Letter : Hooray Henrys are dying out

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The Independent Online
I wonder if Chris Hewett inhabits the same world as the majority of rugby supporters ("The union empire strikes back", 26 May). His description of the "smoked salmon and Chablis" of the Twickenham culture bears little resemblance to reality. It might apply to the old brigade of corporate hospitality, inter-service games and the anachronistic Oxbridge event with each team vying to see how many post-grad players from other institutions they can include, but it certainly does not describe the true aficionado. Were Mr Hewett to sit on the terraces among the 75,000 at internationals, Pilkington Cup finals, or among the smaller crowds at club games, he would find Hooray Henrys thin on the ground. It's mainly beer and burgers for the ordinary Rugby Union fan.

The recent victory over the RFU by the clubs, in the drawn-out debate on professionalism, will further reduce the "Twickers and Chablis" influence, and players of merit rather than privilege will become the norm. Then the democratisation of the game will be complete.

M T Livesey

Bristol, Avon