Irish rugby fans will return to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium for the first time since February 2020 next month, with 3,000 spectators to attend the July 3 match against Japan and 6,000 to be in the stands for the clash with the USA on July 10.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) will allocate 300 tickets for the Japan game to front line workers in recognition of their contribution to society during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the USA game, around 25% of the reduced capacity allocation will go to rugby clubs via their branch ticket office. Any tickets not taken up by clubs will be reallocated by the branch ticket office, with tickets to be priced at €40 (£34/$48) for both games.

Remaining tickets will be allocated in reduced numbers to players’ partners and family members, long-term ticket holders and IRFU sponsors and media partners. Attendees will be required to adhere to strict COVID-19 safety protocols, with face coverings to be worn at all times except when eating and drinking.

The Irish government announced its fan pilot events at the end of May, with the two international rugby matches forming part of the programme. Crowd limits for the fixtures at Aviva Stadium have now been confirmed, with the venue to operate at 5.8% and 12% capacity for the matches.

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said: “Firstly I would like to thank the government for their approval of these two international rugby fixtures as pilot events. It has been a long time since the Ireland team have played in front of live, albeit limited, support at the Aviva Stadium.

“These games are initial positive steps on the journey back to hopefully full stadia across the Island. The numbers are small, but I am sure spectators will make themselves heard in cheering on the team. We look to deliver two successful safe events, as our part in the government-approved sporting and cultural pilots in the months ahead.

“We hope that this programme, if successful, will put us all in a strong position to welcome back larger numbers of fans to the Aviva Stadium in the autumn when we will have three international rugby fixtures including games against New Zealand and Argentina.”

Aviva Stadium had been due to stage matches at the ongoing UEFA Euro 2020 national team football tournament but was stripped of hosting rights amid doubts over its ability to welcome supporters.

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