Scots pay £1,000 to see `auld enemy' trounced

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The Independent Online
What price a 300-year-old grudge? How much should a Scotsman pay to see his 15 heroes grapple with the "sooth mooths" over an oval-shaped ball? With Scotland's Grand Slam rugby showdown against England tomorrow, the answer appears to be: up to £1,000 for a single ticket.

The 5,000 people affiliated to Scotland's 173 rugby clubs with their official tickets will pay from £20 to £33 depending on the view at Twickenham.

But for those who missed out first time round, or simply did not bother to apply, seats are changing hands for up to £1,000. That's £12.50 a minute plus injury time. South of the border, prices have reached £700.

"We have heard from reliable sources that some agencies in London are asking between £650 and £700 for one ticket to this game," said Richard Ankerson, Rugby Football Union's ticketing manager.

"You would normally get a pair of tickets for that price. In Scotland, we have heard that people are paying upward of £1,000 for one ticket. That's £12 a minute, or five seconds for a quid. It's just crazy.

"The official ticket prices for Saturday's match are £33, £28, £20, or £12 for school parties.

"Anyone buying tickets on the black market should be aware that they could be getting fakes or tickets that have been duplicated. Anyone getting a ticket from an agency has an unauthorised ticket, because we do not supply agencies."

Tickets are named. Anyone who has bought one on the black market is invited to fill in a form in the match programme to help the RFU to trace the original owners. Clubs found selling tickets on the black market are denied official supplies for three years. "In the last six years the ban has been applied to about 20 ticket-holders," Mr Ankerson said. "At the moment five are under suspension - four clubs and one school."

Is it worth it? Most Scots say yes, pointing out that tomorrow's game is the most important date in the nation's sporting calendar since the dark blues last beat England in 1990.

"Every Scotsman knows there is winning the Grand Slam and beating the auld enemy to win the Grand Slam," Graham Ireland, finance manager of Scottish Rugby Union, said.

"There is always an edge when we play England and if it's a championship decider, you get the prices to match."

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