Ruck and Maul: Family tries as schoolboy enclosure returns for England's Cardiff clash
Sunday 26 December 2010
On the face of it, the Welsh Rugby Union have made a family-unfriendly blunder for next summer's World Cup warm-up against England.
The cheapest option for a family of two adults and two children at the Millennium Stadium on 13 August is for mum and dad to buy two £30 tickets for themselves and two £15 tickets for the kids in the separate Under-18s-only section. A family ticket for all four sitting together would cost £20 more at £110.
Clearly, though, not everyone will be going nuclear (as in family) and the new U18s section does reinstate a nice old Cardiff tradition.
The so-called Schoolboys Enclosure on the West Terrace became the schoolchildren's enclosure in the Upper East Terrace when the National Stadium was redeveloped in 1981-82. It remained there until 1997 when the ground was demolished and the Millennium Stadium built.
"Youth rugby in Wales is on the increase," WRU Group chief executive Roger Lewis told Ruck and Maul.
"We wanted to recognise that and cater for our rugby-playing audience by reintroducing a youth enclosure. I have fond memories of the enclosure from where I watched numerous matches as a youngster."
The rugby world is a small one
Iran, with their 1,700 registered players, recently became the latest members of the International Rugby Board, and there is still talk of Wasps meeting Harlequins in Abu Dhabi at the end of January – Ruck and Maul understands that Wasps' chairman Steve Hayes and director Lawrence Dallaglio have been to the Gulf state to look at a stadium. But the rugby world remains a small one.
Try this for size. All Black lock Ali Williams arrives this week for a four-match loan at Nottingham, whose New Zealand-born coach Glenn Delaney used to play for London Irish, where he was coached by Dick Best, the England coach when Martin Johnson made his debut in 1993.
Williams's alleged stamp on Josh Lewsey's head upset England in 2003 during a famous Wellington win in which Johnson was captain.
Too claustrophobic? Well, you could build a decent six degrees of sporting separation by including Sven Goran Eriksson and Graham Taylor. How? Sven was manager of Notts County, who have taken over Nottingham RFC at Meadow Lane.
And Delaney was also coached by Brendan Venter, now at Saracens, whose post-match interview a fortnight ago was inspired by the Mike Bassett movie character Dave Dodds – itself modelled on Taylor's assistant Phil Neal in the documentary that gave us the phrase "Do I not like that?"
Throw in the Princess Royal, soon to be mother-in-law to another Wellington '03 veteran Mike Tindall, and you've got enough for a Boxing Day round of Trivial Pursuit. Cheers!
Scrum queens are missing link
Women's rugby has had a good 2010: England and New Zealand drew a crowd of 13,000 to the World Cup final in September and last week the Black Ferns pipped the All Blacks as their country's rugby team of the year.
Try as we might, however, we could find no internet link to women's Premiership fixtures in England – an omission worth rectifying – although there are good snippets of news to be found at scrumqueens.com.
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