rugby 101

Rugby 101 - #4 The Pitch
—  Rugby pitches are green, with white lines.

These white lines represent the following in both halves:

Halfway line - This line represents the point where players will go from ‘probably having their head stamped on’ to 'definitely going to have their head stamped on, possibly by more than one person.’

10 Metre line - this line is so named because it is the average distance an opposition player can be kicked back into their own half. 

22 metre line - this line is rarely ever reached, at least not by anyone who isn’t 19st and has thighs with a circumference of a small outer orbit planet. 22 metres also represents the length of the queue for the emergency dentist after games.

5 metre line - this line is not only the distance to the Try line, but also the ball carriers chance of survival.

Try line - this line is so called because people have tried to reach it, but have lost limbs on the way.

Dead ball line - Anyone past this line is dead or dying. Conversions or drop goals become more difficult when a pile of bodies is blocking the way, so it is within the teams best interest to arrange ex-team members into the highest structure possible. 
Rugby 101: #9 - The Ten Commandments

What many non-rugby playing observers ask when watching their first game is: ‘are there actually any rules in this game or is it just fighting with a ball?’. Oh naïve people, of course it’s so much more than that. It’s fighting with a ball, in the mud.

Despite its seemingly barbaric nature, Rugby does have a series of rules, which were handed to The Lord Jonah Lomu on stone tablets. Despite being half eaten, the stone tablets are still legible:

I - Thou shalt not kill (the ball in a ruck).

II - The meek shall not inherit the earth; they shalt be trampled on in rucks. Go forth and be bold.

III - Thou shalt have no other sport but Rugby.

IV - Thou shalt never run sideways, for Rugby God shalt smite thee down with a Flanker. The humble crab runneth to the sides, and they are shit at Rugby.

V - Thou shalt not disrespect the Haka. Replyeth like the bold Welsh, not the hand-holding French.

VI -
 Thou shalt learn to offload with style. If thou hast to be tackled, maketh sure you can perform a behind the back spin pass with one hand and a hand-off with the other.

VII - Thou shalt always respect thy ball and thy boot; those who kick without pureness of strike shall meet the Ball Devil who controlleth ‘the shitty bounce’.

 Those who seek to cross the try-line shall be prepared to give their all. Thy teeth are less important than thy scoring record. Nobody enters the grassy paradise without blood, sweat and tears. Nobody said they had to be yours.

IX - Thou shalt never complain that the forwards or backs are not working hard. Thy prop and thy centre may punch harder than thou.

X - Thou shalt keep thy Holy day sacred. Alcohol shall not be consumed on the eve of a match, and anyone left sober after a match should be tied to a goalpost and stoned to death.

Rugby 101: #7 - Players cont.

Rugby teams consist of 15 players split into forwards and backs (see Rugby 101 #1). The 8 forwards and 7 backs are split into several other positions. Here is a breakdown of those positions and what they add to the game:

1. Hooker - Hookers hook the ball at scrums. They come in all shapes and sizes, though usually short and round. They have heard every joke imaginable about being called a hooker. They especially like the one where you go: ‘Your mom’s a hooker…’

2 and 3. Props - Props (or to use the traditional name 'Big Fat Lads’) are the big fat lads on the team. They form up either side of the Hooker in a scrum, and their sole purpose is to be hard to push over; a job many Backs point out could be done by a wall of concrete, only with more intelligence. Contrary to popular belief, the African Elephant is not the world’s largest land mammal; Tony Woodcock is.

4 and 5. Second Rows - Usually the tallest people on the pitch, Second Rows are the true giants of Rugby. They’re the guys you see hoiked up during line-outs. This is not because they are the tallest, but because if they WERE to be dropped on their heads, they are the players where permanent brain damage would be least noticeable. 

6 and 7. Flankers - Flankers are usually the the guys on the pitch that tackle hardest, run hardest, push hardest and are generally the hardest guys on the pitch. It is not uncommon for Flankers to hit people on the fringes of scrums and rucks so hard, that they land 30 seconds in the past.

8. Number 8 - Number 8s are the anchor of the scrum, bringing up the rear of a pile of men (literally), with conviction. 

9. Scrum Half - The most annoying little pricks on the pitch. They’re small, nimble and complain a lot. They think they’re essential to a successful Rugby team, when realistically their job could be done by a child (or Peter Stringer, same thing). Scrum halves think that they should be applauded for box-kicking a ball out of danger, when really, everyone else thinks they’re a pussy.

