Sat'day Nite Lites

Rugby. Just one of the many great team sports invented by the Brits. Not enough exposure is given to this world-class spectator sport in North America.. a similar fate to the likes of cricket and soccer (football). So it was a treat to observe an international 'friendly'.. NOT. and the opportune moment to proudly wear my black rugby shirt.


The venue; BMO Field, actually a soccer stadium, home to the Toronto Football Club.

The event;  Test Match between 8th seed Ireland and hosts 13th seed Canada.

The time; 8 p.m. kick-off on a balmy spring night.

The entourage; three good mates, Ben, Doc and me, equal parts ignorant towards the game. 

This game is played by real men. Tough, gritty, all brawn. The Europeans and the Commonwealth nations got it right… helmets, pads and tights are for sissies. Cracked head? Wrap the cranium in bandage and send 'em out again. Bloody nose? Stick tampons up their nostrils and let 'em breath through their ears.

These guys are built like trucks and they're not afraid to use their burly thighs to run you over like one.

The rules of the game seem simple enough. Carry the ball forwards by passing it backwards. Five points when the team crosses the opponent's end zone. Another two points with a conversion kick. Similar to American Football... but different. A 'touchdown' is a 'try'. The quarterback's forward throw is replaced by all the team member's back pass. The rest are just details.

Confused already? Here are some unique plays of the game:

The scrum. Team-mates band together, bend over, and head-butt the opposing team to gain possession of a ground ball.

The line-out. The ball is thrown into play from the boundary. Players elevate a team-mate by the buttocks to snatch the ball from the air. A skillful move, as I imagine a slip of the hand could result in a painful wedgie for the air bound.

The ball is kicked forward and out of bounds. WTF? I have no explanation for this one.


All-in-all, it was a good night out. Getting caught in cross-fire between green and red hooligans was part of the fun. "Still game enough to wear your outfit when we take on the All-Blacks?" asked Ben. Sure, just patch me up and set me standing if the worst happens.

June 15, 2013

© Prakoso Sastrowardoyo 2012