,137] are down 761 and Connacht [5,154] are up 501 but the biggest number shunt this season has come from the current league leaders, Ulster [10,307]. That number is up a whopping 2,011 on 2011/12 and should grow again next season as Ravenhill is being expanded. Here are all the figures:
Leinster 19,791 (19,023 + 768), Munster 14,137 (14,798 – 761), Ulster 10,307 (8,296 + 2,011), Ospreys 9,291 (7,686 + 1,605), Blues 8,933 (7,275 + 1,658), Scarlets 7,803 (9,006 – 1,203), Dragons 6,518 (6,098 + 420), Connacht 5,154 (4,653 + 501), Edinburgh 4,600 (4,252 + 348), Glasgow 4,541 (4,018 + 523), Treviso 3,510 (3,900 – 390), Zebre 1,977 (first season).
Despite the failing gate receipts, Munster have taken part in three of the Pro12′s five most attended matches.
The top attendance this season was 46,280 for Leinster v Munster at the revamped Lansdowne Road. The ‘Judgement Day’ double-header between the four Welsh regions, at the Millennium Stadium on 30 March, attracted a crowd of 36,174.
Top Pro12 attendance figures: 46,280 Leinster v Munster (Aviva Stadium); 36,174 Blues v Ospreys/Dragons v Scarlets (Millennium Stadium); 23,587 Munster v Ulster (Thomond Park); 23,037 Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park); 19,443 Ospreys v Scarlets (Liberty Stadium).