10. Fly Half -  The second most annoying prick on the pitch is the fly-half; a hair stylist/footballer who’s personal goal is to pretend to play rugby in order to get girls. They do this with their brightly coloured boots, flowing locks of hair and pristine kit. There is nothing more satisfying than dumping a fly-half on his head, though don’t expect their hair to be messed up; fly-halves can withstand lethal doses of hair gel that would kill other humans.

11 and 14. Wingers - These are the fastest guys on the pitch. Wingers are also usually very quiet, owing to the fact that the vast majority do not have the ability to walk and talk at the same time. Wingers need to be able to cope with horrendous miss-passes from ambitious Fly-halves who seem to think that a 40 yard spin pass to a man who has already overtaken them, is better than a 10 yard pass to a Centre with a quarter mile gap in front of him. 

12 and 13. Centres - Without Centres screaming at them and threatening them with horrendous acts of violence, Fly-halves would kick anything and everything at the bat of an eyelid. Centres add some defensive muscle to the backs and, if the back line were an evolutionary progression, the Centres are the hulking man-beasts to the Fly-half’s hunchbacked gimp monkey, and the Scrum-halfs newt-like slimeball.

15. Full-Back - The Full-back or 'Far Away Blame Boy’ is your last line of defence. They need to be able to catch, kick and run under pressure. If they fail to do any one of these even once in their lifetime, they should be abused mercilessly, called names and accidently on purpose kicked in rucks. Full backs were introduced so that even the gangly freak at school could play rugby.

Or they’ll be like Jason Robinson and be the baddest man on the pitch.

Rugby 101: #6 - Kit.

Despite the protestations of the female fans of the sport, Rugby players have to wear kits. Here is a detailed break-down of the essential equipment needed before a player is ready to play:

Scrumcap: The humble scrum-cap is worn by Forwards, pussy Backs and football goalkeeper Petr Cech to limit minor head injures which include but are not limited to:

- Loss of ear
- Loss of jaw
- Loss of vision
- Loss of braincells

Not included are:

- Loss of teeth
- Loss of virginity

Mouthguard: Contrary to popular belief, the mouthguard or ‘gumshield’ was introduced to Rugby not in order to prevent mouth injuries, but to stop South African players eating touring teams. Gumshields are effective for small collisions such as train wrecks, explosions or wrecking balls. They will not protect you from Schalk Burger or Brian Lima. In these situations it is better to swallow your own teeth than have them smashed through the back of your skull.

Shirt: Back in the day, Rugby shirts were made of cotton, were 7 sizes too big, and when muddy and wet, weighed about 3 and a half ton. These shirts were subsequently banned when, on a particularly wet and muddy day, Jonah Lomu landed on a scrum-half and they were never seen again.

Shorts: Rugby shorts are world renowned for their awesomeness. They are the only man made object that can contain Alesana Tuilagi’s thighs.

Socks: Socks are worn because socks are normally worn. They don’t need to be worn, they just are worn.

Boots: Boots are usually black and made by a reputable Rugby boot brand. However, on some occasions players may find it more fashionable to wear boots of unorthodox colours, and sometimes even 'forbidden colours’ like pink or yellow. These are informally known as 'hit me first’ boots due to the fact that the player is seemingly asking for flankers and other massive people, to kick the living shit out of them, even before the game kicks-off. Hit me first boots are commonly worn by pretty-boy fly halves or wingers who 'dance’ when taking on opponents.

Sidestepping, prancing, spinning and diving are not necessary in Rugby; if it is human, it can be killed. And if it can be killed, it can be pushed over. And if it can be pushed over, it can be stepped over or around. 

Rugby 101: #10 - the team talk

Rugby is a passionate game. Teams act more like brothers (or sisters to all of our womanly followers out there) than the random selection of local misfits/ex-criminals that they are. The rugby team talk usually consists of anything up to 420 swear words, death threats and awe inspiring, poetic imagery.

Here are a few phrases that you can use next time you need to inspire your teams to victory:

‘Grab some shirt’ - Gentlemen, would you be so kind to form a close huddle in which we can discuss tactics and our plan for this match.

'I’m not here to fuck about’ - I am here to get intoxicated, fight someone and get muddy. And fuck about.

'We’re all in this together’ - We are solely relying on the fastest/strongest/ most English player on the team. Without them we are fucked.

