So, I cant believe it from nowhere the rugby World Cup is upon us from the land of Cherry Blossoms and unfettered courtesy and impeccable good manners. I talk of course of the land of the rising sun, Japan. Domo Arigato (as they say in Japan, or thank you very much) for what I have absolutely no doubt is going to be an excellent competition as the first three days have already shown us. I have always loved rugby, ever since I played the game at school. My position was as tight head prop, to those not familiar with this position, it is the man at the front and right of the scrum. It requires a lot of strength as you have all the force of 5 people pushing behind you, clashing head first with the seven men in front of you, and you have to take the weight of the hooker next to you.
Now, you might be surprised looking at me today that I would ever be selected for such a position but when I was 13, I had for my age very strong legs ‘Like tree trunks boy’ as my old very Welsh PE/Rugby coach Mr Grimshaw would remind me. Funnily enough my memories of those heady days was that of extreme pain in my neck which was where all these colossal forces actually collided. Having said that when I look at these men mountains that now play rugby for their nations it frankly amazes me that mere mortals actually get up alive after being flattened by these giants.I remember being in the Spar shop in Dublin airport when all natural light was obliterated when the Australian Rugby team descended, these men were huge I mean really massive creatures. So, factor into the mix the fact that they are all super fit and fast and you have a recipe for major trauma damage. Which amazingly very seldom happens, thank the Lord.
The first game was Japan playing I think it was Fiji, it was a good opening match but in all fairness when New Zealand played South Africa, the rugby was in a different league, I mean truly superb, and as ever it always opens the debate between the teams on the north and south hemispheres. To be fair the statistics suggest that the Southern Hemisphere nations overall do better, but it is worth noting that as it stands Ireland are ranked as the world’s number one team, and Wales in second place. But, in world cups rankings are meaningless, it depends on so many factors, mental strength, avoiding injuries, a large splash of luck, you name it, it all mounts up. However, what matters most is the team that wants it most will often take home the silverware. Yes of course I would love to see England bring back the World Cup, but hey ho lets see what happens. Either way a great feast of superior rugby will be the prize for happy spectators like me.