I watched my first complete rugby match yesterday.
Not a live one. Just on TV.
I know, that's a bit of shocker given my nationality. But what can I say?
But after watching for 80 minutes I can confirm that I am a fan. Although I have no idea what the rules are.
There don't appear to be any.
It's like wrestling with a ball.
If you switched on halfway through, you'd be forgiven for thinking you had just tuned in to a period drama - seriously, if anyone's ever casting for a "pub brawl" scene in Medieval times, start scouting on the rugby field!
I was particularly proud of this majestic fellow:
[a fantastic head of hair and taking a head-butt to the groin: Welsh]
I was actually watching the All Blacks vs. Argentina. But after that match, they had highlights from the Ireland vs. Wales game.
The contrast between the two games was night and day. If I thought the first had no rules…I was in for a shocker!
These guys were ALL OVER THE PLACE!
[even in the back, staggering in for more...]
It was like a constant, rolling mass of gargoyles. With the occasional ball-sighting.
And to make it even more enjoyable, presiding over these brutes as a referee, they'd sent in the Alan Partridge of the Rugby world:
[note the nervous Englishman in white: "ah, excuse me please, actually, ah, I don't think you're supposed to pull his ah, oh...nevermind..."]
I imagine it was him who came up with all the terminology.
A few happy examples:
Sin Binned - literally, a player sent to the naughty chair for 10 minutes.
Illegal Wheeling - moving incorrectly during a scrum. So there are rules...?
Handling Error - some idiot dropped the ball.
Then I remembered the time I met a Malaysian rugby player.
Well, I don't know if it really counts as a "meeting".
He ignored me as I stood next to my friend, who he was talking to.
Anyway, this inspired me to google some Malaysian rugby facts. Here's what I found:
1. There are more than 300 rugby clubs in Malaysia
2. Malaysia have been trying (and failing) to qualify for the Rugby World Cup since 1995 (yes, that's 16 years).
3. The national team's worst defeat was against South Korea in 1996 - 112 to 5. Take a second to look at those numbers. That's incredible. Who knew South Korea even played rugby??
Sorry. Those really were the most interesting facts.
If it makes you feel better, here's a picture of my team being destroyed by the French.
[i vill kill you]