Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Confessions Of A Rugby Virgin

Ok I gave it a try (pardon the pun).

On Saturday evening I sat through my first full 80 minutes of televised rugby to watch England reach the World Cup Final for the second time in a row.

Now don't get me wrong, I can recognise pride passion and commitment in any sport, and was obviously pleased that we had beaten "Les Bleus".

But I must confess, as a game ruby simply leaves me cold.

I can't help but compare it with "proper"football. In that game the ball is always clearly visible, and even a newcomer watching the game should - with the exception of offside - have a pretty basic grasp of the rules after 15 minutes or so. But I found myself watchig 80 minutes of a major sporting event and not having a clue what was going on.

Half the game seemed to be spent with the ball out of sight under a pile of players, which would end with the referee blowing his whistle for a penalty, semingly awarded (to the novice eye) totally randomly. In football part of the attraction of watching the game is to shout for a fol, then cheer or ridicule the referee depending on his decision. In rugby it seems to be sit cluelessly watching untill the referee makes an unfathomable decision.

I could only make out two discernible tactics. One was for the team to advance forward en masse, passing the ball from one to the other across the pitch. This, whilst looking exciting only seemed to have two possible outcomes, either for the player with the ball to change direction and run into an opponent or for the whole team to simply run out of space and/or men to pass to. The other tactic was to catch or pick up the ball and kick it into the crowd.

No doubt some of my rugby loving friends will be reading this with disgust. I'll give it another go for the final, after all it is England whatever the sport. But before then, will somebody, please, explain it all to me. !

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