The Rugby World Cup is shaping up as an extravaganza for posh people rather than the populist showpiece that was London 2012

Any environment where Wills and Harry look at home is worth abhorring

There is no small risk attached to opening a column with news that Ticketmaster have again cocked up. No, not because the news might send shocked readers into cardiac arrest, more because it is so utterly unsurprising that why would anyone read on? But please do.

This time it's not the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games that their coal-fired computers have been allowed anywhere near, it's the Rugby World Cup, the first 500,000 tickets for which did not in the end go on sale.

More to the point, it was only news of this comparatively minor ticketing fiasco – by their standards – that alerted this column to the fact that the first half a million tickets, which constitutes almost half the number that will be made available to British buyers, were exclusively for 100,000 members of the "rugby community".

These, you definitely will not be shocked to learn, are, according to the organisers, "grass-roots supporters", "season ticket-holders", "rugby club members" and the like. The "people who support the game week in, week out".

A noble endeavour, no doubt, but it will also mean that this tournament, like the Six Nations at Twickenham each year, and like Wimbledon too, will likely take place inside that stereotypical-fan enforced barrier that was so joyously absent from the Olympics.

You know, the gilet-wearing, Sweet Chariot-chanting, hip flask-touting, bogroll up the arse-lighting crowd who turn the commuter trains to and from Twickenham on match day into rolling, booze-fuelled public school boarding houses. Any environment where Wills, Kate and Harry look right at home every time the camera cuts to them is clearly worth abhorring.

One of many great things about the London Olympics was the Centre Court crowd screaming its lungs out at the tennis, for once not entirely made up of the middle-aged and middle-class whose tickets are the great perk of being the Ladies' Captain at a tennis club somewhere in Kent, politely clapping for whichever player they would most like to marry their daughter.

With hundreds of thousands of tickets to sell to ordinary people, and the broad attention that should be captured by a home tournament, hopefully the Rugby World Cup will broaden what seems at the moment to be the sport's narrowing appeal to what was once a much wider audience. But if it does, it'll be despite the "rugby community", not because of it.

Clash of the Hull clubs that also clashes with, er, Hull

Those who have dared to say of late that Hull City's trip to Wembley for the FA Cup final will be the biggest day out the city has ever had have been quickly put in their place. That, of course, was the 1980 Challenge Cup final, when the town's two rugby league sides, Hull FC and Hull KR, played each other at Wembley.

As is testified to by a classic Hull City chant, Hull is not primarily a football town: "My old man said, be a rugby fan/I said..." (Sadly the rest is completely unprintable.) But even so, the town's loyalties will be tested to the max. Rugby league's Magic Weekend takes place at the Etihad Stadium, all 14 Super League teams playing in the same place spread over the weekend.

So which one kicks off at 5pm – the exact same time as the FA Cup final? That's right, Hull FC v Hull KR, which apparently cannot be switched with any of the other matches having been "organised long ago".

Should there be any Hullites making a second trip to Wembley, 34 years on, they'll be hearing "Abide With Me" for a second time. The other sporting fixture that the hymn is sung before is the Challenge Cup final. "Give me strength" might be more appropriate.

California Chrome to shine again at Pimlico and beyond

Everyone knows the Kentucky Derby. Not as many people know that it forms part of US horseracing's "Triple Crown". The second of that hallowed triumvirate runs on Saturday, the Preakness Stakes at the majestic Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. (The third race is the Belmont in New York State next month.)

Winning all three has turned into something of an impossibility in recent years – no one has claimed the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978 – but it's still disappointing that only three of the Kentucky Derby field are even running. Mind you, among them is California Chrome, the Kentucky Derby winner and the best three-year-old anyone's seen in that part of the world for some time, who should win. If that happens, look out for the Belmont next month. That race is longer and a bit more of a lottery, but there could still be a little bit of history on the way.

Football's a Messi business – it's best not to rationalise it

Just as some dare to ask whether Lionel Messi is the greatest player in the world, he signs a new contract that makes sure he is at least the best paid: €20m (£16.3m) a season minimum until 2019. Yes, there's a lot of money sloshing around football, and no one can deny it's the harshest meritocracy going, so why shouldn't the players get it?

True, but it's worth remembering that, for the time being at least, these astronomical amounts are inflated and set by oily billionaires who want to set fire to their cash. In a conventional business sense, the game is broken, so such sensible arguments are essentially irrelevant.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Sport
England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Sport
Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
Football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines