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 

 



 

Rugby needs to learn the right lessons from Football (Wed, 17 May 2017)
Colin Boag is a regular columnist in The Rugby Paper, and I usually find him worth reading. However, he is one of those rugby writers who like to blame all rugby’s ills on football. He was at it again in a recent column. He was writing about players’ attempts to get others booked, and predictably … Continue reading Rugby needs to learn the right lessons from Football
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Premiership Rugby ambition must be challenged by RFU. (Mon, 08 May 2017)
The Champions Cup final this weekend will lack a team from the Pro 12 for the fifth consecutive season following the Munster and Leinster semi-final defeats. The tournament has become an Anglo-French production, although in those five years only four clubs have made it to the final: Toulon, Saracens, Clermont Auvergne and, last year, Racing … Continue reading Premiership Rugby ambition must be challenged by RFU.
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Championship to Premiership – Mind the Gap (Tue, 25 Apr 2017)
Just to clarify at the outset, I am talking about rugby union’s particular problems with the gap between the Premiership and the Championship, though I am aware of the parallels with the round-ball game. The other Saturday I passed a very pleasant afternoon watching London Scottish end their Championship season with a dismal defeat against … Continue reading Championship to Premiership – Mind the Gap
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The Clash..of two teams. chasing former glories (Tue, 11 Apr 2017)
Bath Rugby v Leicester Tigers April 8 2017 @ Twickenham Stadium   Bath: 27 Leicester:21 There was a time when Bath and Leicester Tigers would meet at Twickenham because they were the best teams in the country playing in an end-of-season shoot-out. On Saturday they were there for a regular-season fixture because Bath have a … Continue reading The Clash..of two teams. chasing former glories
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Bath v Brive – The Rematch (Tue, 04 Apr 2017)
Bath v Brive April 1 2017   Back in the early days of the Heineken Cup it wasn’t entirely clear if all this cross-border competition was good for the game. France was the frontier town, and nowhere was more dangerous or more gilded than Brive, smack in the middle of the Limousin. This stand-alone town … Continue reading Bath v Brive – The Rematch
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