7.10.17 COARSE RUGBY The art of
At 7.45 last evening I sat back in my armchair, whisky in hand to watch the Premier League Rugby match between Harlequins and Sale Sharks. For 80 minutes two teams of incredibly fit and strong young men hurled themselves at each other to score or prevent tries.
How different, how so very different from my participation in the game at the very bottom of the food chain...COARSE RUGBY.
This bears little or no resemblance to televised matches but is what REAL rugby is all about. It also gave birth to quite the funniest book on any sport ever written, and funny because it is so painfully true!
Michael Green wrote "The Art of Coarse Rugby" in the early 1960s and is the standard work on the subject, as true now as it was then. It brings back memories of freezing Saturday afternoons out there on the right wing, plotting how not to get caught up in a ruck or having to take a high ball with some psychopath bearing down on me, intent on avenging some imagined wrong.
Coarse rugby is still played by Extra B teams on distant wastelands far from public gaze by eclectic groups of indivduals...the unfit, the elderly who will not admit to age, the cowardly, the craven youths shouted on by touchline fathers, recruited goal keepers from neighbouring soccer pitches and of course those only there for the booze up afterwards.
It is a culture typified by my step brother. In his later playing days he made his position quite clear. He was there to HOOK. He did not do running, passing or kicking although in an emergency would deliver a devastating and generally illegal tackle.
There is so much in the book that every Coarse player worthy of his salt will recognise. In one chapter, Green describes a match played without the referee who failed to turn up and where all decisions were made by popular acclaim. Hell, I once played in a game like that, the arrangement working surprisingly well. (I consider it a pity that English Rugby has not taken it up).
In short, RUGBY players at this level, RUGGER players at a higher and spectators alike do read this book, and if you haven't already done so, fie on you!