Judgement Day – 15th April
Written by Gavin on 5th April 2017
The unique jeopardy of Judgement Day V has been described by stars from the Cardiff Blues, Ospreys, Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons who will face each other in the annual double-header at Principality Stadium on 15th April.
The Blues take on the Ospreys in the opening clash of the day (2.45pm) and Sam Warburton has dubbed his side’s West Wales rivals as a ‘bogey team’ which must be overcome – with both Guinness Pro12 play-off and European Challenge Cup qualification places potentially on the line.
Wales’ capital professional team are mathematically in with a chance of a top four spot in the league – they would need to pick up bonus point wins in at least four of the remaining five rounds of the competition, including JDV, and rely on the fortunes of the likes of both the Scarlets and Ulster to nosedive, to claw back a current 20 point deficit.
And for direct European Challenge Cup qualification they would probably also need to catch the Scarlets, but there will be a play-off for an extra qualification spot this year which is within easier reach (featuring the 8th and 9th placed Pro12 sides).
Dan Biggar, who has played the most Judgement Day minutes of any player (320, matched only by Jack Dixon for the Dragons) and remains unbeaten at the event, is also looking forward to the latest instalment in April and agrees it will be a close fought contest.
“We have a good record against the Blues and we always back ourselves whoever we are playing,”
…said Biggar, who is relishing the prospect of playing in front of another huge Principality Stadium crowd – with over 45,000 tickets already sold.
“Hopefully we can get a win, but I’m sure it will be tough, probably a one score game.
“From where it (Judgement Day) started, to last year in terms of 62,000-plus fans attending, the improvement makes such a difference to the players.
“Playing in front of big crowds week in week out is what it’s all about for us, as is playing at the Principality Stadium which is the best stadium in the world.
“So if we can get as many people as possible, hopefully get a sell-out, it will make the day even more special for fans and coaches and for players.”
Welsh Rugby pools resources for the fifth incarnation of its Judgement Day extravaganza.
Another impressive turn-out is expected after last year’s 68,262-record attendance and supporters are advised to buy in advance for the showpiece Guinness PRO12 double-derby day.
Cardiff Blues take on the Ospreys in the first match of the day, kicking off at 2.45pm, swiftly followed by Newport Gwent Dragons versus Scarlets at 5.15pm.
At last year’s Judgement Day contest the Ospreys took the spoils (Cardiff Blues 27 Ospreys 40) in the first derby with the Scarlets victorious against Newport Gwent Dragons (Newport Gwent Dragons 20 Scarlets 34).