'We need a big first 10 minutes, set down a marker.’ - In the first ten minutes we will concede eleven tries and shall continue to concede throughout the game.

'Don’t let your heads drop.’ - Do not get discouraged Gentlemen, just harbour an unhealthy amount of anger at those responsible for the team’s failures.

'Let’s go out there and show them who wants this more.’ - They want it more, and now we shall go about proving it.

'Big hits lads, big hits.’ - We are going to get hurt regardless, at least try and take someone out with you.

'No missed tackles.’ - This is a friendly reminder to our shitty fullback that if he misses another tackle I’ll throttle him.

'Let them know they’ve had to work for this.’ - If we can’t better them on the scoreboard, gouge their eyes out.

'Smash seven shades of shit out of them, don’t give them any respect.’ - They’re taller, faster, stronger and more skilled than we are, we wont be able to beat them, so let’s fight them.

'80 minutes, that’s all we ask.’ - we are aware that this is the only exercise you do all week, please refrain from vomitting.

'No back chat, you want to talk to the Referee, you do it through me.’ - Seeing as you have a conviction for domestic abuse and assault, your diplomacy skills need work. Let me handle any issues with the Referee’s decisions. Put that brick down, stop giving him a masturbatory hand gesture and offer to cover the damages you’ve made to his car.

'Get your heads switched on.’ - Put that pint down and put your boots on, we kicked off 20 minutes ago.

'I want you all to take something away from this game.’ - The best case scenario is you leave here with a couple of teeth in your hand. Worst, you leave here with your thumb in a bucket of ice and the inability to masturbate when they can’t reattach it.

'Forget the score, play for pride now.’ - We are so terrible, we are now just taking part.

Rugby 101: #5 - Internationals.

International Rugby is the pinnacle of the sport, where different playing styles and the World’s finest players meet to entertain the toothless, violent masses. Here is a short explanation of the countries that play the Ugly game:

England: The creators, innovators and frankly most incredible rugby team in the world. England have the enviable power to alter the rules of Rugby, as and when they like, as they invented it. The only reason anyone else ever wins the Webb Ellis trophy is because England lets them. English players tend to not only be extremely attractive, but are built like refrigerators. 

Wales: The Welsh are well known for their ability to go from being sensational, to absolutely terrible in just under a year. To qualify for selection to the Welsh National team you must be called, Jones, Thomas or Evans, or be more concerned with how your hair looks than actually playing rugby. Wales are well known for their ‘keep passing to the same side until you run out of pitch’ tactic, which, in 2008 meant that most of their plays ended up in the Carpark or the back of the stand.

Scotland: After binge drinking, Anglophobia and Heart Disease, Rugby is the main sport in Scotland. Since the International retirement of Chris Paterson, Scotland now need to actually field a team of 15 players, rather than the conventional 'Forwards+ Chris Paterson’ tactics they adopted for over a decade. Scotland pride themselves on being 'only slightly better than Italy’ and the fact that if the Rugby team is playing badly, they can always turn to their exceptional football team…oh.

Ireland: As with most things in Ireland, Rugby comes with a degree of good humour, most notably seen in the fact that for the last ten years, a small, bald child has been playing scrum half for them. That said, the Irish have great spirit; namely Jameson’s Whiskey. Honestly, it’s exceptional.

France: French rugby is like most things French; artistic, passionate and, at best, 'a bit gay’. Look no further than Stade Francais, a professional Rugby team who play in bright pink kits and pose for naked calendars. French forward Sebastian Chabal is currently the only caveman to play professional Rugby and is picked for the national team not only to murder people and scream loudly, but to bring the homosexuality of the team down to acceptable standards.

Italy: Very little is known about the Italian Rugby team except that Italy pride themselves in being 'slightly worse than Scotland’ 'slightly less gay than France’ and 'the 5th best International team to play in blue’.

Any Southern Hemisphere Team: Southern Hemisphere Rugby players are a mixture of: 

- Absolutely fucking enormous.
- Technically gifted.
- Fast as fuck. 

Or, a combination of all three, commonly known as Jonah Lomu.  

Technically, if South Africa, New Zealand or Australia win the Rugby World Cup, it counts as a colonial win for England, which, you will all agree, is only fair considering we were kind enough to teach them how to play. 

