Cardiff, Bilbao to host rugby showpieces


Cardiff and Bilbao to host rugby finals Image: Coliseum GSVA

Cardiff (capital of Wales, UK) will host the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals in 2025, with the LaLiga club Athletic Bilbao home ground – the San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, Spain – chosen as the venue for the 2026 finals weekend, the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) announced on January 31st.

‘REUTERS’ stated that the very first Champions Cup final was played in Cardiff in 1996, and this will be the eighth occasion for the Welsh capital to host the event, which will be held at the Principality Stadium.

The European Rugby Champions Cup is an annual rugby union tournament organized by the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). It is the top-tier competition for clubs who compete in a predominantly European league.

The EPCR Challenge Cup is an annual rugby union competition organized by the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). It is the second-tier competition for clubs based in European leagues behind the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Lausanne (Switzerland)-based the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the governing body and organizer of the two major club rugby union tournaments: The European Rugby Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup.

The Athletic Bilbao, commonly known as just Athletic, is a Spanish professional football club based in the City of Bilbao in the Basque Country of Spain. It plays in LaLiga, the top men’s professional football division of the Spanish football league system.

The 53,289-capacity San Mamés Stadium is an all-seater football stadium in Rafael Moreno Pitxitxi Kalea, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. Inaugurated on September 16th, 2013, the stadium replaced the ‘old’ San Mamés as the home of the Athletic Bilbao.

The 74,500-capacity Millennium Stadium, known since 2016 as the Principality Stadium for sponsorship reasons, is the national stadium of Wales (UK). Located in Cardiff, it is the home of the Wales national rugby union team and has also held Wales’s national football team games.

Observed Dominic McKay, EPCR Chairman, “In returning to Cardiff 30 years on from the iconic first final means a great to deal to us and our friends here in the City, and we will celebrate the milestone appropriately.”

‘REUTERS’ further stated that Bilbao’s San Mamés Stadium has hosted the finals weekend on one previous occasion, in 2018, the only time the event has been held outside of European rugby’s traditional top five nations.

Concluded McKay, “For 2026, we cannot wait to return to Bilbao, which hosted a superb celebration of rugby in a world-class destination in 2018.”

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