We’ve already got year-round rugby, and now it’s time to make the most of all-day rugby for the duration of the pool stages at the Rugby World Cup.
Early kick-off times (some very early) provide a perfect start to the day for UK audiences, especially when there is chance to follow up with Premiership Cup action on weekend afternoons.
Japan and Russia set the ball rolling for global audiences this Friday (September 20) and then there’s a 5.45am start if you want to take in three games on Saturday, taking you up to lunchtime before domestic rugby kicks in during the afternoon when Tigers go to Worcester in the first round of the Cup and the first game of the season.
There are three more games on Sunday – including a very considerate extra half an hour lie-in before the first kick-off at 6.15am and a first look at England as they take on Tonga in the more civilised 11 o’clock slot. That leaves all afternoon to catch up on sleep, communication and recovery from the disorientation of getting up early on successive days at a weekend.
A week later, with Tigers hosting Exeter in the first home game of the season as an appetiser on Friday evening, there are another five World Cup fixtures spread over two days with Australia versus Wales probably the pick of them. And with everything over by UK lunchtime, that leaves the rest of the day to debate the rights and wrongs of each nation’s fortunes in Japan.
In round three, England face Argentina in the Saturday’s middle game (9.00am) and then, with your body-clock adjusted and a new routine fully in place, there is the prospect of a loaded Saturday in round four topped off by Tigers’ first derby game of the season as Saints come to Welford Road.
The only way the World Cup can top that is to put four games on the following day – starting at 4.15am, yes apparently there is a 4.15 in the morning as well as the one just before you finish work – as the pool rounds come to a close.
On weekends alone, The Tig could be approaching 30 games by the middle of October. That’s one way of making up for lost time after the longest off-season ever.