Autumn Internationals

Friday 25 July 2014

New stadium finally comes alive with potent mix of electricity, blood, sweat and tears

Tony Ward

Published 26/11/2013|21:05

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Ireland fans at Lansdowne Road on Sunday

Like many, since it reopened under a new corporate moniker, I find the Lansdowne Road experience hugely underwhelming. I loathe the Mexican wave, the manufactured music, the constant movement of fans and probably most of all the plastic DJ urging us all to support 'our team'.

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On Sunday all that changed and the atmosphere was electric as rugby support in the Aviva came of age.

We are still stuck with the plastic promptings but when the team on the field delivers, those dotted around the stadium do so as well.

There is nothing false or fabricated as the emotional outpourings match every point scored and every covering tackle made in the collective search for victory. That is as it should be as two massive hearts (team and fans) beat as one.

If it takes players gesticulating on the field to supporters alongside -- or worse still, the inane chants of a disc jockey -- to motivate a rugby crowd into vocal support then the professional game is in a worse place than any of us imagines.

We may have lost a game we could and probably should have won but if that losing effort has brought about a change in atmosphere and by extension a new Aviva experience then maybe, just maybe, despite the bitter disappointment, it was a good weekend after all.

Irish Independent

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