The great and good of women’s rugby disappeared on a Twickenham evening, faces warmed by the spring sunshine, hearts warmed by the occasion. It’s a day when everything and everyone comes together for a long-awaited afternoon that feels like a real carnival, with nearly 60,000 people passionately celebrating the progress made.
From the first knocks until Saturday night, the streets around Twickenham were alive. Families dressed in uniforms attended the morning, many of whom had the opportunity to visit the homeland of English rugby for the first time. It’s meant to be a very different experience from the men’s Six Nations Saturday, imbued with a positive party spirit. Throughout a strange game in which each side dominated on long passes, the crowd continued to engage, cheering for all the active involvement of the British, lifting the home team in difficult times and celebrate wildly in the first half.
England captain Marlie Packer later said: “I can’t put into words how wonderful it was. “The bus ride to Twickenham today is a difficult moment for you. There were a lot of fans along the streets and it was a very special occasion from start to finish.”
The question now is how Britain builds from here to ensure there are many more days like this. The Rugby League’s ambition to fill Twickenham for the 2025 World Cup final seems almost certain, with ticket sales for this encounter significantly higher than initial insider predictions. Saturday’s competition made it clear that the Red Roses will soon have the ability to continuously host their matches at home of English rugby. RFU’s investment in sports is paying dividends.
But managing over the next few years could be more complicated than it first appears. After such a positive experience, it’s natural to bounce back quickly, although it will take care not to pursue too much, too soon. Twickenham can feel incredibly empty when it’s less than half full, but there are few stadiums with the right capacity to help the Red Roses audience explode as usual without regular visits. southwest London.
Several visits to the football fields have been suggested by some, but can be logistically and financially difficult. As interest grows, fundamental economics suggests that ticket prices will rise as well, but care must also be taken not to undercut the younger and more diverse audience that is the game’s big strength. play for women.
Next year’s Six Nations will bring home matches against Wales and Ireland. Both will lack the promise of a real competition that the grand slam decider has, though that has yet to prove the main limiting factor to crowd size. Courts near the River Severn are reasonably prioritized over Wales and Ashton Gate, with a capacity of 27,000, would be a reasonable venue for that game if not deemed ready for Twickenham’s return. Selling off the Bristol venue would be an achievable next step and allow the Red Roses to maintain a close connection with their fan base around the country.
Abby Dow explains: “I think one thing that we’re really trying to do as a team is create our own brand and create something that’s really possible. “After all, professional rugby is also related to the financial situation. Yes, we could draw 58,000 people to Twickenham, but that’s for Le Crunch. What we need to be able to do is achieve that consistently for every Six Nations game.
“Once we get that, that’s when we can really bring it to Twickenham. But what we’re doing now by going around the country is inspiring people across the country, which is something we don’t see a lot in the men’s team. We are happy to continue doing that.
The international schedule for the rest of the year is yet to be confirmed, with England likely to host some warm-up matches before they attend the inaugural WXV in the fall. Information about the new World Rugby competition, which will be held during the Men’s Rugby World Cup, has emerged slowly, although official news is expected in the coming days that New Zealand will host the annual tournament. head. South Africa and Dubai are said to be contenders to host second- and third-tier events, respectively.
England is expected to have the right to host WXV’s top tournament next year, when the competition will have fresher air to breathe. Black Ferns’ visit to Twickenham as part of the tournament is sure to be intriguing – is the sell-out target achievable before the World Cup?
“I believe we can and I believe we can do it before 2025 for the World Cup finals,” Packer emphasized. “Look at today – we are not the ones pulling the curtain; it’s all about us. Things are going up so more tickets will be sold and more stadiums will be sold out.”