Ireland fans slam ‘poor’ organisation at Rugby World Cup as stadium runs out of water in 36-degree heat

Fans left ‘bucketing sweat’ as tram breaks down without air conditioning on way to Ireland-Romania match

Irish rugby fans have complained about long queues inside and outside the stadium at Ireland’s Rugby World Cup opener against Romania and about transport problems and inadequate water supplies.

The match at the Stade de Bordeaux was played in 36-degree heat. Many fans with seats in direct sunshine abandoned their spots and watched from what shade they could find.

Irish fan Joe Murphy said the packed tram bringing them to the game broke down on the way to the stadium. It was “dangerously” warm on board the tram as there was no air conditioning. “People were just bucketing sweat. We saw the driver just walking down the line. There were a few elderly people on board the tram. They were pulling the emergency cord, but there was no response.”

The broken-down tram had a knock-on effect on the trams behind and many Irish fans fretted that they wouldn’t get to the match on time.


Mr Murphy noticed that many of the gates at the stadium were not open, leading to long queues to access the ground.

Despite the conditions, many fans had to queue in the sweltering temperatures for more than an hour to access the stadium.

When fans got inside the stadium, many found that vendors had sold out of water before the match and there were queues of between 30 and 40 minutes to buy food or drink.

Nicky Cooke said she had got to the stadium early. “We queued at catering inside but they had no water left. That was before kick-off. We couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“Even in the Bordeaux fanzone last night they were handing out water. The heat was absolutely rotten, we were in the shade and roasted. Felt so sorry for fans in the sun, they all were standing behind the seats in the shade. Really rotten with the cost of tickets.”

A fan who asked not to be named described the match experience as “poor”, explaining: “We were really slow to get into the stadium. The main problem was not having any water stations anywhere. Bars were understaffed and that was the only place to buy water or soft drinks.

“They ran out of water before kick-off. A bottle of coke was €5. They had loads of beer stations so I don’t know why it was impossible to get water.”

Delyth Lee, a Welsh rugby fan who attended the Ireland game, described the temperature inside the stadium as “ridiculously hot. I left the match early. There was no beer. It was the first time ever I’ve done that. The organisation compared to Japan leaves a lot to be desired.”

One angry fan wrote on Twitter, now known as X: “Bordeaux couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery, same for game at Euro 2016 (when Ireland played Belgium in the European Championships). Transport brutal, entry to stadium poor.”

Another tweeted: “#IREvROM Bordeaux sh*t show today with trams, queues, and no beer in the stadium. Then they have films to remind us to clean up the things we couldn’t buy in the 40min queues.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times