Cet article aborde la coupe du monde de rugby du point de vue du Royaume-Uni, et en particulier de celui de l’Angleterre. Celle-ci a accueilli la coupe cette année et a été marquée par de nombreuses divisions internes, accentuées par des rivalités sportives, mais aussi politiques et économiques.
Rugby Union was created in the 19th century in England. This sport is mostly practiced in countries of the Commonwealth but also in France. World Rugby was created in 1886. It defines rules and organizes different cups. Indeed, the Rugby World Cup (RWC) has existed since 1987, and this tournament takes place every four years. During one and a half month, twenty teams will compete to try to bring the trophy back home. This year, rugby’s homeland hosted the event. England, Scotland and Wales are all part of the United Kingdom but there is a big rivalry between them and their teams.
On the 25th of September, a great match pit Wales against England. However, in addition to this competition, there were tensions in the Royal Family. Indeed, Prince Harry, who is the vice patron of the Rugby Union in England supports the English team. His brother, Prince William, has the same function in Wales. Even if they sat in the same tribune, the grandsons of Queen Elisabeth II were supporting different teams. The victory of Wales – the challengers – and the defeat of England – the favourites – accentuated the divisions in the Royal Family.
England, one of the most powerful countries in the world, is the main organizer of the RWC. There is only one stadium in Wales compared to twelve stadiums in England. The biggest is located in London and can welcome about 80 000 supporters. In total, England spent £2.2 billion for this event. Moreover, £85 million permitted to renovate the stadiums to welcome 2 million international visitors. England is still the only country in the United Kingdom able to finance such an event. There are thus inequalities between England and Wales, although 25% of the tickets were sold in Wales during the Rugby World Cup.
Wales, England, and Scotland are three wonderful teams in the United Kingdom. However, on October 3rd, thanks to Bernard Foley—one of the best rugby players in the world—Australia won against England (33-13). This was a tragic event for the English people because England was eliminated that day. For the quarter finals, Ireland, Scotland and Wales were still competing but neither did Wales nor Ireland reach the semi-finals. Indeed, Argentina reached the semis because a lot of Irish players were injured and so Ireland lost (20-43) on October 18th. Moreover, the elimination of Wales on the same day caused the despair of Prince Harry.
The English team was really not good enough compared to other British teams this year. This is problematic for a host country, which is supposed to show a glorified image to the world by accomplishing sporting events. In general, major sporting events which attract millions of people can generate very significant economic benefits to the host country. But this time, the untimely defeat of England didn’t have a positive impact on the country’s economy.
LEQUIN Guillaume & VENIARD Hector.