For sheer entertainment value, this year’s rugby world cup is surpassing all expectations with the so called small teams , we are experiencing upsets, a tries galore and all the makers one would get from a blockbuster.
Talking to colleagues lucky enough to be in Wales and England (world cup venues) , they all sound like they are living their dreams but beneath the sheer entertainment we have come to look at some sub-plots that might have been overlooked.
“Rugby is a hooligans game played by gentlemen where as football is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans,” an old English saying that many in the rugby fraternity have gone to live by.
When a first timer watches rugby, one would be hard fooled to think the game is played by a bunch of rascals trying to tear each other apart, on the contrary rugby players are some of the smartest sportsmen around. I’m talking doctors like Wales’ Jonathan Davies Engineers like Japan’s Micheal Leitch, Pharmacists, lawyers the list goes on and on.
So when these intellectual beings decide to ruck and maul for a bruising eighty minutes they do so with a lot of respect shown to not only their opponents but also the referee.
Rugby is the only sport (I know) where despite a referee getting the call wrong only the captains of their teams will try to talk to them with the rest of the team obediently following the rules down to the wire.
What sets rugby apart is the friendly teasing banter that is exchanged at the worst of times but at the best of times, supporters fell over themselves to talk up how superior the other team was to their own. (South African fans after their loss to Japan.)
For 80 minutes don’t expect a Roman colosseum on a rugby pitch but it’s the after match drink that rival teams players share that brings out the best in them, that gentleman spirit as they laugh at each other’s undoings in the match.