Earlier this month the fixtures for the group stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup were announced. The initial draw was kind to Scotland given their lowly world ranking at the time, following THAT defeat to Tonga and the location of most venues is similarly generous.
We know you’ll all be keen to start planning so we thought we’d give you some pointers. There are currently no details on how tickets are going to be distributed but it will likely be a lot harder than previous World Cups further away; with easy access demand could be high. You can register for news at http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/signup/index.html although if organisers want any sort of an atmosphere they’ll distribute a large chunk through clubs.
Wednesday 23 September 2015 – Scotland v Asia 1 – Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester
Gloucester seems to exist in the netherworlds between Birmingham and London and this reporter would have as much success in finding it on a map as being able to point to Brigadoon. Thank goodness then for internet search engines. Big Jim Hamilton has been knocking and sometimes beating the opposition off the park at Kingsholm for the last few seasons but now seems destined for France so it remains to be seen whether there will be any Scottish interest at all come September 2015.
The opposition are likely to be Japan who should not be underestimated. Rugby is a fast growing sport in the country with several high profile players such as Sonny Boy Williams and James Haskell drawn to its bright lights.
Lets all meet in: The Kingsholm Inn is only 10 minute walk from the train station and is right next to the stadium. It’s regularly frequented by hoards of Gloucester fans so should be used to catering to large match day crowds.
Getting there: There are regular trains from Edinburgh and some are direct. It’s unlikely on board catering facilities will cope for the full six hour journey so best to take a carry out on board.
There are scheduled flights from both Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh to Bristol which is only an hour by train from Gloucester.
Sunday 27 September 2015 – Scotland v Americas 2 – Elland Road Stadium, Leeds
The presence of Elland Road on the fixture list is puzzling. Rugby League was founded nearby in Huddersfield and anyone who likes Union is regarded with the same loathing as sex offenders and Manchester United fans in that part of the world (don’t you live there? – Ed). The stadium has a capacity of 39,500 although whether a game of Rugby Union between Scotland and either Canada, USA or Uruguay will fill it remains to be seen.
Kingsholm only has a capacity of 16,500 and Headingley Stadium, home to Leeds Carnegie and Leeds Rhinos, holds 17,500. There is more chance of filling Headingley and creating a great atmosphere than filling Elland Road. Also Elland Road sits a fair walk outside the city centre whilst Headingley is nestled alongside the infamous Otley Run pub crawl that recently led to Danny Cipriani being taken out by a bus.
This is Scotland’s only Sunday fixture. Euan Murray will be 35 so whether he’ll still be part of the set up or whether he’ll have been usurped remains to be seen.
Lets all meet in: The Scarborough Taps is just next to Leeds Train station and hosts a wide selection of real ales and regularly caters for large crowds of Leeds Rhinos and Leeds United fans. Inside the stadium Scotland fans will feel right at home inside Billy’s Bar named after Billy Bremner.
Getting there: There are regular trains from Edinburgh and some are direct with at least one train a day going to and from Glasgow and Aberdeen. Shorter journey than getting to Gloucester but might be best to take a carry out just in case.
There are scheduled flights from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow to Leeds Airport with regular buses into the city centre.
Saturday 3 October 2013 – Scotland v South Africa & Saturday 10 October 2013 – Scotland v Samoa – St James’s Park, Newcastle
The World Cup organisers clearly had their heads screwed on when deciding on the venues for Scotland’s most vital matches. As close to spitting distance to the border as you’ll get in a 52,000 capacity stadium, it will provide Scotland a home from home with many fans able to get there and back in a day on the train or by car. Tickets may become scarce.
The Newcastle Falcons are Newcastle Scottish in all but name having recently signed a number of current and former Scotland internationals and Phil Godman. They also have a number of potential caps in their ranks so we’re planning on some coverage of what could be Scotland’s 3rd Pro Team in the near future.
A lot of water, and the upcoming summer’s Quadrangle Tournament games against both, will have passed under the bridge come October 2015 so it’s hard to assess Scotland’s chances against the Springboks and Samoa but both will pose a challenge. However, if Scotland can fill the stands then there’s no telling what might happen if the team can capitalise on what’s almost a home advantage. Also worth noting: the last time Scotland played in Newcastle they beat one of the big three. Okay, it was Newcastle in Australia, but hey…
Lets all meet in: There are lots of great pubs around the station but best amongst them is the Bodega, a dark but roomy pub offering a great selection of beers. St James’s is only a short walk from the station with both Shearer’s and The Strawberry offering good match day drinking options.
Getting there: Regular direct trains from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Also regular buses from the Borders to Berwick-upon-Tweed train station where you can catch a direct train. Train journey is unlikely to require a carry out but a four pack between friends never hurt.
Scheduled flights from Aberdeen with a direct Metro link from the airport into the City Centre.
Two hour car journey from the capital but worth dropping the car off at Kingston Park and taking the Metro into the city centre.
After the group stages…
Do we dare to dream?
If Scotland qualify for the group stages they will definitely play their next match at Twickenham against either England, Wales or Australia. Both semi-finals and the final will be held at Twickenham with the 3rd place match taking place at the Olympic Stadium.