Saturday’s fantastic crowd of 26,632 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, where the Vodacom Bulls edged the Emirates Lions in a humdinger of a local derby, helped push the total attendance for round nine to 146,046 setting a new record for a single round attendance in the league.

Earlier this month a figure of 135,747 was reached for round eight in the Vodacom URC, which saw bumper crowds and sold-out venues across Christmas and early New Year. Now, just a number of weeks later, the final game of round nine has helped to shatter the previous record by at least 10,000.

This comes off the back of a record 1.6million total attendance for the 2022/23 Vodacom URC season which also saw the highest-ever crowd for the league’s Grand Final (56,334) while an all-time high of 37.4million watched across the campaign.

Seven of the ninth-round games took place across the New Year period, with the DHL Stormers continuing their trend of attracting big numbers for their home derbies as 37,246 packed into their Cape Town home to see them take on the Hollywoodbets Sharks.

Commenting on yet another attendance milestone, Martin Anayi, United Rugby Championship CEO, said: “To be acknowledging another attendance record so soon after setting the previous achievement is hard to believe. Once again, we take our hats off to our clubs who are really taking great strides in their approach to promoting their games and providing fans with match-day experiences that keeps drawing them back.

“Alongside the strong attendances, we know the broadcast audiences were also in high numbers and it’s clear that the Vodacom URC is going from strength to strength thanks to the support of everyone involved and the ever-increasing competitive nature of the league.”

Round 9 – Attendance by fixture
Benetton Rugby v Zebre Parma: 5,000
Edinburgh Rugby v Glasgow Warriors: 37,904
DHL Stormers v Hollywoodbets Sharks: 37,246
Ospreys v Cardiff Rugby: 8,159
Connacht v Munster: 7,240
Dragons RFC v Scarlets: 7,617
Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions: 26,632
Total attendance: 146,046

Previous best single round attendances:
135,747 – Round 8 of the 2023/24 season
123,307 – Round 11 of the 2022/23 season
121,117 – Round 21 of the 2017/18 season
117,448 – Round 10 of the 2022/23 season