Rugby 101: #8 - Rugby Slang

For those unfamiliar with the quaint sport of ‘Fighting with a Ball’ or 'Rugby’ for modern lovers of the game, there may be some slang that is difficult to understand. In this lesson I shall aim to define any words you may not know:

Advantage -  What you are legally allowed to take of another player in a ruck.

All-Black - What players see when hit by one the Tuilagi brothers, usually through being knocked unconscious, or having their retinas detached.

Blood Bin - Anyone who is silly enough to bleed during a match is forced off the pitch into the blood-bin. When The blood bin is full, the player inside dies, or the game ends, the blood-bin acts as a large punch bowl, where the thirsty players drink in honour of their fallen teammate. 

Breakdown - What Scrum-halves go through when faced with a charging pack baying for his blood.

Dead Ball -  A dead ball is one where the player carrying it is killed. The ball is given to the family of the player as a memento, or as a constant reminder that their offspring was simply 'not made for Rugby’.

'Drink it down you Zulu Warrior’ - A drinking game played after matches, where players down drinks whilst a song is being sung. Results of matches can be over-ruled by this activity. This is the sole reason why England have never lost a World-Cup.

Dump tackle - When a player is tackled so hard, the feeling of sadness and distress is like that of a relationship break-up.

Feed in - This usually takes place after the Breakdown, when the tackled scrum-half has to be fed through a tube for six weeks while his limbs are reattached.

Haka - A New Zealand brand of laxative known for it’s extreme potency. Can simultaneously cause 15 people to shit themselves, in less than 30 seconds.  

Hospital Pass - Where the team mates of the injured scrum-half drive past the hospital in a coach, screaming words of encouragement and/or abuse at the injured party.

Knock On - When a player is knocked unconscious, teammates are encouraged to check how deep their coma is by knocking on their forehead much like you would with a door.

Maul -
Where Rugby players briefly act like footballers and grope each other to within an inch of their lives.

Onside - In attack, a player is onside when he/she is behind the ball carrier. When defending a player is onside if he is not behind the ball carrier. For Offside see 'Richie McCaw’.

Pop Pass -  A pop pass is a pass where the ball is launched so hard, and at such speed, that when caught by a teammate, it explodes.

Rugby League - Like Rugby Union, but players are encouraged to run straight at the biggest people on the pitch and any injury sustained is due to being a massive homosexual.

Scrum Cadence - The words called by the referee before a scrum to ensure the scrum is formed safely: 'Crouch. Touch. Pause. Engage.’ It is also accustomed for Rugby players to shout this prior to receiving oral sex.

Sin Bin - Where players go when Yellow Carded following an infringement, to think about what they’ve done. After 10 minutes has passed and they have calmed down, they are free to come back onto the field of play and gouge someones eye out.


Rugby 101 - #1 Players

Players are split into two distinct sections; forwards and backs.

Forwards are usually enormous lumbering Ogres, whose sole aim is to kick, bludgeon, gouge, stamp, rake, jab, squash and crush the opposition, with whichever part of their disfigured body they desire; usually fist or head.

Backs are similar, only faster and have smaller feet. 

Are you a real Rugby player, or one of them knobheads; the interactive quiz.

Ok first off, it’s not interactive. I wanted to have a lovely big A3 wall chart you could follow to your hearts content. Then Photoshop died and I lost half of it and it infuriated me to the point where our first infographic shall have to wait. Plus these are easier to read and share. Scores at the end.

Anywho, here goes:

Question 1 : What is more important to you?

a) leaving the pitch with your face intact.  

b) scoring tries. 

Question 2 : After a hard game you like to unwind with...

a) an isotonic sports drink, which replaces those lost essential salts and aids in recovery. 
b) sixteen pints, a kebab, a family size box of donuts and a fight. 

Question 3 : Your pre-match ritual includes:

a) wearing your favourite shorts, a short group prayer in the changing rooms and no sexual intercourse before a game.
b) kicking the changing room door off its hinges, punching the ref and urinating on the try line.

Question 4 : The highlight of your season was…

a) scoring the winning points in a cup final, lifting the trophy and dedicating it to everyone who helped you get where you are.
b) only receiving a 32 game ban for strangling a touch judge, and being acquitted in the ensuing court case after threatening a witness.

Question 5 : You prefer to play…

a) accurate territory seeking rugby; looking to kick into gaps to keep the opposition pinned back and keeping pressure on them.
b) on a Saturday, because your post-game hangovers usually take two days to shake off.

