Anything you can do...
November 3, 2011
Argentina's fans provided much of the colour at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand © Getty Images
As the 2011 Rugby World Cup fades into the distance, Scrum Sevens looks at how the next hosts England can learn from what was arguably the best tournament in the sport's history.
The latest global gathering in New Zealand was a delight from start to finish, unless you were England, and set a new standard when it comes to hosting rugby's showpiece event. The organisers of the next World Cup, England Rugby 2015, will no doubt have been watching closely but just in case they weren't, we offer a few things they and Rugby World Cup Ltd should do to make sure the next tournament has a similar impact.
Adopt a second team
Once the draw is made and team bases are decided then a rallying call must go out to fans, clubs and schools in those areas to get behind those sides and if it requires funding for councils to throw their support behind the tournament then let's have that fight now rather than later. Blenheim's decision to change road signs into Russian in tribute to their visitors during RWC'11 was just one shining example of how to get it done.
Get the scheduling right
Thankfully the Tier 1 nations have promised to provide a "better balance" in four years time with the likes of defending champions New Zealand and hosts England agreeing to share the burden and play midweek fixtures. The European time zone and the commercial-friendly window made that kind offer a simple decision but the proof will be in the pudding.
Engage the nation
Rugby is not so entwined into England's psyche so organisers cannot rely on such natural enthusiasm for the tournament. The sport also suffers in terms of its profile with the colossus that is football's Premier League set to hog the headlines no matter what rugby chiefs do to tempt fans away. The marketing men and women will need to earn their crust so they should get their thinking caps on.
Get your house in order
It is almost unconceivable to think that we will still be debating the inner workings of the English rugby's governing body in four years time but this is the RFU. Great tournaments are often the result of inspired leadership with the likes of Jock Hobbs, Brian Roche and Martin Snedden all in place five years before the eyes of the world fell upon New Zealand. A lot rides on Paul Vaughan, chief executive of England Rugby 2015, and chief operating officer Ross Young and the void left by Thomas must be filled without delay to ensure no momentum is lost.
Get bums on seats
To prevent that they need to maximise the only revenue outlet open to them - ticket sales. They hope to sell in the region of 2.8m tickets, double the amount sold at RWC'11, with matches set to be staged at 12 different stadiums in 10 cities including Wembley, Old Trafford and the Millennium Stadium. But they must be careful with ticket pricing in their quest to cover costs - empty seats can prove very costly both financially and when it comes to the tournament's legacy.
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