The Rugby Groud Guide

About Me

From "Midnight Rugby", by Stephen Jones

"I love stadiums. Each of the arenas where rugby is played is emphatically different; each has its own appearance, atmosphere and facilities, its own concept of design, whether uniform, even bowl-like, or piecemeal, bunged together bit by bit as each wedge of cash has become available. Their greatness or otherwise lies in something other than the identity of the team that plays in them, lies even in something other than the atmosphere created by the crowd there."

 

Ask yourself if the following scenario sounds familiar. You take half a day off work. As you set off north (or south, east or west) it starts to sleet. There are traffic jams on the M1, M6, M5 or M40 (or, indeed, all four). By the time you've found somewhere to park, struggled to find the ground, and to get through the turnstiles, your team is already losing. And it all goes downhill from there. Your feet slowly freeze to the floor. You finally arrive back home at three in the morning, and wake your partner up with: "It was great, I had a wonderful time." And you mean it.

 

If this rings true, then this site is for you.

 

First of all, I had better make a confession. I have long considered myself a fan of the round, rather than the oval, ball game. In the past I have made an annual pilgrimage to Twickenham, usually for a club final, but my excursions to watch football have always outnumbered those to see rugby. 



Partly this was down to simple choice. There are loads more first-class football teams here in London than there are rugby. After all, of the four teams that contest the annual season opener at Twickenham only one - Harlequins - plays in the capital. The other three have their home grounds in High Wycombe, Reading and Watford, and not even the most rose-tinted estate agent would claim these were part of London. 



But in recent seasons I have been watching more rugby. Perhaps because it is cheaper to buy tickets which are easier to obtain. Perhaps I have simply grown to enjoy the more intimate atmosphere of smaller grounds. Perhaps I have just got fed up with the constant hype that constantly surrounds the football premiership, accompanied by the tittle tattle that dominates even broadsheet sports pages.

 

Rugby supporters are the lifeblood of the game, and always have been. But with the stampede into professionalism and increasingly odd, television-driven dates and times for games, life is much easier for the armchair supporter than for those who trail to distant cities for an evening kick-off during a November blizzard. Those who bother to make such a trip deserve all the support they can get, but in these increasingly commercialised times the humble  travelling supporter can often feel forgotten in the hurly-burly of corporate packaging.

 

Mike Miles, Publisher

www.scrumdown.org.uk 

 



 

Is it so bad if Rugby turns into Football? (Tue, 09 Oct 2018)
The new rugby season is a month old, but this is my first blog of the season, so let’s ride my hobby-horse of how rugby is coming to resemble football. It is because the cry, so often last season, was that rugby was becoming football. Coaches being sacked, the developing transfer market, players talking back … Continue reading Is it so bad if Rugby turns into Football?
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Mallinder’s Northampton downfall has parallels with Wenger at Arsenal (Tue, 29 May 2018)
Longevity has come up short. The announcement that Arsène Wenger would leave Arsenal meant this season was the last for the longest-serving club heads in football and rugby’s premierships. Similar to Wenger at Arsenal, Jim Mallinder at Northampton had gone from managing the champions to missing out on a place in the top four for … Continue reading Mallinder’s Northampton downfall has parallels with Wenger at Arsenal
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Does Club Rugby need to be Marketed better? (Tue, 01 May 2018)
Is rugby popular, or not very popular at all? The answer is, perhaps weirdly, both. When it comes to international rugby, cup finals, or some annual “special” games, it attracts big numbers. 55,000 fans went to Murrayfield to see Saracens beat Clermont in 2017, 74,000 watched Wales beat Scotland, 82,000 watched England beat Wales and … Continue reading Does Club Rugby need to be Marketed better?
>> Read more

Rugby’s Blame Game (Thu, 12 Apr 2018)
  As rugby union’s professionalism advances, and the stress on players continues to grow, only a drastic reduction in games for the elite players can avert a car crash of seismic proportions for the sport.       According to an excellent piece of research by player agency Esportif Intelligence, England’s players had played an … Continue reading Rugby’s Blame Game
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England’s failure. Blame it on…. (Tue, 27 Mar 2018)
After England’s failure at the Six Nations, finishing only above Italy, (at least no- one has pretended that it was anything but a failure) the knives have all too predictably been going in all directions. Quite a few have landed in Eddie Jones’ back, but many commentators have looked at the Irish and asked what … Continue reading England’s failure. Blame it on….
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