Matt Williams: So-called red and blue armies don’t drive rivalry, hatred does

We’d a ringside seat into the raw and loud realities of the grunts, bangs and sledging

The high quality match that Munster and Leinster produced last week was the product of a much deeper motivation than fans cheering. Photograph: Inpho

The high quality match that Munster and Leinster produced last week was the product of a much deeper motivation than fans cheering. Photograph: Inpho

Empty rugby stadiums are cold and melancholic structures. Without people, arenas such as Eden Park, Twickenham, Ellis Park and Lansdowne Road are just lifeless exoskeletons. Dormant until match day, when the flow of human energy trickles into the veins and arteries of the beast. Then, as if by some form of alchemy, phoenixlike, each great stadium resurrects itself into its own unique individual being.

When rugby cathedrals are full, the people create an exhilarating, tangible energy that impacts all who encounter the arena. It is impossible not to be motivated when playing in front of 60,000 at one of these historic venues.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.