Blogitandscarpa on 7th Mar 2023

What do you call American football without the showboating. And adverts. And stoppages every 10 seconds. And without pads and helmets. And tights. And with no bloody Coldplay or U2 at halftime? The answer? Rugby.

You may have seen clips of these lunatics, running around a freezing field, with no protection, charging into each other at 100 miles per hour, trying to separate heads from bodies, with the sole intention of putting an egg-shaped pigs bladder under an H-shaped wooden structure at the end of a 100 yard long, patch of mud that hasn’t defrosted from the Ice Age (the large H is actually the sign for where the helicopters can land to take the injured lunatics to hospital). And if you haven’t been taken to hospital, and even though you may have physically altered the opponents face at some point in the game, you shake hands and have a beer with them afterwards. And, as is customary amongst the rugby fraternity, you will probably drink said beer strained through the worn underpants of the chubbiest member of the team (the prop).

Rugby was invented in the Warwickshire town of Rugby, at the very famous private boys school called Rugby School. A young chap called Webb Ellis (a very private schoolboy boys name) got bored whilst playing football (as in football, the real football, not the thing you lot call football, with the adverts, tights, Coldplay etc), so he picked up the round football and ran with it. Everyone tried to beat the crap out of Webb for ruining a perfectly good game, so he ran as if his life depended on it (because it did), and the very clever chap that he was, thought it would be best to run to the local hospital, to save time. Everyone had great fun chasing Webb, and even more fun hearing the sound of his body breaking and hence a new sport was born, in the town of Rugby, at the school called Rugby. They just needed a name for it.

Whilst celebrating the hunting down of young Webb, with copious amounts of ale, the protagonists came up with the rules of the ‘game’. It took them 10 seconds. Put an egg-shaped pig's bladder in the middle of a field, set 15 toffs (rich kids with no brains or moral compass) against each other, and see who survives. The team with the most players still standing after 80 minutes, wins. Then the toffs came up with names for the positions. If you though tight-end and wide-receiver were questionable, then how about fly-half and hooker?? The fly-half has to have bleached hair and must love himself. The hooker must have no hair and hate absolutely everything. Especially the opponent's hooker. They say the name comes from the fact that the hooker hooks the ball behind him in the scrum to retain possession of the bladder (a sentence that a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters wouldn’t even come up with), but in reality, because of his physical looks and personality, the hooker is so called because otherwise he’d be a virgin.

In the late 19th century, having beaten up all of their fellow countrymen, the toffs remembered that they hated the Welsh. And the Scottish. And the Irish. So they formed a competition, called the 4 Nations (there were four nations you see, and the toffs liked to remind the peasants how clever they were) and they spent the next 100 years thoroughly enjoying beating up toffs with different accents. Then the day came. There was no-one else left to beat up. Fear abounded. Would the game just die? A new enemy was needed. A particularly clever toff, probably called Tarquin, or Miles, reminded everyone of Agincourt, Waterloo and French Fries. The call went out and the French were invited to join the competition. The British toffs were very excited about ‘playing’ the crap out of the French, who wouldn’t be, but the French didn’t read the script (typical, bloody French!!) and brought flair and imagination to the competition, and started to beat the British teams. So they invited the Italians. And the Italians didn’t even have a team. They were awful. But they looked great. And they looked especially great when they beat the Welsh last year. And so, since 2000, every year, the 6 Nations line up against each other to celebrate sportsmanship, respect and the beautiful game.

This year, the favourites are the Irish. And the French. But I don’t really care who wins it to be honest. As long as we beat the Sheep Shaggers.

The Six Nations continues on Saturday 11th March, when England take on France. Come on down to The Queens Pantry to watch England win (they won’t win. The French are formidable).