Welsh Fans Pay Highest Price for 6 Nations Odyssey

For rugby fans in Europe  it’s time to plot the annual Spring pilgrimage to follow your team in the Six Nations which kicks of on 2nd February.   More than any other tournament this annual series is defined by the fans’ faithful expeditions to their opponents’ cities.   The camaraderie and consumption that greets the travelling armies is deserving of its legendary status.

It’s been a few years since most of us climbed onto packed coaches for these epic journeys.  Despite being the most environmentally sound way to travel and bus trips giving birth to more stories and banter than any other form of transport (according to unofficial stats) the coach has fallen out of fashion as our weekly shillings have tended to go further on cheap flights.

Tickets Please!

Tickets Please!

Nevertheless having bused, trained and cycled to issue my croaking calon lan in years gone by, I thought it would be interesting to get a rough idea of which fans were travelling furthest in 2013, how much it will cost them, and what the environmental impact will be.  I’ve gone for calculations between capital cities to make things simple.

Here’s what I found:

With away fixtures to Italy, England and Ireland, it’s no surprise that the French are travelling furthest. My estimates are particularly conservative for these fans since most of them travel from the south so are probably coming a lot further.   I even know a couple that are coming to Cardiff for the Wales v Ireland game – they can’t get enough!

However with plenty of cheap flights available from Paris, in terms of cost, the French are getting plenty of rugby for their Euros.

Surprisingly, on average, it is the Welsh fans that are going to have to dig deepest into their tour funds this year.

Miles Cost
Welsh 3249 443 (train)574 (flight)
Irish 3155 417
French 5592 239 (train)268 (flight)
Scots 1926 238 (train)171 (flight)
Italians 4238 196
English 706 72 (rail & sail)115 (flight)

Wales also have three away games, but if taking flights from Cardiff, a Welsh fan could spend nearly £600 just on travel to make it to all the Grand Slam champions’ matches.  Travelling by train to Murrayfield will make it a little cheaper, but it’s not a huge saving and tickets will mean an extra day’s travel.

In terms of environmental cost, unsurprisingly, the Italians are the worst offenders on carbon emissions.

A Peroni fuelled engine is under development

A Peroni fuelled engine is under development

Despite having only two away games, the necessity of flying makes them the least green of the supporters in 2013 spluttering out 760kgs of CO2 on their way to Murrayfield and Twickenham.

Miles Carbon Footprint (kgs CO2)
Italians 4238 760
Welsh 3249 530 (train)640 (flight)
Irish 3155 620
French 5592 461 (train)560 (flight)
Scots 1926 280 (train)350 (flight)
English 706 72 (rail & sail)154 (flight)

English fans can give themselves a pat on the back for environmental effort as their train to Cardiff and flight to Dublin leave them at the bottom of the polluters’ table.  If they were to take on the rail and sail from Euston to Holyhead they could cut their footprint further (though in my experience the gamble on a ferry cancellation from Dublin in rough weather might be costly for all sorts of reasons).

Nothing pleases a knight of the round table like a low carbon footprint.

Nothing pleases a knight of the round table like a low carbon footprint.

Overall the analysis shows that this year’s six nations may diminish the numbers of Welsh fans being able to afford a trip to Australia to follow the Lions in the summer.  It does however leave English fans with some environmental brownie points to book up for the tour down-under.  The most tenuous excuse for another rugby trip imaginable?  Possibly, but every little helps.

The full calculations are below.  Enjoy the rugby!

Week Away Fans Away Fans’ Journey Return Distance of Away Fans’ Journey (miles) Cost of Away Fans’ Journey (£) (best price available on skyscanner.net or nationalrail.co.uk) Carbon Footprint of Away Fans’ Journey (kgs CO2) (calculated by climatecare.org, or transportdirect.info or Eurostar.com)
1 Irish Dublin–Cardiff 372 192 100
Scots Edinburgh–London 847 126.70 (train)59 (flight) 70 (train)140 (flight)
French Paris-Rome 1392 40 260
2 Italians Rome-Edinburgh 2422 142 430
Welsh Cardiff-Paris 616 180 140
English London-Dublin 558 30 (rail & sail)34 (flight) 48 (rail & sail)130 (flight)
3 Welsh Cardiff-Rome 2005 194 360
French Paris-London 430 79 (train)108 (flight) 11 (train)110 (flight)
Irish Dublin-Edinburgh 417 88 100
4 Welsh Cardiff-Edinburgh 628 69 (train)200 (flight) 30 (train)140 (flight)
French Paris-Dublin 974 120 190
Italians Rome-London 1816 54 330
5 Irish Dublin-Rome 2366 137 420
English London-Cardiff 148 81 24
Scots Edinburgh-Paris 1078 112 210

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