Question 6 : A 7'9", 280lb second row is charging towards you. You...

a) promptly empty your bowel and hope he falls over your shaking, pathetic body on his way past.
b) put in a big, fair tackle that slows him down before you wrestle him to the ground, impressing all those watching. Then stamp on his groin in a ruck. 

Question 7 : The referee gives you a penalty, you…

a)  take a well aimed kick towards touch, where the ball exits 2 yards from the opposition try-line.
b) take a quick penalty, run towards the player who gave you shit earlier, who isn’t 10 yards away, smash into them and complain to the ref they weren’t 10. Then do it again on the next penalty.

Question 8 : Your kit is…

a) immaculate every game; washed, pressed and in good condition.
b) missing a sleeve, at least eleven seasons old and covered in blood.

Question 9: You wear a scum cap…

a) to protect your ears, regardless of whether you’re in the scrum or not.
b) to take the piss out of those who do after you’ve ripped it off their head, ears and all.

Question 10: In your eyes, 'A Rugby game isn’t a Rugby game without…’

a) all thirty players coming off the pitch to shake hands and enjoy a civilized drink together.
b) a fight, an air ambulance and a disgracefully organised piss-up for those fallen team-mates, which ends in a Police raid.

Bonus Question! - You…

a) like rugby.
b) used to work in Chicago, in the old department store (but don’t work any more), know a bear that you all know (Yogi, Yogi), and know all about the ‘Lady in Glitter’. 


1) a) 0, you massive girl. b) +1
2) a) 0, everyone knows they’re expensive garbage. b) +1
3) a) 0, you just missed out on some sex dumbass. b) + 2
4) a) +1, but only because you won something. b) + 2
5) a) -5, kicking Rugby is shit. b) + 1
6) a) -2, the fetal position only works for bears. b) +1
7) a) 0, taking the easy way out. b) If you’re a forward, +1. A back, 0; leave it to the big fellas, you’ll just end up relying on them to drag your carcass out of a ruck.
8) a) -1, you’re either child or terrible at Rugby. b) +1, good lad.
9) a) Forwards 0, Backs, -1,000. You’re a disgrace. b) + 1 if you take it off again immediately.
10) a) +1, we all like a bit of sportsmanship (fuck football.) b) +3, but we like this better.
Bonus) a) 0, hmmmmm… do you, Mr Answer A? b) + 1, she takes it up the sh


-1000 to 0 : You either played rugby once, or bought a Jack Wills 'Varsity Rugby 1st XV’ hoody for £80, in which case you’re a massive bellend and you don’t deserve to associate with 'Rugby types.’ OR you’re Leigh Halfpenny or Danny Cipriani and you wear a scrum cap as a back. You’re the worst human being alive. Get out.

0 to 5 : Meh, Christiano Ronaldo is more Rugby than you. Sort it out.

5 to 10: Better, a few more pints and few less touch Rugby sessions and we’ll make a man of you.

10 to 15: Anything in this score range is acceptable. If you got full marks you’re allowed to legally change your name to Jonah.

Rugby 101 - #3 Origins
—  Rugby originated at Rugby School in England in the year of our Lord Jonah Lomu 1823. William Webb-Ellis, a young Rugby schoolboy who had little or no understanding of the rules of ‘Football’ decided that the sport did not contain enough biting, and took it into his own hands (literally) to promote the early Rugby values of 'kicking the shit out of somebody running towards you’. With the crippling of William Webb-Ellis came the beautiful sport of Rugby Football.

It is widely believed that if W.W.E. (yes he also became the modern pioneer for Professional Wrestling) had called 'Mark’ before catching the football, the game of Rugby would not be what we know it today; solely because the irregular squashed sphere shape of a Rugby ball is modelled on Webb-Ellis’ squashed head after receiving the worlds first 'spear tackle’. 
Rugby 101 - #2 Rules
—  One common misconception with outsiders to the Sport of Rugby Union, is that there are rules. There are simple scoring guidelines which award serious unsporting and dangerous play, as well as points available for Trying (everyone’s a winner).

However, one strictly enforced rule in modern Rugby, is that if any player is deemed too incapable to play due to an on-field injury or drunkenness, the offending team has to dispose of the players body via any means necessary;usually via eating, although in some countries, players wearing protective head gear are left to the elements to die of natural causes.

Despite the abnormally high number of deaths or serious injuries in Rugby, no weapons are used. Except Sebastien Chabal.