The one good thing about failing miserably at a tournament is that there is usually an opportunity to redeem yourself fairly swiftly afterwards.

Step forward the England Rugby Union team.

While the Rugby World Cup was something of a disaster for the players, it was a huge fillip for the pub trade – and the Six Nations and domestic competition looks set to continue that trend.

The Cabbage Patch in Twickenham is arguably the most famous rugby pub in the world and it enjoyed a fantastic autumn.

Stuart Green, manager at the Fuller's venue, says one of the challenges is maintaining the interest of the casual fans who turned their attention to rugby during the World Cup.

He says "I was at the pub in 1999 (when the tournament was held in Wales and England) but it was 100 times better this time because the sport and the fanbase has grown so much.

"The World Cup was great — obviously England staying in would have been better, but it has provided a great opportunity to retain the casual fans for the Six Nations.

"More people than ever are watching rugby. There are more women, more families and the sport is generally appealing to a wider demographic."

Keeping it alive

Stuart's point is backed up by Heineken, official Rugby World Cup sponsor, which also supports the European Rugby Champions Cup (formerly the Heineken Cup).

It saw 2.5 million pints of Heineken sold at stadiums and in fan zones during the competition, not to mention the extra trade at pubs themselves.

Andrew Turner, Heineken's category and trade marketing director for the on-trade, says: "The pubs that did well were those that really positioned themselves as great places to watch rugby with some food before and entertainment after matches.

"There is an opportunity for pubs outside of the Rugby World Cup and we will provide support around the events such as the European Rugby Champions Cup to help pubs continue to attract fans."

Read our interview with Heineken's Rugby World Cup ambassador Will Carling here...

Guinness also has plans for the Six Nations, including the activation of 6,000 support kits in pubs.

Katerina Podtserkovskaya, senior marketing manager for Guinness at Diageo, says: "Guinness activation during the 2015 RBS Six Nations delivered 59 per cent uplift in Guinness volume year-on-year in outlets where a kit was activated versus Six Nations 2014.

"As rugby awareness is higher than ever after England hosted the Rugby World Cup, the clear association of watching rugby in the on-trade presents an even greater opportunity for licensees."

Awareness is a common theme for pubs and one that Stuart at the Cabbage Patch says can be driven by social media.

"I have been here 17 years and the biggest change now is the social media," he says. "During the World Cup we would be speaking to people on the other side of the world one day and the next they would be in the pub having a drink. It really helps raise awareness."

And the World Cup has raised awareness of the Six Nations earlier than usual, according to Jon Thomas of Newport pub The Ruperra Arms.

"The rugby World Cup was a great event for us, with every Wales and England games filling the pub — we offered food and drink in advance and the pub had been as busy as Christmas Eve," he says."There's definitely a knock-on for us for the Six Nations."

Scotland fans may not want to hear about a "knock-on", following the travesty of their last-gasp defeat to Australia - but the Six Nations will give all the home nations another chance to get pubs excited.


Saturday February 6
France v Italy 2.25pm
Scotland v England 4.50pm

Sunday February 7
Ireland v Wales 3pm

Saturday February 13
France v Ireland 2.25pm
Wales v Scotland 4.50pm

Sunday February 14
Italy v England 2pm

Friday February 26
Wales v France 8.05pm

Saturday February 27
Italy v Scotland 2.25pm
England v Ireland 4.50pm

Saturday March 12
Ireland v Italy 1.30pm
England v Wales 4pm

Sunday March 13
Scotland v France 3pm

Saturday March 19
Wales v Italy 2.30pm
Ireland v Scotland 5pm
France v England 8pm