Some of us live in households obsessed with different sports, where you can’t move without tripping over a ball. At this time of year, our children (and husbands) choose the ball of the egg-shaped variety. Those who’ve grown up playing rugby find the rules of the game instinctively easy to master – two sides of 15 players running and passing a ball to get it over the opposition’s goal line to score a try. For those of us not privy to a childhood spent face down in the mud at the bottom of a ruck, the game is a confusing mess of tackling, shoving bodies and sanctioned violence!
We asked our friends and authors of the new book ‘Rugby Tackled – a mother’s translation’ why they decided to write this book and to give us some top tips... “Like many mothers, we’ve stood on many rugby side-lines and cheered along with the other spectators but our understanding was limited,” they explained. “We discovered that asking advice from any knowledgeable touchline pundit left us confused, not wiser. Finally, as our boys grew older and increasingly frustrated by our silly questions, it seemed obvious that some proper research was needed to explain the rules in a way which we and the other quietly puzzled parents, could understand. We now understand the rules of a scrum, the difference between a maul and a ruck and the role of each player on the team. It has meant a love of rugby has rubbed off on us! To the relief of our households, we’ll be watching the Six Nations this year without merely sniggering at the ‘nice tackle’ on the pitch.”
Here are some of their ‘top tips’...
- Think rugby; think sleeting, freezing rain – woollen hats with fur bobbles, hand warmers, thermal undies and fur-lined boots…pile on all of the above and we’re sorry to say that warmth will still elude you.
- Learn to love your local rugby club and in particular the person at the hatch serving the bacon butties – you’ll be spending a lot of your Sundays there. The concept for the rugby clubs success has remained unchanged over the years - inclusive family places by day but rowdy dens of legendary bad behaviour by night.
- Get organised - have lots of spare boil and bite gumshields to hand with your children’s kit –in thousands of years time, alien life forms excavating our planet will be puzzled by these strange bits of coloured rubber found littered beneath the mud of our pitches.
- Get used to the site of your suddenly muscular ten year old taking off their padded underlayers to reveal the shivering puny reality of a body covered in bumps and bruises.
- Enjoy watching rugby at your local stadium or better still, Twickenham. The crowds are a rowdy, tipsy but generally good-natured lot. The atmosphere is brilliant for children and you can be certain that a plummy accent is the most offensive thing they’ll hear.
- Learn more about the rugby team and who does what –the men mountains of the forwards and the pretty boys in the backs with the cleaner shorts and better hairdos.
‘Rugby Tackled – A Mother’s Translation’ is available from amazon.