Twickenham rings a little hollow
April 28, 2014
A poor backdrop for an emphatic Saracens win © Getty Images
As the dust settles on Saracens' comprehensive Heineken Cup win over Clermont, the banks of empty seats at Twickenham highlighted a problem entirely of the RFU's making.
The Times pointed out the responsibility for holding the match at the 80,000-capacity ground where only 25,000 tickets were sold rests with the RFU. Labelling the situation a "farce", the paper said it replicated the mess in 2013 "and organisers should have avoided the stadium at all costs and taken the game to a smaller venue. The RFU, however, were keen to play the game at its home ground, hardly surprising given that they received the ground-hire fee. Saracens were happy to play at Twickenham too. The competition organiser, ERC, had reservations but did not fight strongly enough."
Gavin Mears in the Daily Telegraph was equally unforgiving, lamenting that "such a breathtaking performance, and historic achievement, surely demanded more witnesses". He said the RFU wanted to keep the £150,000 hire fee rather than pay out for another ground despite ERC concerns. "The lowest ticket price was halved to £15 but it had no impact on increasing last season's attendance. The reality is that the three week window to sell the game still remains a tough one for the Premiership clubs."
Eddie Butler in the Observer said "Twickenham rang a little hollow … it would have been a fine crowd at the Madejski in Reading, but in the mother ship it was barely a crew. A stadium two-thirds empty with a French team way below their best smacked of the need for reform. Which is to be delivered next season. This was not a good day for ERC who are being taken - dragged - to the window."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed Arsenal are "very, very, very close" to completing a deal for Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista
Hurricane Fly got the better of old rival Jezki to win a record fifth Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday
Standard Liege fans caused outrage among Belgian officials after a banner depicting the severed head of former player Steven Defour was unveiled on the Anderlecht midfielder's return to the club
Owen Farrell gave Stuart Lancaster an injury scare on the eve of England's Six Nations get-together as he hobbled off in the first half of Saracens' defeat to Clermont Auvergne
Munster coach Anthony Foley says his side's 65-10 thrashing of Sale at Thomond Park felt bittersweet and believes that his side's defeats to Clermont Auvergne and Saracens had proved extremely costly.