12 February 2006

On the Glory of Rugby

As I'm sure you're all aware, last weekend was a huge one in the world of sport. That's right, it was the opening of the 'Six Nations Championship', one of the biggest rugby tournaments in the world besides the World Cup. After beating Scotland today, Wales is 1 - 1. Having now watched a half dozen or more Rugby matches - with some coaching along the way from fans who really know the game - I feel compelled to compile a short list of reasons why rugby rules!
  • Watch a mere half of Rugby on television (or 5 minutes live), and you can no longer take American football seriously. The list of reasons is long: no specialised offense and defense, no pads, no stopping between plays, etc. Oh, and the sideline is not a place that you run to for safety, if the opposing team can throw the ballcarrier out of bounds, it's a turnover - so players never run out of bounds intentionally.
  • Listening to the umpire talk to the players and keep the game in control is watching artistry.
  • Two words: 'blood reversals!'
  • The sportsmanship is astonishing: at the end of the game, one team heads toward the locker room, forms two lines and then applauds the other team as they walk by. The team walking out then forms their own lines and does the same.
In the game today, the Scottish player of the match from last week was given a red card for kicking the head of a Welsh player. The umpire called both players over (the Welsh player had committed a penalty first by making a late tackle on the Scottish guy), to give them his decision. As he did so, the Scottish player immediately reached over and apologised to the Welsh player, and they then walked to the sidelines together. It was genuine. Wow.

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