THE British and Irish Cup has proved to be an excellent competition for Worcester Warriors this season.

Saturday’s 24-10 victory over Pontypridd was their seventh in a row and secured them a place in the semi-finals.

But it is still difficult to get away from the fact that the tournament has failed to capture the imagination of the public.

Only 4,605 fans were at Sixways to watch the quarter-final success against the Welsh Premiership leaders, including the 10 coach-loads of supporters Pontypridd brought with them.

While there have been higher attendances for Worcester home matches in the same competition this season, a place in the last four wasn’t enough to tempt Sixways supporters out to back their team in the January cold.

Perhaps this is the reason the final is not being staged at a neutral venue.

Of the quartet still vying for the trophy — Warriors, holders Leinster ‘A’, Bristol and Doncaster Knights — one lucky team will have the luxury of home advantage for April’s finale.

For a tournament which is effectively the third tier of European club competition, would it not carry more gravitas if both of the teams in the final started on a level playing field?

But if Warriors, and other teams for that matter, are struggling to attract supporters to their own grounds at the business end of the tournament, why would supporters travel?

Organisers obviously want the final watched by a sizeable crowd and if the only way to ensure that is to offer the potential carrot of home advantage, then who can blame them?

Even if it does little to enhance the reputation of the competition amongst the fans.