STEWART ISLAND, NZ – Now that Team USA has caught the fancy a growing number of American rugby fans, we thought we’d do the newcomers to the game of rugby a favor. With that, we have our gallivanting rugby guru, Johnathan Wicklow Barberie, to explain some of the most basic of terms…
SCRUM: This may look like a bunch of thugs huddled together, sharing a dear secret… But in actuality, it’s a highly choreographed kind of chaos (interesting how neither of those words have a “cha” sound on the ch”) that starts play after a break in the action after a non-penalty stoppage. We’d ask Mat Turner to explain this for us, but he’s a back and backs are anathema to toiling with the big boys in scrums.
TRY: This is the Holy Grail of Rugby, outside of trophy’s like the Webb Ellis or Heineken Cup… Anywho, a try is a score – like a touchdown in American football. In fact, the term touchdown was derived from rugby’s requirement that a ball be touched down – or grounded in a controlled fashion. If you don’t touch the ball down, it’s not a try!
But why the Waisale Serevi is a try called a try?! Simple. In the old days – somewhere likely in the 1830s (we’re too lazy to look it up), the goal of the game was to touch the ball down in the try zone so that you could “try” to kick for points through the uprights. After a while, angry scrummers revolted – livid that their hard work accounted for nothing while some scrawny back merely had to kick the ball for all the glory…
THIRD HALF: Although many things make rugby unique, this is our favorite aspect. See, after knocking each other about for 80 minutes – 14 if you’re a 7s player, it’s customary to take the visiting team to your clubhouse for a cleaning up and celebration. Foes mingle and teams sing, all the while sharing a beverage of choice. In many places, families are also part of the fun, making The Third Half fun and memorable for all.
That’s it for now but if we can one day pay our rent and utilities on a timely basis, we’ll start putting these Rugby 101 bits on video, ensuring you Yanks know rugby!
***UPDATE! We finally got the 101 going – check out our latest videos on YouTube and here!