Get ready to tackle a bouncing weekend of rugby, carnival vibes and great fun for all ages when the Heineken Champions Cup Final and Challenge Cup Final come to Toon. This May, Newcastle will host an outstanding weekend of sport at St James’ Park for the European Rugby Finals (Friday 9 – Saturday 10 May).  Tickets have pretty much all sold out for both rugby finals but fans and newbies to the sport will be able soak up the buzz at dedicated fan zones on the Quayside and around the city all weekend. Here’s to another hot summer!

What is the European Rugby Finals Weekend?

The European Rugby Challenge Cup which takes place on Friday and the European Rugby Champions Cup on Saturday (you may also know this as the Heineken Champions Cup) are the two final, decider matches of an annual rugby union competition for the top two tiers of European rugby clubs. If you don't usually follow rugby, all you really need to know is this is going to be a weekend of world-class, nail-biting sport and lots of fun around the city too!

And this is just the beginning...  the Newcastle Finals weekend fits into a year of amazing sport here in Newcastle and Gateshead. In September 2019 - St James' Park will host (for the first time) one of the Quilters International test matches where England will take on Italy before they head off to Tokyo for the Rugby World Cup 2020.

Fans of rugby league will not be left out as Newcastle will host some of the Rugby League World Cup matches and opening ceremony in 2021.

Newcastle Quayside

Official Fanzone on Newcastle’s Quayside

Fans, families, those who know nothing about rugby but love a celebration – the official fan zone, dubbed the Champions Rugby Village, will set up camp on the iconic Newcastle Quayside. Expect family-friendly activities, food and drink stalls, a stage and big screen entertainment in the fanzone which will run from underneath the Tyne Bridge along to Gateshead Millennium Bridge. The fanzone is open to everyone so just drop in and enjoy the carnival vibe.

The fun in the Champions Rugby Village will kick off on Thursday 9 May in the afternoon and will be open between 11am and 11pm on both Friday and Saturday before a spectacular firework display will bring it, and the weekend, to a close on 11pm on Saturday night.

Where else can we enjoy the rugby build up?

That’s not all – the whole city will be buzzing with excitement and activity over the weekend. You’ll be treated to all manner of events and entertainment at locations from Baltic Square on Gateshead Quayside to Blackett Street in the heart of Newcastle city centre; from Strawberry Place alongside the iconic stadium to St James’ Park metro car park. Further details will be released nearer the time.

Fan zones across Newcastle for European Champion Cup and Heineken Champion Cup

Where to eat and drink near St James’ Park and the Fanzone on Newcastle Quayside

Not only will there be tasty food concession stalls, street food pop-ups and plenty of treats to keep you well fuelled at the various fanzones around the city, Newcastle and Gateshead have a plethora of top-quality restaurants, bars, cafes and pubs for you to try. By the River Brew Co. sits under the Tyne Bridge on Gateshead Quayside or if you're feeling fancy, Dobson and Parnell is nestled under the iconic bridge on the Newcastle side of the river. Fans will find the Champion's Village is also not far from Ouseburn where you can enjoy tasty food and drink at Tyne Bar, Free Trade and Cycle Hub to name just a few.  

Stephen the Seahorse - Newcastle Finals 2019 Mascot for European Professional Rugby Cup

Meet Stephen the Seahorse

Fortuitously, Stephen the Seahorse’s favourite colours are black and white and his drink of choice is an interesting blend of sea water and Newcastle Brown Ale. Stephen the Seahorse is the loveable official mascot for the European Rugby Finals weekend in Newcastle and will be delighting crowds throughout the weekend of rugby. Make sure to go say hi, oh and maybe don’t ask him why the long face?

But why is Stephen a seahorse? The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted two grey seahorses flanking the shield on Newcastle United Football Clubs shirt badge. These are elements of Newcastle city’s coat of arms – seahorses are said to be a reminder of Newcastle’s heritage as a seaport. A school of seahorses can also be spotted circling the tower at Newcastle’s Civic Centre.

How do I get tickets?

It’s safe to say this is a canny popular weekend of rugby at St James’ Park. Organisers have told us that Newcastle 2019 is the fastest-selling Heineken Champions Cup final ever, with fans waiting for news of any limited release of tickets becoming available. There are a handful of tickets available for Friday 10 May’s European Rugby Challenge Cup final but you will need to be quick!

Trophy Tour for European Champions Cup and Heineken Cup Rugby Newcastle Finals 2019

The Trophies Go On Tour

Take a closer look at the magnificent trophies before the big weekend when both the Heineken Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup go on tour across the region. The European Trophies Tour will be a three-week long affair with 50 events in that time.  Keep your eyes peeled for a fully branded Go North East bus which will be chauffeuring the trophies around the route - alongside staff, volunteers and of course wor Stephen the Seahorse! The full trophies tour schedule takes in stops at major sporting events including The Big One (23 March) and Newcastle United vs Crystal Palace (6 April) both at St James' Park. The trophies will also make an appearance at local community rugby matches, business events and schools across the North East.

Newcastle 2019 Official App: Coming Soon!

During, and in the run up, to the finals weekend fans will also be able to make use of the official Newcastle 2019 app being specially designed to improve the fan experience. The app will provide help with navigation around the city as well as practical information.

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