Once Christmas is over, you’ve got that really horrendous period of time between Christmas and Easter which is called January, February and March – well depending on when we feel like celebrating Easter anyways. January consists of dragging ourselves and that Jabba the Hutt extra festive weight around wondering when it’s safe to check our bank balance, but February starts and things brighten up with the arrival of the RBS 6 Nations.
Thankfully, the rugby God’s look upon us with love as this is a tournament played out over 5 weeks with 3 games a week. That takes us right through until mid-March. Five weeks of men with large arms and tight shorts running around a pitch.
What more do you want?
I’m going to take a stab in trying to explain it, so let’s keep this brief (for my sake more than anything) if you want to know what the foggiest is going on and answers as to why your usual table down the pub on a Sunday has suddenly been taken over by lads lads lads.
Assuming you want to support England (other teams are available, I highly recommend the current 2015 champs, Ireland) you need to start with ten facts.
- This is Owen Farrell, he’s very important. And fit.
- The 6 Nations is an 80 minute game consisting of each team playing every other team once (making for a total of 15 matches) Two points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. If a team wins all its games, they have won Grand Slam.
- There are 15 men on a team. that’s 30 men with massive arms and tight shorts running around the pitch – important fact to remember. The team are split into forward and backs. The forwards are the heavies with a face that only a mother can love whose sole purpose is to drive the ball forwards, recovering it should that not happen and inflict pure terror and hell on those who stop this. The backs are the pretty boys (remember point 1? usually fit), with the speed of Usain Bolt, fuelled by Lucozade and the aim of running like the clappers after the ball. Recover it should the ball hit the ground and cause all hell should anything stop them.
- The ball cannot be passed forwards. You gain territory by sprinting like your house is on fire towards the opponents try-line and pass it back (I know, it makes no sense to me either) to someone else who, ideally plays on your team before the opposing team intimately introduces you face first to the pitch, OR if that doesn’t take your fancy kick it ahead and run towards it like the pitch behind you is on fire and pray to the rugby Gods that you get to it before the opposing team removes your head and uses that as the ball instead.
- If a player is rugby tackled to the ground, bad luck. The game still goes on and no apologies are exchanged. If a player is introduced mouth first to the ground before they’ve got the ball clear, a ruck is formed. What the rucking hell is a ruck? well…
- Basically, as the player is frantically trying to pick grass from their fillings, his team, his tackler and team as well run at each other in a highly disorganised hokey cokey in order to get the ball. So whilst the player who was originally tackled is stomped to death, if the opposing team gets the ball before the other, they gain possession.
- A scrum is basically a threatening way to restart play. Because there is nothing more threatening than eight heavy men with faces that are only loved by their mothers staring at each other. The point is to smash anything that’s in their way. So one side packs down and collides with the other whilst the ball is popped in the tunnel between them and heeled back for possession by what I believe are the hookers.
- Correct me if I am wrong, but the point of a hooker in a scrum isn’t a distraction for the opposing team for the allure of sex. The hookers are at the front of scrum, with the job to secure the ball for the team. No money ever exchanges hands during these scrums.. The scrum half places the ball in the scrum. He’s usually a pretty boy back player who considers himself in with the big kids. Much like a year 7 schoolboy making friends with a year 10.
- A try is a way of scoring points, mainly by grounding the ball over the opponent’s in-goal line, it’s also worth 5 points, which is the maximum you can get in rugby. A conversion awards the team 2 points, should the ball be successfully kicked through the goalposts after a try. A goal-kick awards 3 points. (Hence why Owen Farrell is important, he kicks the ball or more technically he’s a fly-half)
- Amongst all the other ways and rules, which if you really desperately needed to know in more detail what they were are available via the Google. The whole point is to score more than the opposing team. You can run and kick the ball, tackle opponents to gain the ball as long as it’s within the rules. Just as long as it score more points than the other team! Oh, and the ball has to be oval shaped. Or you’re watching a very violent game of football…
But if all that evades you and you just like the idea of sitting in the pub watching the rugby, just stare at the men with the large arms and tight shorts and if you’re trying to find a funny angle then fly-halfs (who kick the ball between the goalposts) usually have a routine that they undertake before they kick…Welsh fly-half Dan Bigger has an hilarious routine which the beauty of the internet has created into a wonderful video …. if all that fails you. Fit men in shorts.