All is nonsense in the rugby universe…

Posted on May 2, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Jackson finally got to play rugby!  There had been a mix-up with his registration and his name didn’t get put on the team list. They started practicing on April 15th.  He was added the following week but couldn’t practice because of the school play.  The last practice was cancelled because of  snowfall. Not knowing what to expect, we loaded up in the truck and headed off to the game this morning.

With the help of several people we found his team and he was able to join in the warm-up.  Jackson’s rugby experience is two weeks of tag rugby at the beginning of the school year.  Contact rugby is a whole other beast.  The first step was to learn how to tackle someone – and how to fall when someone tackles you!  They worked on passing drills and ran a lot.  His team was so large they split into two groups and we followed his half of the team to the other field for the game.

What did I know about rugby before this?  I always considered it “football without the pads”.  Jackson was so against playing football that I wasn’t sure how he would handle rugby.  I honestly thought he would end up tolerating the next 3 months and jump for joy when the season ended.  I found myself comparing rugby to football today – which is something you shouldn’t do. They are different in every way.  One way is that football makes sense.

Growing up with a football coach for a father I was indoctrinated in the ways of football at an early age. The goal of the game is to get the ball down the field.  How do you do that? Well for starters you pass the ball down the field.  This isn’t the case in rugby. You are only allowed to pass the ball sideways or backwards – which seems counterproductive to me.  I’m also accustomed to the play ending when the player is tackled.  Once again, not the case in rugby.  I’m not really sure when the play ends.

Getting back to Jackson’s game… he did very well.  He got in the mix and tackled people and ran with the ball.  He made some great passes (backwards) and worked to support his team.  Periodically in the game they would scrum.  Thanks to Sarah, my personal rugby encyclopedia, I knew the basics of scrumming – but I still don’t know why you scrum or what determines when.

Scrummingwhen three members of each team, arms locked, line up facing each other.  The player in the middle for each team is the hooker and they try to “hook” the ball with their feet and push it behind them to their teammates.  The players on either side of the hooker are props.  I guess they are there to keep the hooker “propped up” (pure speculation).  Essentially a big game of push and shove occurs until the ball is popped out.

So Jackson was one of the props.  According to Sarah, this is very exciting so I was happy for him.

There’s also what’s called the line-out but it isn’t done at his level.  I really don’t know much about it except you have jumpers and lifters and people are thrown up in the air to catch the ball.  I’ll have to get more information about this later…maybe Sarah can draw stick figures for me.

Scoring – so when someone scores it’s called a try.  Logically it should be a touchdown because once in the in-goal area, the player has to literally touch the ball to the ground before it counts.  I’m not sure how they are scoring Jackson’s age group. Typically the try is worth five points with the extra kick worth two.  In the U12 groups there were no extra point kicks so I’ll have to find out what’s going on.

Jackson team lost the first game.  The score was 4-3 or 20-15 (depending on which scoring system was used).  The kids are getting ready to head out when they are called back.  The field is reserved for another 30 minutes, so why not play again?  Just a short game… yeah, right.  They got to play another full game.

The second game gets underway.  Jackson is still scrumming and tackling and running with the ball.  At halftime he ran over to me and said, “Mom, I made a try!”  My first reaction was “Tried what?”  I quickly realized my faux pas and congratulated him on scoring.  His team got into the groove of passing (backwards) and this game flowed much better.  They won the second game (I have no idea what the score was).

I was completely surprised by Jackson’s thoughts of his time spent in the world of rugby.  His knees didn’t know what hit them. I know they were sore and had grass burns, but he left the fields with a huge smile on his face.  Sarah told me he would either love rugby or hate it.  I think it’s safe to say he loves it.  The rugby bug has bitten and he can’t wait to play again.  So much for “tolerating the season”.  I’m so proud of him for the way he played.  He didn’t hold anything back – he got in there and played the game.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about Zachary.  He had a blast out at the field.  His only problem was that he really wanted to play in the game.  By the time the second game got started Zachary was working on his own tackling skills.  He took Brandon down time and time again.

All in all it was a wonderful day.  Jackson got to meet his coaches and play some rugby.  I still don’t understand the game, but hopefully I can get a grasp of it soon.  For now it’s complete chaos.  I know that eventually they will have “positions” to play and then maybe – just maybe – they can run “plays” and it will be a little bit more organized.  The game might even start making sense to me… but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

As a side note – I didn’t take my camera today because I wasn’t sure if Jackson would play.  I’ll definitely snap some pictures this week at practice and at the next game.


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3 Responses to “All is nonsense in the rugby universe…”

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How proud I am to be mentioned in this blog! I am as proud as a friend/pseudo-aunty can be of your wonderful and talented sons- and you too, for being such a loving and supportive mom- you’d have to be, to take on the task of trying to understand a game that looks like 15 oafs chasing a ball around and dogpiling on one another!! I promise, you’ll be loving it before you know it Dawn!
Much love =)

Way to go Jackson! Sounds like a lot of fun. Can’t wait to see photos.

[…] wait to see him out there again – doing his thing… Here are a couple of posts (1 and 2) where you can get a quick refresher on what it was like stepping into the rugby universe for […]

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