Big Weekend sees record crowds attend PRO12

A total of 99,617 attended Guinness PRO12 'Big Weekend' over Christmas period

Close to 100,000 supporters attended Guinness PRO12 games in Round 11 which is the second-highest figure in the history of the competition.

The combined gate of 99,617 beats the 92,085 total set in Round 5 in the 2010/11 season which included a 50,645 attendance at Aviva Stadium for Leinster Rugby v Munster Rugby.

It also comes close to matching the 104,295 attendance of Round 21 in the 2015/16 season which included a 68,262 gate at the Principality Stadium for Judgement Day.

In the third 'Big Weekend' of the season games at Kingspan Stadium, Thomond Park and BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park hosted sell-out crowds while BT Murrayfield, Liberty Stadium and Stadio Monigo also recorded their highest attendances of the campaign.

Martin Anayi, CEO for the Guinness PRO12, paid tribute to the dedicated efforts of the clubs and the commitment of their supporters.

"Our clubs and supporters have really bought into the Big Weekend concept since it began earlier this season and to see so many fans turn out across one weekend is a testament to that,” Anayi said.

"The fact that all of these games were played at the regular home grounds of our clubs underlines the tremendous achievement of attracting so many fans. There is a real feel-good factor around the Guinness PRO12 right now thanks to the success of our teams in European competition and fans are also responding to the positive play and record number of tries being scored in the Championship this season.”

The biggest crowd of the round came at Thomond Park for Munster Rugby v Leinster Rugby (26,400) while Ospreys Rugby v Scarlets (19,514) attracted the biggest gate at a Welsh Regional fixture outside of Principality Stadium since 2008.

Round 11 'Big Weekend' Attendances

Ulster Rugby 23 Connacht Rugby 7
Kingspan Stadium: 17,613

Benetton Rugby Treviso 23 Zebre Rugby 12
Stadio Monigo: 3,400

Cardiff Blues 27 Newport-Gwent Dragons 16
BT Cardiff Arms Park: 11,654 

Edinburgh Rugby 12 Glasgow Warriors 25
BT Murrayfield: 21,036

Munster Rugby 29 Leinster Rugby 17
Thomond Park: 26,400

Ospreys Rugby 19 Scarlets 9
Liberty Stadium: 19,514

Total attendance: 99,617
The best comparable round of fixtures to the past week's games came in 2012-13 in Round 12 where the combined gates were 87,998.