Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rugby Part 2 - It's A Try Not A Touchdown

Like I said yesterday, I went to my first rugby game this past Saturday!!

Sun setting during the game. It gets dark at like 4 here! I'm really sorry Alaska, I couldn't deal with you. 

Not going to lie, I was as confused as ever. Not only is rugby not so popular in the States, I don't think it's a prime sport for anyone without the Y chromosome to watch on the regular. 

So I present to you from my point of view, a random list of things you should know about the game of rugby.

You pass backwards - And it's not counterproductive! The team lines up and passes to their teammate behind them commonly in a diagonal formation. The last person gets smashed by big, strong people on the other team and the process starts again for whichever person gets the ball.

There is no "faffing about" - (one of my fave phrases recently is faffing about, by the way) There's not so much milking the time clock as there is in, oh, every other sport. In football (soccer), if someone falls over, the player rolls around and has a bit of a moan before they realize no one cares and then they get back up. In rugby, no one stayed on the ground for longer than 3 seconds unless they were piling on top of the ball and/or the opposite team.

It makes American Football look like elegant dancing - Okay maybe that's a stretch. Not to offend my own country's sport, but look at what rugby players wear compared to what American football players wear. Rugby, from what I've watched, is a lot more violent; it's also acceptable to be violent (within reason, obviously).

See? No big shoulder pads!

They stop the clock - In football (soccer) it's all go go go go go and they don't stop the clock, which is great. In rugby, the clock stops. It was nice for me because I could ask my dumb questions and not feel like I was speaking to the entranced, focused, and seemingly brain dead people around me. 

The scrum; it's actually mightier than it sounds - Basically the teams bunch up in a violent head to head huddle in order to get the ball. Lots of GRRRRs and grunts heard from the Ref Link earpiece. I had to ask the Fiance what the referee was saying because due to the accent and the poor quality of the radio it sounded like the ref was just saying "punch!" Apparently, it was "touch". I think "punch" would have been more appropriate....

The people are like, 12 feet tall!! -Well, maybe they're not 12 feet tall all the time. That would be craziness. But during a "line out" (done after the ball goes out of bounds), the players can get lifted up really high into the air in order to get the ball. Pretty awesome.

No, not interpretive dancing. It's a statue outside the stadium of the players getting lifted into the air!

It's called a try, not a touchdown - Don't say touchdown. You'll get evil looks. A "try" is the touchdown equivalent in rugby. Except once the team runs it into their "end zone" (called the try line), it must be put on the ground with full control by the player. So technically, if the team is inching towards the try line, the other team can block the ball with their hand to prevent them from scoring. Likewise, if the ball stumbles out of the players hand behind the try line, it doesn't count either. Tricky, isn't it?

So there you have it! Everything useful you need to know about the game of rugby.

Oh the points system you ask? Just listen to the amount of enthusiasm of the drunken people behind you singing "Swing low, sweet chariot" to determine whether or not your team is winning. That's what's more important.

If you were visiting the UK from abroad, or you had friends/family visiting the UK from abroad, would you rather go to a football (soccer), cricket, or rugby game and why?


  1. I want to hear what you thought of the drunk fans on the trains back home - you know they say that football is a gentleman's game played by hooligans while rugby is a hooligan's game played by gentlemen!

    When it gets warmer you'll see there are tons of co-ed touch rugby leagues out there - you should try! it's so fun :)

    1. Actually the train back wasn't so bad! Very crowded though!! We ended up sitting on the floor most of the time.
      But I like that quote! And it was a completely different atmosphere compared to football!

  2. I love the comment about Alaska, I spent a little over a year living there and that one winter was definitely hard. Especially since there was snow on the ground from October-March that never melted. I did like that you gained around 4 minutes of daylight everyday starting December 22, it was nice to actually see the change in daylight everyday.

    1. I'd love to go to Alaska! I nearly did (I worked on a Disney cruise ship and literally the week I left was the week they started the Alaskan cruises). But I love snow and love cold, but this sun setting so early thing really irritates me!! It feels like midnight when it's like, 7pm!!


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