Announcement Of 8pm Kick-Offs At 2015 Rugby World Cup Upsets Public
England’s 2015 Rugby World Cup “is set to upset spectators and players alike by starting nearly half of the tournament’s 48 matches at 8pm, much later than normal rugby kick-off times,” according to Stephen Jones of the SUNDAY TIMES. In all, 22 games will kick off at 8pm, “with just 10 set for 3pm because of pressure from the southern hemisphere unions.” A provisional match schedule that RWC sources believe will be confirmed “shows every England game scheduled for the evening slot, which is unpopular with fans,” as well as two quarterfinals, both semis and the final. Financial guarantees demanded by the Int’l Rugby Board "call for average crowds of 55,000." The sensitivity of kick-off times was revealed last week. An online poll showed nearly 90% of the rugby-paying public preferred 3pm kick-offs. Meanwhile, a group of New Zealand players revealed their preference for afternoon games, saying they enjoyed games most in South Africa, where games start in daylight (SUNDAY TIMES, 5/5).