RUGBY chiefs hope to copy the example of the London 2012
Olympics and use Games Maker-type stewards to improve the spectator experience at Twickenham for England internationals.
Ian Ritchie, the Rugby Football Union’s chief executive, said they planned to increase the number of people greeting matchgoers from Twickenham station and lining the route to the ground itself. The purple-clad Games Makers volunteers were widely hailed as a huge success, and the RFU will draw on the expertise of Debbie Jevans, the former director of sport for London 2012 now heading the board planning for England staging the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
“Not just at the Rugby World Cup but at Twickenham,” said Ritchie at yesterday’s Sports Industry Breakfast Club. “What we’re trying to look at is from the moment somebody arrives at Twickenham station to when they get to the ground – do they feel welcomed, do they feel embraced? The Games Makers side of it worked fantastically well. I think that works at Twickenham and certainly at the World Cup. And if anyone knows about that, it’s Debbie.”
Ritchie played down talk of scrapping Premiership relegation and promotion, a notion put forward by former British and Irish Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan, who the RFU are consulting on other matters.
He said: “You can have a vibrant second tier, like with the Football League, and promotion and relegation is very helpful in bringing that about.”