Rugby should become the nation’s sport rather than football
Rugby is a real sport filled with suspense, skill and entertainment. The football league is in fact the ‘Andrex’ league as players can not sustain any injury without becoming a complete baby and being stretchered off. Rugby players get bloody injuries, break bones andstill continue to play: sometimes having to be dragged off the pitch due to the injury but not wanting to leave the game. Rugby shows what sportsmen and women are really made of.
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Take away the Andrex
I think the ‘Andrex league’ is ridiculous; any little injury and they are rolling around on the floor crying needing to be stretchered off how pathetic. Women’s rugby is just as strong and professional as men’s rugby and we sustain similar injuries yet we get up and continue. We break a finger on pitch, we get it strapped and continue; we get a blood injury, we get it covered up and continue. Why do people think that football is so great when the players can’t even sustain an injury without crying? I swear they go to acting school and are taught how to act on an injury. I’ve seen rugby players break their backs due to a scrum collapse and the only pain you can see is the fact that they have to leave the pitch and go to hospital and can’t watch the end of the match.
A number of claims made here are clear exaggerations. Firstly, the claim “Women’s rugby is just as strong and professional as men’s rugby” is obviously not true. Men’s rugby employs a huge number of players and backroom staff from multiple disciplines and the men themselves are hugely strong and fit athletes. The women simply lack the infrastructure at the professional end and the grassroots popularity at the amateur end to compete with their male counterparts. Secondly, to claim that a rugby player of any level could break their back and simply be concerned about missing the rest of the game is an obvious nonsense, let alone that the claim is made based upon anecdotal evidence. Any Rugby fan will have seen their stars in pain, and it does not demean them to note that major injury is enough to make them change facial expression! As an example, Danny Cipriani’s recent ankle injury in the 07/08 premiership, as well as Brian O’Driscoll’s shoulder injury with the 2005 lions, are two examples of true world class players in terrible and obvious pain.
However, most importantly, this argument fails to compare like with like. Rugby is a full collision sport where a team can legally gain advantage through contact. This is in contrast to Football, which is classed as a contact sport where a team cannot legally gain advantage physically (though of course contact is allowed as long as the challenge is legal). Both definitions come from the American Academy of Paediatrics. Obviously then Rugby will value as an attribute those players who are more capable of withstanding the physical challenge of a sport. This physical aspect though does not make Rugby ‘better’. It simply makes it different. It will be ‘better’ for a spectator/player that values that aspect; not so for the player/spectator that doesn’t find much satisfaction from a ‘big hit’ tackle. It is a matter of personal preference, as opposed to a matter of absolute fact and given that the proposition is to change the national sport this argument is only valid if the majority of people prefer what rugby offers. As they clearly don’t then the national sport must remain Football.
Rugby should become the nations favourite as it is a more entertaining sport
Not only do we have the regular singing of the anthems, but watching rugby world cup you also get the thrill of watch teams like the all blacks and their whole persona on the pitch. When you watch football you can be watching any team and it is all the same- it is boring. You watch rugby and it has character, it has suspense, it is always different and you never know what is going to happen. It is an amazing sport to watch and play and the nation should pay more attention to it.
As outlined above what makes one sport superior to another is a matter of personal preference. Some people like a sport that will have big collisions. Others will prefer watching a world-class footballer seemingly dance the ball around the opposition. Neither sport can match these aspects in the other. Certainly then, different people find each sport suitable to them depending upon what they are looking for. To claim that Football is "boring" and "all the same" or that teams such as Brazil lack "persona on the pitch" reflects more upon the watcher than upon the sport.
After all, the true beauty of the beautiful game is that of complexity in simplicity. For all that Rugby is a great game, it is a complex game and anyone sitting watching it with the local Rugby team, say, will be in for a series of long discussion on the rules. Football can be understood by the very new initiate but the true depth of tactics take years (or more!) to get to grips with. It truly has 'something for everyone' which must in no small part be a factor in its world conquering popularity.
There's no such thing as a 'rugby hooligan'
Football appears to incite violence and hatred in many supporters, causing behaviour detrimental to society. So much so, that some countries agree to host football matches with great trepidation, afraid of the violence and disruption that will ensue.
