THE Six Nations is less than a month from kick-off but for some Ireland fans the action will be confined to TV screens with tickets being sold for almost €1,000 online.
Tickets for Ireland's potential crunch match against England in March are currently being sold online for a staggering €974, which has angered fans throughout the four provinces and beyond.
This is now affecting Irish rugby fans who were not lucky enough to purchase tickets through the IRFU’s (Irish Rugby Football Union) official ticketing website.
Irish Rugby’s official website lists the most expensive seat in Dublin’s Aviva stadium at €105 while supporters could buy restricted seats with restricted views for a relatively cheap €30.
As Ireland's two home matches in the tournament have now sold out from official ticketing sources, fans are now turning towards websites in search of a chance to watch the action in person.
But this is not coming cheap as fans are being faced with the prospect of having to fork out more than eight times more than face value for tickets.
Ireland kick of their campaign away to Scotland on February 4 where second-hand tickets are being sold on ViaGoGo for a comparatively cheap price of £64.
However, home fans in Dublin will be forced to fork out more than €500 for a chance to watch their team play.
Ireland plays its first home game against France on February 25 where sellers are asking up to €665 for tickets.
The extortionate prices have caused anger among some fans who believe Irish Rugby should be doing more to make tickets affordable for all supporters.
“A simple trawl through the sites by anyone in the IRFU genuinely interested in putting a stop to black market tickets would identify fairly easily, the companies and corporations and indeed individuals involved in selling tickets to agencies," said one Belfast-based fan who also told The Irish Post about the expense of following Ireland's rugby campaigns.
"Two tickets for my wife and I are around £90 each, a return train from Belfast is around £40 and food and beverages are about £50. A single match at the Aviva sets us back around £360 to £400."
Another fan said on twitter: "I am a huge Ireland and have never been able to get tickets, now I know why and what something needs to be done."
The IRFU have warned fans about purchasing tickets from unofficial ticketing websites.
"The IRFU advises customers not to purchase from any unofficial vendors or other third parties. Tickets purchased from unofficial sellers may not be valid, could be refused entry to the ground, and if lost will not be re-issued by the IRFU under any circumstances."
When contacted by The Irish Post Viagogo said that tickets listed at 'silly prices' rarely sell.
A spokesperson added: "Sellers set the prices on viagogo and for popular events such as the Six Nations, prices can be higher because there is huge demand and limited supply.
"However, while a seller can list a ticket at any price he likes, it doesn’t mean the ticket will actually sell at that price. Tickets listed at silly prices rarely sell. The reality is that around half the tickets sold on viagogo are priced at or below face value.
"Price caps don't work because sellers just go back to using the black market where no customer protection exists. A better solution is to operate a free marketplace where everyone can see all of the prices being offered, which therefore keeps prices competitive, in a secure environment.
"The important thing to remember is that if you didn’t get a ticket to an event, then your options are; stay at home, take a risk buying from someone outside the stadium where there’s no guarantee, or buy from a secure platform like viagogo, where every transaction is covered by our 100 per cent guarantee."