Judgement Day III is on target to break the all-time attendance record for a Welsh regional rugby match at the Millennium Stadium after ticket sales went through the 40,500 mark today (Friday).
The two biggest crowds to watch a Welsh region at the national stadium have both seen crowds in excess of 41,000, a figure that is now edging closer for the big day in Cardiff on Saturday 25th April.
Cardiff Blues’ 26-26 Heineken Cup semi-final draw with Leicester Tigers in 2009, which saw the Tigers win a controversial ‘penalty shout-out’, was attended by 44,212 fans.
And the Ospreys helped bring a 41,018 strong crowd to the national ground for their 30-3 EDF Energy Trophy semi-final win over Saracens in 2008.
But now both regions are set to break their own records as well, as the all-time figure, in the all-Welsh double-derby day clash in Cardiff on Saturday week.
The only other domestic Welsh match at the Millennium with a superior crowd figure is the 2000 WRU Challenge Cup Final between Llanelli and Swansea (a 22-12 win for the Scarlets) which boasted a 49,600 attendance, in the days before regional rugby was formed, and even that figure could be surpassed.
Ospreys centre Josh Matavesi will have the Guinness PRO12 play-offs in his sights when his side takes on the Blues in the Judgement Day III opening encounter (2.30pm).
The Ospreys sit in fourth, eight points clear of Leinster, after a bonus-point win over Benetton Treviso and, after Judgment Day III, they welcome league leaders Glasgow Warriors to Swansea before finishing the campaign away to Connacht.
He said: "It’s going to be a good occasion there’s a lot of tickets been sold and we know what our supporters are like, they get up for the big occasion. It’s going to be loud and it’s going to be a tough game.”
Josh Navidi has called upon the Cardiff Blues fans to make themselves heard, when his side take on the Ospreys in the event day opener.
“It is just next door to where we play but with all the different crowds coming down from the different regions it could feel like an away game, so we need the Blues fans to be in good voice on the day to give us an edge.”
Dragons captain Rynard Landman is looking forward to attempting to turn the Millennium Stadium into a home venue as East meets West in the capital when his side takes on the Scarlets in the second match of the day (4.45pm).
“I think everyone is excited to play in an event like Judgement Day, all four regions under one roof, it will be great,” said Landman.
Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland, who scored a try and a penalty during his side’s 17-13 defeat to the Blues at last year’s event is also looking forward to the Judgement Day occasion as well as the game.
“I’ve been impressed with Judgement Day so far. I think it’s a great idea and hopefully more and more people will buy into the concept because you get to watch two high quality games for a very reasonable price,” he added.
“I don’t see why this can’t snowball into what Twickenham have got going for them, they sell out the stadium for their games and it will be nice if we can get to that stage in Wales and I don’t see why we can’t do that."
There are a number of tickets for the upper tier still available from the Liberty Stadium, online at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets, and via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665, priced at £10 each.
You can also buy now from www.wru.wales/tickets, the WRU ticket office on Westgate Street, each of the four regions, at local Tesco stores or by calling Ticketmaster on 0844 847 1881, with fans encouraged to buy in advance as a strong ‘walk-up’ crowd is expected.