Rugby supporters on the other hand are a friendly crowd, capable of sitting next to an opposition supporter in the stands and even cheering a bit of good play by the other team.
This trend cannot simply be boxed into the “lower socio-economic background of football supporters” line as it simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The fact is that it is the nature of the game that induces the violence, not the background of its supporters. For instance, Rugby is a working class game throughout all the pacific islands, Wales and New Zealand, yet there is no documented fan violence of any significance in any of these areas, but can be readily found among the archives of Welsh football matches.
What is critical here is that rugby provides a broader avenue for vicarious satisfaction of the game than football. The missing vicarious outlets in football mean it has a number of “tension inducing factors” that are far more likely to illicit violent responses in its fans than can be found in rugby. There are three important points that contribute to this: 1. Football has only one method of scoring and is structured so as to encourage defensive attitudes, making it a generally very low scoring sport; 2. the sport offers no contact of significance and thus violence is eviscerated from the game, while it is legislated in Rugby. This means that while football players are free to embellish the slightest shoulder nudge as if it were a gunshot wound, the same action in rugby would see you lined up for a proper injury the next time you held the ball. The latter is extremely satisfying for the fans, as it represents a kind of “on-field justice”, while in football the injustice of the original embellishment (which often results in the red carding of a player who has done nothing wrong) is left unresolved, leading the fans to simmer with rage; 3. Finally, the lack of technologically assisted officiating, in spite of increased video coverage and scrutiny, has given rise to a situation when every spectator in almost any position on the planet has a clear view in slow motion of the referees every mistake and thus the feeling of injustice is compounded. Rugby, to be sure, has controversial decisions, but with the aid of video officials the number is far less than can be found in football. The above demonstrates that football is far more likely to lead supporters to a breaking point in which violent acts are likely to occur.
Firstly, this is an outdated point. The problem of Football hooliganism is on the decline worldwide. English Football hooliganism is a phantom of what it once was, for example. Further, if it were truly the case that countries agree to host Football matches with “trepidation” it would be surprising if competition to host the World Cup were as intense as they are.
Secondly, the implicit assumption here is that it is somehow an attribute of Football that makes spectators violent, whereas Rugby would not have this issue. This is obviously not the case. Certain groups of people are using Football as a way to instigate gang violence. Were Rugby the national sport these same groups of people would have as easy a ready-made excuse. It is after all the people not the abstract embodiment of a sport that is violent; switch violent people’s spectacle and violent people still remain.
Thirdly, this argument isn’t an argument in favour of making rugby the national sport (which is the proposition). It is an argument against the behaviour of Football supporters. There is no problem associated with lawn bowls supporters hooliganism, yet the proposition has been rather silent about making this the national sport.
The fans say it all
The sheer change in international perception that would result from the travels of rugby fans would be benefit alone. Can you imagine it? Lawyers, bankers, business execs drunking moderately and tipping waiters instead of p***ing in the streets and trashing historic capitals.
National sport status requires widespread appeal
Football, like it or not, is the sport ‘of the people’. It is the simplest sport in the world to get started at; all you need is a ball and some space. You needn’t even have many friends as games of 2 on 2, 3 on 3 or even learning individual tricks are an enjoyable way to spend time. Compare this to rugby 2 on 2 and the most you can hope for is a pass and start again, and that’s if you happen to be lucky enough to have a friendship group of roughly the same physical size, and some grass nearby so you have something soft to land in, and some cloths you don’t mind getting tugged at or mucky… Not only that, but Football is a far simpler sport, yet one of equal depth. The rules could be pretty thoroughly covered on a side of A4, but the tactics and game play of the very best clubs would take years to grow to understand. Football is the sport for any level. Again, contrast this to rugby. Football fans often joke about novices not understanding the offside rule. Rugby has more than thirty offside laws.
For all the ‘moral superiority’ of the Rugby contingent (our players are tougher than yours, our fans are nicer than yours, our refs don’t get sworn at…) Rugby lacks the most important aspect of all in these stakes: that of inclusion. From Eton to inner city Glasgow, from China to America, people play, love and understand Football. Until the same can be said of Rugby it would not deserve to be ranked as the national sport.
What do you think?