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 



Football and Rugby crowds (Tue, 06 Feb 2018)
  Why do you think a rugby crowd is so different from a football crowd? Even if it isn’t that different in demographics and profile, the spectator experience certainly is.   Basically, football fans are not trusted not to monster each other. So we’re all on CCTV in and around the ground, and the whole … Continue reading Football and Rugby crowds
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Hats off to the Aussies…. (Tue, 23 Jan 2018)
  Yes, hats off to the Aussies….   Rugby, as evidenced by many a hidden vote in a transparent process, is fond of its decidedly old-school systems and hierarchy.   But if the appointment of Raelene Castle as the Australian Rugby Union’s new CEO was considered ground-braking, the ARU’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was … Continue reading Hats off to the Aussies….
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Rugby must continue living on the brink if it is to move forward (Wed, 10 Jan 2018)
  Professional rugby union is operating on the brink, with spiralling player wages leading to smaller squads and everyone from World Rugby to Ross Moriarty being accused of greed as they look to maximise income. Sponsorship revenues continue to fall, and doubts persist over whether the next television deal will be worth the same as … Continue reading Rugby must continue living on the brink if it is to move forward
>> Read more

Watch Out – The Americans are coming! (Tue, 28 Nov 2017)
  A few weeks ago, Twickenham opened its doors to American Football by hosting the NFL “international series” game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cleveland Browns. It was the fourth NFL game played in London this autumn, with the matches split between the home of English Rugby Union and Wembley. The RFU was no … Continue reading Watch Out – The Americans are coming!
>> Read more

Does Test Rugby need stricter rules? (Tue, 14 Nov 2017)
Evidently Rhys Webb wants to have his Welsh cake and eat it. The Ospreys and Lions scrum-half signed for Toulon earlier this month, days before the Welsh Rugby Union announced a change to its policy governing players outside the country, entrapping the 28-year old. The new rules outline that players moving to England or France … Continue reading Does Test Rugby need stricter rules?
>> Read more

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