What Irish rugby fans really want is a drink

You don’t have to be drunk to watch an Irish rugby team, but it helps.

Alternatively, the results of an IRFU survey released this week suggest. The survey asked Aviva fans if they agreed with alcohol bans at his stadiums at rugby matches.

Nearly seven out of ten fans questioned said they would oppose such a ban, which is not surprising given that most were probably carrying four pints and two hot whiskeys at the time. .

Of the 744 adult fans surveyed, 68% said they had gone drinking to the South African-Australia match. Perhaps the respondent would have been even more determined had he been collared later at the Baggot Street lodgings.

The investigation was part of the IRFU’s effort to counter accusations that the matchday experience has become a binge nightmare for fans looking to support the Irish team. Persistent complaints about thirsty guests limping in and out of seats, blocking the view of fellow fans, prompted the union to ask what fans really want from a trip to Aviva. I’m trying to find out.

And it turns out that what most of them really want is a drink.

The stats will be encouraging to the IRFU, which has resisted calls for measures that might make Aviva feel less like Oktoberfest minus Lederhosen. has introduced an alcohol-free zone for those who prefer vomit-free rugby.

Wales also attempted to take action at last year’s Six Nations, serving weak beer and closing bars in the second half of the match following reports of widespread anti-social behavior and excessive drunkenness.

The possibility of the IRFU filing a lawsuit is unlikely due to their catering contractual obligations and the fact that they make absolute mints out of ravenous hordes.

When asked by Irish Times As to whether the IRFU could follow the example of Croke Park, where supporters can drink in the stadium concourse but not in their seats, GAA fans say that unlike rugby, “the driving is Mainly in rural areas,” the GAA said differently. The IRFU’s view is that the fans are mostly urban and heavily drinking.

To their credit, the IRFU has embraced criticism of Aviva’s atmosphere ahead of its latest fall international competition. To keep fans engaged during frequent interruptions in play, they played pop music at deafening volumes on the stadium’s PA system. It’s unclear if the intermittent outbreaks of Black Eyed Peas have flooded more fans in search of bar sanctuary.

Complaints about Aviva’s matchday atmosphere came to a head after Ireland’s final match in the Six Nations last year. Despite having an outside chance of winning the championship as well as his crown at stake, Ireland’s victory over Scotland was soundtracked by a great deal of slurping and drunken chatter in the stadium. rice field. To the dismay of proper fans, how to endure watching a Scottish rugby team without at least being half-cut is a question no one can answer.

Thankfully, the upcoming home games against France and England lack atmosphere, given how games against larger nations tend to capture the imagination of even the most dedicated pintmen of Irish rugby. The sight of a surge over the green-shirted English try line is one of the few things that keeps Aviva’s Boozhounds from making up their minds for the bar.

Fitting for a tournament whose title sponsor is a famous purveyor of creamy stouts, Six Nations has always been played in an awkward haze of drunken satisfaction. Long before dry January was invented, this traditionally marked the end of post-Christmas sobriety attempts and the beginning of formal drinking season.

That hasn’t changed, but many others have. Patrons of the old Lansdowne Road didn’t enjoy the way food and drink were served more than flabby burgers and rejuvenating sprigs of hip flasks. Rugby may have been silly, but it was definitely what people were for.

Things are more complicated now. Perhaps it’s the generic corporate emptiness of its name, or the fact that it looks like an alien mothership that landed in the lush red brick lanes of Dublin 4, but Aviva Stadium is a sporting legacy This is fine when rugby and football are compelling enough to inspire sophisticated modernity, but more mundane fare is soulless. It can hide in things.

To spice up such moments, Padraig Power told The Irish Times that the IRFU is looking at examples from the Southern Hemisphere, where it will include “better use of lighting and music during matches” to help supporters. There was more ‘interaction’.

And the problem is with these terrible words. Because if you tell people it’s sports entertainment they’re in, they’ll focus on the entertainment if the sport isn’t very exciting. For most Irish, that means drinks.

At that point, it might seem like they’re only here for the beer.

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