Hobbies, Leicester Tigers, Rugby Union, Twickenham

Scrums, Mauls and Rucks – A few things I have learned…

Up until around six weeks ago I had only ever watched a handful of premiership games, European cup games and international’s. And these were all sitting at home, confused about why a scrum was being given or what a ruck even was. I could only remember what a few of the positions were called and trying hard to learn the names of the players. Football, its rules, players and positions have always come easily to me – the same with cricket – but I have found rugby a different kettle of fish. This doesn’t mean to say I am not willing to learn or put in the effort.

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Twickenham, a giant finger and me! 

The Aviva Premiership started at the beginning of September and there was a double-header between Saracens v Worcester and Harlequins v Bristol at Twickenham. This was my first trip to Twickenham and the stadium itself did not disappoint. The first game however did – the Pimms and Prosecco made up for this and saw me through the first eighty minutes! The next trip was also to Twickenham to see my first international match between

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Welford Road at the top and Twickenham at the bottom.

Australia v Argentina. This game was easily the most dramatic and exciting – I absolutely loved it! Argentina were the better team but they just were not clinical enough. Even as an amateur I could see this. It was so frustrating watching them drop pass after pass, conceding needless penalties and giving away possession from rucks. I think that’s the most technical I can get about this game…one of the best things about this match however was my giant finger I bought before the game. I felt like a big kid and I embraced it fully!

As most of the crowd didn’t have an emotional tie with either side, the atmosphere seemed upbeat and relaxed. It seemed most people were there to enjoy themselves and see some top-level rugby. I found the difference between league and national rugby to be massive. The tempo of national rugby was a lot higher and the game was played at a quicker pace. It’s something I hope Twickenham do every year as it was amazing value for money and great for the sport to have so many casual spectators – I for one, have been converted to being a rugby fan because of the excitement and drama of games such as this one.

Last Sunday saw me going to my most recent game at Welford Road to see the All Blacks legend Dan Carter and his Racing 92 side take on Leicester Tigers. After watching the 2015 Rugby World Cup, I think I fell a bit in love with Dan Carter and the New Zealand team – their style of play is exactly what I want to see from a match. They are exciting, innovative and a well-rounded team. Well, as far as I can see they are! Let’s face it I don’t have a clue what I’m on about, I just like seeing lots of tries and points being scored! The game was a frustrating one, Leicester chucking away many opportunities just as Argentina had done and they defeated Racing in the end. The highlight of the day for me though was seeing the world’s best number 10 score a fantastic solo try early in the second half to get his team almost level on points with the Tigers. He’s the highest points scorer in the game and I have seen him score a try, not many people in England can say that. It’s moments

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South Africa and Leicester Tigers player – JP Pietersen.

like those that you treasure forever and I consider myself to be lucky to have witnessed it.

After the game. I was fortunate enough to go into the Player’s lounge where there were many legends of the game. Being new to the fold, I didn’t know hardly any of them; luckily for me though I had two experts on-hand to guide me through and point out who was who. The highlight was meeting and having my picture taken with a world cup winner – JP Pietersen. All the players were extremely accommodating, stopping to have their pictures taken and to sign mini rugby balls for the young fans who waited for them after the match.

Since then I have been trying to brush up on my basic knowledge of the game and learning the rules, but there are so many! It’s something I want to learn more about and hopefully attend many more games in the future.

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