Rugby Mania

So in my last post I mentioned my new sport, rugby. It all started last year while watching the London 7s at Twickenham. We went as a big group and me and my friend thought we could out do our husbands – we were not so confident in our rugby skills so decided to try Tag rugby. Coincidentally (or perhaps not so) this is who runs it in London. Amanda and I searched for a team and, luckily for me, we didn’t have to go far as the Londons Wasps RFU training group is about 1.5 miles away from home and has its own mixed league. I’m not sure what our captain Toby thought of us when we first arrived. I had no idea what I was doing and my fitness wasn’t great but I think we have steadily improved and a few weeks ago I got player of the match! Tag rugby is a lot of fun. We play on a mixed team and the girls score 2 points when they score a try and the boys only 1. Why? I guess to encourage more females to play and for the boys to pass to the girls so we can score.

The SackWhackers

The SackWhackers

Our team’s name is called the SackWhackers. Most of the names are pretty funny. It’s quite interesting to see the different dynamics in this sport. You don’t have to be big (and actually it’s probably a slight disadvantage) as it’s a non contact sport. Gawain has been called up several times for players effectively not moving out of his way and recently thanks to my rugby training I’ve been making more “contact”. A few players have moved on from rugby and you can tell, when they drop their shoulders and get low down. A couple of weeks ago, one of my team-mates (a rugby playing guy) even tackled a guy!

I played in a memorial tournament last Sunday for an Irish tag player who sadly passed away in December. I didn’t know Michelle personally but I could see that there were a lot of people saddened by her death. I played on an individuals team and it was weird not having my team-mates around me but everyone was really friendly. It was so cold playing in the windy Clapham Common that I could barely tag. The worst is when you think you have someone and the tag is in your hand but then they swivel and they are gone. I managed to chase a couple of times and was successful but with the chill factor I found the game pretty tough and tiring. While waiting around to play, I noticed some girls and boys playing some kind of rugby game. At first I thought maybe it was a bootcamp but when I went to check out the signs (even though I have had successful laser eye surgery) I found out it was Aussie Rules. I have no clue about it, but it looked like the girls were having fun and they invited me to come along for a training session. After thinking that could be a great idea (great for the kicking skills) I’ve reconsidered and decided to just focus on the tag and the rugby. Maybe in the future.

I joined the rugby mainly to improve my tag but I’m finding it really fun. I’m playing my rugby at Hammersmith and Fulham RFC in Parson’s Green. I think I’ll give rugby a good shot for a couple of years and see how I get on. I’m watching games now with a lot more interest and understanding. On the streets now, I also eye out where I would like to tackle people (though note I’ve not tackled people randomly on the street). I played my first game a couple of weeks ago and I had no idea what I was doing. I got caught up in the maul a couple of times, had to chase down a girl and generally try to tackle someone running sideways. It was really fun and I hope I can get some more games in before the season ends. 

Ga use to play rugby (I think he was a prop). But he hasn’t played for a long time! He teamed up with former England Coach Sir Clive Woodward for the London Chess Classic pro biz.

Sir Clive and Gawain.

Sir Clive and Gawain.

At high school I was never very sporty. I always wanted to skip P.E (as we call it in NZ) and it wasn’t until recently that I’ve started to up my fitness. Team sports is def the way to go for me. I’m super competitive and extra motivated when there are people around. My dad was a pretty fast runner back in the day and my little brother plays rugby league. My little brother use to be a chess player but stopped and took up sports. His high school Otahuhu College were 2011 NZ Secondary School Champions.

I love this action shot of my little bro. Copyright @ Andrew Cornaga

I love this action shot of my little bro. Copyright @ Andrew Cornaga

Playing rugby and tag rugby kind of reminds me of the time I did French and Spanish at high school. I was always confusing myself with la/el/le/los plus of course all the vocab and most of the verb conjugations! I’m trying to remember that tag is non contact (at all) and rugby is all contact. There are other minor things like in tag you can’t dive for a try you have to place down. There is also some weird rules about kicking in tag (I think) such as you can’t kick above head height and the ball has to bounce first before you kick it.

I’m looking forward to the 6 Nations where I’ll support England. Of course the ABs will always be my number 1 team but I’ll support England in the 6 Nations.

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