Sit the heck down, and watch the darned rugby!

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, to watch a Rugby World Cup match, Pool A, Australia vs. Fiji. Here is what I saw:

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Constantly. People getting up, wandering along the rows, getting drinks or hot-dogs, bringing them back, making people in their row stand up to let them past, obscuring the view of people in the rows behind them. Over and over again.

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Like, all the time. Not just during breaks in play. While the match was happening right in front of us. While penalty kicks were being lined up. While rucks were in progress.

2015-09-23 18.01.30

Not just once. Repeatedly. The bloke to my left got up and pushed past me three times. The bloke immediately in front of me at least three, possibly four times. More people, over and over again, walking away from a world-class rugby match that they’d paid £50 to see, to buy overpriced plastic cups full of Heinekin or John Smith’s Extra Smooth (the beer for people who don’t like the taste of beer).

2015-09-23 18.01.35

So while my seat actually gave me a great view of the pitch, and a fine overview of the unfolding match …


… what I actually saw was constantly punctuated by the moving figures of people who evidently didn’t have any real desire to watch a rugby match.

What I want to know is: why were they there? Why didn’t they save themselves fifty quid, go to a pub, and get a better selection of beers into the bargain?


9 responses to “Sit the heck down, and watch the darned rugby!

  1. Cannot agree more. Been to two international cricket matches in the last month (I know they last longer, but they do break every 90 mins), and spent vast amounts of time standing up and sitting down to let people past to go and get food, drink, and toilet breaks.

    However at Wimbledon, earlier in the year, there was none of this. The cultural expectation drove a different behaviour.

    “Sit down and enjoy the spectacle you spent a lot of money to see.”


  2. Sorry you had such a bad time. I’ll be attending the New Zealand v Fiji in Cardiff and Romania v Canada in Leicester and I’m greatly looking forward to it.

  3. I’ve noticed that this also happens at expensive gigs I’ve paid 50 or 60 quid to go to, but almost never at at 10 or 12 quid venues. The answer, depressingly, is that the 100 people crammed into the back room to hear Martin Carthy all really want to hear Martin Carthy ; but a fair number of the 2000 people at the Dylan gig just want to be able to tell their friends they’ve heard Dylan. (festivals are a slightly different beast)

  4. Strange that this happens at rugby and cricket, but not at tennis — and only to a much, much lesser extent at football. How do such cultural norms become established?

    On the other hand, I wonder if it’s more to do with the big-event nature of the game that I saw. My guess is that if I went to a regular rugby match in Gloucester, there would likely be much less of this. So perhaps it’s not rugby, but holiday-maker crowds. (But even then, why would someone spend all the time and money to go to a big event, then waste it all on constantly buying Heineken?)

    Andrei, New Zealand are in a different pool from Fiji. Are you thinking of NZ vs. Georgia on 2nd October? I suspect they are in for a proper kicking (although probably not as bad as Namibia are due this evening!)

  5. (Meanwhile, in an unrelated rant, how did Wales, England and Australia all end up in a single pool, along with Fiji, so that four of the world’s top nine teams are in a single group? Meanwhile, New Zealand have an absurdly easy group, with only Argentina even remotely qualified to give them some kind of a match.)

  6. Ha you old curmudgeon. You’ll be complaining about people eating popcorn and crisps in cinemas next. Come to think of it, that is bloody annoying.

  7. Yes, I meant Georgia. I mixed it up with your match. :) My experience was great! There was no moving about at all. Granted, I stayed somewhere close to the try line at both matches, maybe that area is more civilised. Both matches lived up to my expectations and more. It was cool to see New Zealand live and Georgia put up a decent stand. And of course, Romania made a historic comeback.

  8. There was none of it at the men’s foil final in London three years ago (what a match), and those tickets were even more expensive. Perhaps it’s something to do with the class of people who watch rugby?

  9. What is the men’s foil final? Fencing?

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