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Rugby!


Craig Sawyers
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This is probably going to be minority interest, but the precursor to American Football is Rugby.  Elliptical ball and two teams of enormous brutal guys (and now women too).  Rules of play are more cryptic (much) than American Football, and there is no defensive gear at all - no padding, no helmets (other than a soft one to protect cauliflower ears).  Lots of injuries - it is not uncommon for a player to go off bleeding profusely from a cut, have it stitched, and go back on again.  The odd broken bone, the odd concussion.  Everyone has had a broken nose at some point.

 

There are two variants of Rugby - Union and League.  The rules are different.  League has more in common with American football, but only the 6 plays element - after which the ball goes to the opposing team. That is not the case in Union, where you retain possession of the ball until you lose it to the opposing team through interception, being turned over in a tackle, a scrum, a penalty or a lineout.  There is a ten minute sin-bin for dangerous play, or being sent off entirely for the duration of the game.

 

It is a big sport in the UK and Europe (mainly France and Italy), and worldwide.  This year the Rugby World Cup is held in the UK http://hospitality.rugbyworldcup.com/hospitality_matches.aspxand should be brutal.

 

Reason for posting this is yesterday was the culmination of the 6 nations championship.  England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy.  It runs in the early spring.  The three final matches were yesterday, and many records were broken.  

 

Started with Italy/Wales.  At half time the score was a lacklustre 13 points to14.  Yawn.  But then Wales went on a rampage of epic proportions in the second half and the final score line was 20 points to 61. That monster score meant that in order to win the tournament, in the next match Ireland had to beat Scotland by at least 27 points and England had to beat France by at least 23 points - a really tough challenge.  However another epic battle by Ireland saw them demolish Scotland by 40 points to 10.  That raised the bar for England, who now had to beat France by at least 27 points.  In a phenomenal match, England beat France by 55 points to 35 points - a margin of 20, and falling short by one converted try (7 points) of taking the champoinship, which went to Ireland.

 

This is a day of Rugby which will go down in history.  It is the first time in the final three matches that the total number of points scored has been as high as 221, by a large margin.  It is the first time ever that a team has scored over 30 points (France) - and then lost.  Since the competition (initially the five nations, minus Italy) started in 1910.

 

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Love to watch rugby. A friend of mine who introduced me to the somehow complex rules told me this...

 

"Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen; soccer is a gentleman's game played by beasts; football is a beastly game played by beasts." - Henry Blaha

 

Matches between England x France and Wallabies x All Blacks are allways VERY fun to watch, since the rivalry add a lot of tension to the matches. 

 

Argentina Pumas is becoming a strong team, while Brazil is still on the kindergarten. Hope the Olympics games help on develop our skills. But am expecting a lot of beaten on us, with very dilated scores. 

 

I have an old All Blacks t-shirt and really like the Ireland uniform. 

 

And, Craig, if you may, you forgot mention Rugby Seven.

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