Measures designed to repair relationship between team and fans were positive on the whole – but an England win was the main factor
: Getty Images/David Rogers
Since the England squad first assembled in early January, complete with new captain Jamie George, a strong emphasis has been placed on reconnecting with the fans and improving the Twickenham matchday experience.
George has spoken passionately about his desire to ‘make Twickenham great again’, revealing that the team had brainstormed ideas prior to their first home game since England’s World Cup warm-up nightmare against Fiji in August. The suggestions focused on making tweaks to the Twickenham matchday routine, which included extending the players’ walk into the stadium upon arrival and playing more music during breaks in play. On Saturday, England fans saw the first impact these suggestions had on the matchday experience.
The extended walk-in was the first and most obvious change, with the bus stopping roughly halfway up the stadium’s drive to give fans greater exposure to the players. Despite the presence of several (somewhat stressed) event planners, the players’ walk from the bus was a great moment and helped to build the atmosphere around the ground as kick-off approached. Further to this, the stewards narrowed the walkway which allowed fans to get close to the players and even have the odd high-five.
England’s recent home record has been below par, with the team only winning five of their past 13 matches at Twickenham. More worryingly, the striking statement of Warren Gatland earlier in the week that he doesn’t find Twickenham “intimidating at all” further illustrates the need for England to re-establish their home advantage. For the question that many fans will pose; if England can’t win at home, where will they?
More from Rugby Union
More from The Telegraph