I was at a barbecue on Sunday and inevitably, the conversation turned to Rugby. Immediately, one or two people felt slightly at a loss of things to contribute to the conversation, and so here is The Rugby Blog guide to surviving the World Cup for those that don’t know their rucks from their mauls. Following these simple guidelines will enhance enjoyment for rugby novices, whilst preventing the annoyance of those in the know. Feel free to post your own additions to the guide!
Five choice phrases to slip into any rugby conversation:
1. “The thing with France is that you just don’t know which team will turn up, but I really think they could win it.”
2. “You can never under-estimate Australia, but I’m just not sure their front five is good enough to win a World Cup.”
3. “The English look less dangerous in attack than the Swiss army.”
4. “The Springboks would be almost unbeatable if they could just keep 15 players on the pitch for the full 80 minutes.”
5. “I thought James Simpson-Daniel was unlucky to miss out on selection for the World Cup squad.”
Five things to avoid saying at all costs
1. “I quite like the new England kit” – this will immediately put you in the minority.
2. “Can’t we watch something else?” – no we can’t, Romania v Portugal should be a good game.
3. “How many goals did we win by?” – two things wrong with this. a) Wrong sport, and b) You should know the score anyway.
4. “I didn’t even know they played rugby in Georgia” – well, they do and the limitations of their defensive-based strategy is worthy of significant airtime.
5. “I thought Jason Robinson and Lawrence Dallaglio had retired?” – actually they did, but now they are back and everyone is thankful, so don’t even think about mentioning the average age of the England team
General etiquette during the match
Do not say things like “What’s the score?” (it’s on the screen), or “Which team is which?” (if you don’t know, wait until one team scores and see whose score changes) – it will only annoy everyone trying to watch, and they might miss a good bit.
Phrases like “Shoe him!” – when an opposition player is in the way when the ball is on the ground – will earn you respect. Any comments concerning the tightness of the players’ shorts will not, and you may be asked to leave.
As a general rule of thumb, if you are not completely confident of saying something sensible, then don’t say anything.