On rugby days in Twickenham, hundreds of excited and often inebriated rugby fans are welcomed into the pubs, streets and parks and plastered on every television screen is the greenness of the stadium’s pitch, dotted with nervous players warming up for their match. In Twickenham, rugby is a tradition.

As with most things, lockdown has taken its toll on rugby and now the matches of both the Autumn Internationals and the Six Nations, which was resumed in October after having been paused due to the spread of the virus, have been left crowdless and televisions are now predominantly empty thanks to the RFU’s decision to air the autumn matches on Amazon Prime, which is not free to view. Twickenham’s economy has indubitably been hit, with pubs and restaurants often being the most full on match days.

Fortunately, community rugby has been able to start again between the two lockdowns thanks to a scheme called ‘ready4rugby’, which lays out the safe way to play in a pandemic, enforcing measures like no rucks or scrums.  

It has been confirmed that the RFU are desperately endeavouring to combat the burdens of the virus and lockdown on rugby. The stadium has been split up into zones of varying degrees of Covid-19 security, with the ‘red zone’ kept strictly for players, team staff and a minimal number of game day staff. Furthermore, there is a testing area in the car park, where most of the game day stewards have been employed, an indication that Twickenham is making the use of its space in order to come to the aid of the local community. 

So, the question on the tip of all of Twickenham’s tongue is this, when will the classic traditions of match days return and will Twickenham ever return to what it once was? With rugby ingrained in Twickenham’s DNA, the streets may be empty now, but it’s heartening to know that the RFU are doing everything they can to bring the crowds back to Twickenham.