I’ve just arrived home after a wonderful day in the Aviva Stadium. The boys and I watched a thrilling game between Ireland and Scotland. After an indifferent first half, Ireland let fly and romped home in style in the second half – 28 points to 6.
I loved every minute of it. There’s a real style to the game that makes it thrilling to watch. It was only my first time in the Aviva and my second time at a rugby international. We had a great vantage point behind the Southern goal-posts. Even though the Aviva holds well over 40,000 people, it seems very small and intimate. The play seems close and personal.
I have to admit, though, I know very little about rugby. I understand tries and conversions, I think I understand line-outs and I get it that you can’t pass the ball forwards, but otherwise it’s all a bit of a mystery to me. And those names! Props and Out-halfs and Hookers, Jive Wookies and Rear-Flank Ball Breakers (ok, I made the last two up): I know they must mean something, but I’m completely at a loss to what it might be.
And all these south-city types, talking about the plays. Jesus, it’s like a foreign language. I mean, look at this from the IRFU today:
5 mins – Rory Best combines with Heaslip in the lineout. First decent bit of possession for Ireland. A double hit on Luke Marshall leads to a ruck in midfield and Ireland are pinged for ‘sealing off’.
I mean, what the hell are they talking about? Combine harvesters, satanism, drinking games, table-tennis and window repair would be my best guess.
Here’s another comment from the IRFU blog later in the game:
27 mins – O’Mahony gets up to disrupt the lineout, it is back on the Irish side and Conor Murray goes the aerial route. Possession back to Scotland though and they counter from inside their own half.
Did O’Mahony suddenly become Scottish for a while and start flying, or something? Was I watching Quidditch, perhaps, and didn’t realise?
Ok, one last one:
54 mins – Marshall is used for a crash ball run. Ireland bring play out to the left with good carries from Heaslip and Best. Sexton leads a wraparound move that ends with Rob Kearney being brought down.
A Crash Ball Run? Wasn’t that some sort of Hollywood movie in the 70’s? And what is a wraparound move? Sounds sexy. No wonder Kearney was down on his knees.
I have to admit it. These guys (and probably 99% of the spectators, fuck ’em) saw a completely different game to me. While I was going Ooh as one of the green fellows was hit by a blue fellow, everyone else was going “Smart pinging on the pong frame by O’Driscoll there. Will he ruck to make the 10 metre line scrum?” or some equally nonsensical bullshit like that.
No matter what the sport has ever been, I have always failed utterly in understanding the language that goes with them. Even though I come from a hurling tradition, my train of thought never deviated much from “guy with stick hits ball to other guy with stick”. Rugby, however, is in a class of its own.
As far as I am concerned, they are making it up as they go along. I prefer to believe that none of them know what they are talking about and that it’s all the ref’s fault anyway.
In any case, it was a huge amount of fun and a great day out. Just don’t ask me to explain it. Please. Just don’t.