World famous Twickenham pub The Cabbage Patch is preparing for the return of full crowds at the town’s stadium for the first time in 20 months, as England play Tonga.
Though Twickenham saw modest crowds return for the Gallagher Premiership Final in June and two England Internationals in the summer, the capacity remained capped at 10,000.
Full crowds have since returned to Harlequins, based across the road at the Twickenham Stoop.
But Twickenham Stadium holds nearly five-and-a-half times as many supporters and is expected to come close to full-capacity.
England’s subsequent fixtures against Australia and South Africa have long already sold out.
It will bring to an end a nearly two-year wait for capacity crowds, stretching back to England’s fixture against Wales in early March 2020 which saw 81,522 fans at the stadium affectionately known as “The Cabbage Patch”.
For Stuart Green, the landlord of the pub bearing the same name, the return of fans is a welcome one with the location just a few hundred metres away from the stadium.
He said: “It’s massive. As the industry has moved, the cost of running a business has gone up and up rugby is of vital importance to the town.
“Many businesses are reliant solely on these games so to be without them is a huge loss.
“We’ve counted down the days for when we can welcome back a large crowd.”
When there is a capacity crowd a whopping 2,500 people are able to fit in the pub, despite some of the pub being cordoned off for its corporate hospitality package (which has a 7 and a half year waiting list).
It is this quantity of consumers, the inextricable link to rugby displayed in the interior and the iconic location, just a minute away from Twickenham station and a five minute walk from the ground, that leads Green to believe that the pub he has run for 24 years is the most famous in the World.
He said: “I’ve been all over the World with rugby and everybody knows the pub.
“I was on a boat in Fiji with a Cabbage Patch polo on and a Kiwi said to me, ‘How have you got that on, do you know that pub? That’s where I go on matchdays when I come over to watch the All Blacks!’”
New Zealand won’t be one of England’s opponents this November, but Green was unsurprised that even lowly Tonga has generated a massive crowd at both Twickenham and the pub.
He said: “We’ve been starved haven’t we? Though we did have rugby days in the test events in the summer and the amazing Premiership final, they were not as we know them.
“Capacity at the ground was limited to 10,000 and in here we could only get as many seats as we had.
“Quins being back at home has made a real difference, but none of us have had proper rugby at Twickenham since that Wales game back in March 2020.
“It’s been a long time coming and it binds this community together. Very few find the rugby an annoyance and there’s lots of people looking forward to seeing this town busy again.”
The final few tickets for England vs Tonga can be purchased from the England Rugby Website. It will also be shown live on Amazon Prime’s streaming service, The Cabbage Patch and at pubs across South West London.