My first experience of rugby came at school. I was a slight, underdeveloped and hungry 13 year-old, puberty a distant dream. My opposite number was also 13, but had a full (and ginger) six o’clock shadow, and was built like Fatima Whitbread. I came off after about ten minutes, my jockstrap poking out of my mouth and unable to walk.
I took it upon myself to read out loud a paragraph from the recommended text to said rugger buggers in the hall bar that night
At university I steered clear of the rugby club. Well, I tried, along with most of the other human students. But the rugger buggers made themselves known.
Pouncing on unsuspecting idlers at the bar, demanding they ‘buy two, and bolt one’. One day I happened upon a psychology lecture on the prevalence of latent homosexuality in rugby teams.
Genuinely taken with such revelations, I took it upon myself to read out loud a paragraph from the recommended text to said rugger buggers in the hall bar that night. Which was foolish as it turned out.
Things brightened up after university. Skint and unemployed, a mate of mine got a job with the RFU. It was poorly paid, but they threw in a two bed semi-detached house as part of the deal.
I paid the electricity bill and lived in relative respectability in the spare room of the house, that just so happened to back onto Twickenham stadium (south stand).
Match days would have been difficult, except for the fact that I got free tickets and as much Lucozade Sport as I could drink. The excitement became too much one night however, when I persuaded a girlfriend to pay the ultimate tribute to the England team by jumping over the fence and doing it on the Twickers turf.
It would have been a sight to behold, if it wasn’t for the security guard that caught us before we’d reached the 22 yard line.
A peculiar carry on indeed. The odd shaped ball, rules that nobody really understands, sportsmanship, thuggery, and millions upon millions of hammered Welshmen. And women.
A funnier game you’d be hard pressed to invent, but one that is about to enjoy a month and a half of unprecedented attention. The first billion pound Rugby World Cup is here folks, and I for one, can’t wait.