James Lawton: Rugby World Cup legacy must be more bums on seats
Talk of gouging at the Rugby World Cup box office is worrying for all those who see the 2015 tournament as the perfect platform for the game’s graduation as a fully fledged and reasonably savvy protagonist in the front rank of professional sport.
This was certainly not the picture portrayed at Twickenham last weekend, when a superb collection of world-class players fought out the Heineken Cup semi-final between Toulon and Saracens before a pitifully slight audience.
If the great rival football had a show of such quality to present – and with such a competitive edge – it would surely have explored market potential a little more thoroughly.
There is some anxious discussion of the need to meet the financial demands of the world governing body. However, such accountancy should be running second to the need for the kind of popular impact which could shape the next decade of a game desperate for significant expansion.
Much more encouraging, though, is the abandonment of the appalling programming of the weaker nations in the last World Cup in New Zealand. It was a scandal that undermined the integrity of the entire tournament.
The new deal will also enhance the kind of spectacle that might win many more new followers for the game, especially if they can meet the price of a ticket.
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
food + drink
Mesut Ozil reveals he really is the Superman at Arsenal, Jack Wilshere is Batman and don't make Lukas Podolski angry - it's the Arsenal Christmas Party
Transfer news: Liverpool - January transfer targets
Transfer news: Manchester United - January transfer targets
Transfer news: Chelsea - January transfer targets
Transfer news: Arsenal - Transfer targets for January
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile