World Cup Diary: A hard act for the RFU to follow

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The Independent Online

No pressure, then.

The Rugby Football Union, which has always considered itself the original and best governing body in the world game but is now more likely to be described as the "original and worst", must now think about hosting the next global jamboree in 2015 – always assuming its members are not too busy reading all the reviews commissioned over the last few weeks, some being undertaken by very expensive lawyers, others by extremely hacked-off individuals who thought they were at the centre of the decision-making process, only to be informed otherwise by a couple of big cheeses on the Twickenham management board.

"If you take it all together," says Mike Miller, the chief executive of the International Rugby Board, "this tournament in New Zealand has been exceptional. It's certainly set the bar high for England. It's going to be very difficult for them ... to be as successful as this, I think." Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds. The RFU is so familiar with votes of no confidence these days, a vote of precious little confidence is rather therapeutic.

Home and away ties chez Gatland

So how has it been for Trudi? (Mrs Gatland to you). The wife of the New Zealand-born Wales coach did not see fit to leave her home in Hamilton, capital of the Waikato region, when Warren took up his highfalutin job in Cardiff, preferring to stay here in the North Island with her teenaged children, Gabby and Bryn. She admits the current living arrangement "has its challenges", but adds that she and Mr Gatland have "a lot of special times together". Right now, the happy couple are 160 minutes from a moment that would give "special" a new meaning. How might she react if the final turns out to be an All Black-Red Dragon affair? "It's always about who Warren's with," she replies. No greater love, and all that...

Squeaky bums on seats time?

If you listen to Martyn Thomas, the beleaguered acting CEO of the RFU (don't you just love this alphabet soup?) and chairman of the 2015 World Cup planning body, the figures are rather scary. The governing body had to make an £80m guarantee to the IRB just to secure the tournament and has pledged to sell 2.8 million tickets across the 48 games. That's an average of 58,000 per match – quite a call when Namibia are playing Georgia at a football stadium in one of England's rugby backwaters. The North, for example. "Financially, it has to be the best ever," Thomas was heard to remark this week. We must all be grateful, therefore, that the union is in such a strong position, politically and organisationally, to perform at the top of its game for the next four years. Hey you! Over there! Stop laughing!