Less than two weeks since the Grand Slam but the attention this weekend switches firmly back to the provinces and two massive quarterfinals featuring Munster against Toulon and Leinster against the two-time reigning champions Saracens.
Almost 80,000 fans will fill Thomond Park and the Aviva Stadium on Saturday and Sunday, forsaking the traditional Easter rituals for something which is perhaps more of an effective religion for them.
Bank of Ireland is the main sponsor of both provinces and will be active throughout the weekend.
The advertising hoarding went up this week at the main entrance to Thomond and is in support of the Bank’s partnership with the Irish Heart Foundation helping to train 300,000 teenagers in the practice of CPR.
The Munster team will wear the Irish Heart Foundation logo on their shirts for Saturday’s game and fans are being asked to donate €4, which Bank of Ireland will match up to €80,000 to support the campaign.
“We will have tap and go machines around the ground and activation within, all in support of this great campaign, said Bank of Ireland Sponsorship manager Gemma Bell, speaking to Sport for Business yesterday.
“We had hoped to give over all our advertising in the ground but it’s a clean stadium for the tournament so we’ve had to think harder. We will have buskers around the fan zones and the concourse and will be actively promoting the campaign around all the hospitality areas.”
“The two objectives have been to create awareness and raise money for the training programme, which will give this vital skill to 300,000 young people.”
“After the game, we will be giving the number 8 jersey to Olive Foley and the rest will all be donated to fundraising initiatives with the Irish Heart Foundation to raise even more.”
“We will do similar with Ulster rugby and the Alzheimers Society for the PRO14 game against Ospreys next month and then we will be back with Leinster in May to run the Irish Heart Foundation campaign again with them.”
“We will have 300 customers that we will be entertaining at the Leinster game on Sunday, as well as the tens of thousands who will be in the stadium to cheer on Leinster.”
“Next week we are up to Ballyliffin for our support of the Irish Open Golf so it never stops but it’s all good.”
“First up though it’s about wearing our heart on our sleeves with Munster, the fans, the players and the community on Saturday. Can’t wait.”
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