“Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen; soccer is a gentleman’s game played by beasts; football is a beastly game played by beasts.” – Henry Blaha
Yeh right a phrase which is often quoted in an attempt to portray rugby as the superior game in terms of players and those who follow it. To me that quote is not just about the game, it also has always had distasteful class over tones. Even in these more enlightened times where rugby players are professionals football is a distasteful, vulgar, mercenary, sport compared to the Corinthian spirit that courses through the veins of rugby. This is a situation that only exists in the imagination of the romantically deluded nonetheless the generally held belief is that rugger types play up and play the game. They are fair, civilised and respectful whilst football types are dastardly, thuggish, primeval urchins!
What I have never been able to understand is when rugby fans to get absolutely bladdered and piss and vomit all over every where and each other this is put down to high spirits. However, when football fans do the same they are violent thugs who should be stun gunned and tear gassed? Is this where the class thing comes in? Football has it’s roots as a working class sport while rugby doesn’t and the masses have to be kept in their place don’t they? Probably an outdated view but the undercurrent still seems to there if some of the arrogant, spoilt, oafish, bores I witnessed at Twickenham on Saturday are anything to go by!
If rugby fans are so fair and civilised how does one explain the booing that the Australian kickers received when they were running up to take a penalty on Saturday’s match? What about the slow handclapping they received as they won yet another penalty even though this was down to the incompetence and lack of discipline of the England team! What about the intolerant treatment Danny Cipriani received for missing a few kicks? Give him a chance. The lad is still young and learning the game. He is not Johnny Wilkinson but do his errors merit the sort of comments that were coming from the stands about his private life?
As for “beasts” many are on the football pitches and stadiums of the world. Yet they exist in all walks of life be it ANY sport or at work and on Saturdays evidence, even though many will seek to deny it, plenty have managed to find their way into the stands of Rugby HQ.
What a relief to get home and watch some real class from Reebok!