Rugby World Cup 2015 Countdown

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Exciting news for me this week. I have been granted World Cup press accreditation from the RFU. This means that I will be writing a regular World Cup update for Rugby Nation throughout the tournament.. sometimes from the pub, sometimes from the couch, and sometimes from the stadium.

I don’t yet know which games I will be allocated, but I have applied for all US matches, as I am writing for Rugby Nation; as well as all Canada games, as I am Canadian; and of course all the England games, as I am also English. I don’t think I am being greedy…

Slight problem – I am currently in Canada, will need to get to England by early September, and will have to support myself for two months whilst there. Minor detail; one which I am not going to trouble myself with right now. I will be there, I will be at the games for which I get tickets, and I will be soaking up every minute of the tournament. I can’t wait.

There is another slight problem, and with it comes a confession – one which I freely admitted to the RFU when I applied for press passes. I am not a rugby expert. Despite many years of watching the game and being a fan, I still don’t fully understand it. My son, 17 year old Liam, is frequently testing me on my knowledge, usually after a declaration from me that I have been watching rugby since long before he was born – which is true, but kind of immaterial. My knowledge is poor. Husband Lee once recruited me as his stand-in coach at a Grade 6 rugby practice, and I soon realised that I only really knew one rule; I won’t say which, as it’s the most obvious one. My knowledge has improved since then, through necessity and a wish not to appear totally stupid when watching Liam play over the years.

Somehow I have managed to get away with limited understanding, especially at international games, where often I am so wrapped up in the thrill of being there, the songs, and the atmosphere, that my perception of what’s happening in the game seems largely irrelevant.

In my quest to know more, I googled “how many rules in rugby” and came up with an answer suggesting it was 504. That can’t be true can it? 504 rules is roughly 500 more than my brain is capable of storing. This search naturally led me to the “Rugby for Dummies” site, and I have a feeling I might be visiting that often. I already know several more things than I did before I looked at it. I just hope I can remember those things when I am at the World Cup.

When I discussed this with Husband Lee, in the form of me asking around 45 questions, he had a good point: what I don’t know doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the game. What other sport can you love without really knowing that much about it? He insisted that being a fan is not dependent on full understanding… lucky for me. He also insisted I stop asking him stupid questions.

This is what I do know: rugby is an exciting, all-inclusive, physical but intelligent game. It brings with it a culture of acceptance and respect which is unlike any other sport. It is social and fun, for both players and spectators, and for the purposes of my reports from the World Cup, I don’t think I really need to know anything more than that. My job is not to write match reports, it is to write about the culture of the game, the thrill of the tournament itself, and the heart of rugby. I don’t think I need to worry too much about the rules.

That culture of acceptance I was talking about? That applies to writers too.

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End Of Article Commentary by RugbyNation.com:

You will do great. You exemplify most of the North American world in our knowledge of the best sport on earth. This is what we are trying to change, but not really through the technical aspects of it, but by getting to the heart of what rugby is all about. We look forward to getting your pictures and reports on the fans from all over the world to show our fans and followers what the heart of rugby is all about.