Fans attempting to buy the latest tranche of Rugby World Cup tickets have expressed their anger at having to waiting for up to seven hours on the tournament’s official website amid a huge surge in demand.
Customers vented their anger on social media after having to wait in long queues online, despite reassurances last week that the website had enough capacity to cope with a ticket rush.
In total over 70,000 tickets were made available today, with just under 50,000 tickets currently on sale and over 20,000 new tickets following returns from sponsors and other partners.
Some fans said on Twitter that they have given up waiting to buy tickets such was the length of delay on the website while others described the process as a “shambles.”
Another wrote: “Logged onto Rugby World Cup website at 9.30am...now 1pm and not got anywhere. Given up. Looking forward to seeing tickets on secondary sites.
A third supporter wrote: “Queuing online for Rugby World Cup tickets is almost as agonising as supporting Scotland. We persevere, knowing it is a lost cause #RWC2015.”
Unlike the public ballot for tickets last September, the new batch are being sold on a first come, first serve basis on the site run by Ticketmaster, which was also appointed to distribute tickets for London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 only to be forced to suspend sales after its servers failed to cope with the demand.
Debbie Jevans, who resigned as England Rugby 2015 chief executive last Friday, insisted in an interview with The Daily Telegraph last week that the website would be able to cope with the demand.
“The capacity we’ve built into the system we are confident will stand up,” said Jevans.
The latest tranche are a mixture of seats released from ongoing venue planning and configuration, handbacks from the tournament's commercial programme and unions, and tickets that have been registered for official resale by fans who can no longer attend matches.
Further tickets will be released for general sale over the coming months and details will be released in advance of sale.
An England Rugby 2015 spokesman said: “We have had a busy day and have sold many thousands of tickets. The demand created long queues for some customers and we are grateful for their patience.”
As a referee, I’m used to dealing with anything that gets thrown at me. If I can’t deal with the flak and abuse, then I wouldn’t be able to do this job. But as a gay man, I’ve unfortunately had to experience homophobic abuse during my career.