Sunday, March 22

Rugby Union

I am not a ruby fan but watch transfixed last nights Six Nations Championship between Ireland and Wales - no sissy cricket this. The annual international rugby union competition includes England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. The game is the most brutal of any, excluding boxing, and the players hurl themselves at their opponents and blood often everywhere. Within minutes of the start two lads are fighting - punches! - and the refs defer to the other players to separate the pugilists. Surprisingly, given the er roughness, rugby is the elitist sport played in the public schools (ie, the private schools) across Britain .. of course in the US it is suburban soccer which considered upper-crust while baseball the blue-collar companion. Our friend Richard, who used to play competitively, unknowingly broke his neck in a scrum - coach wouldn't let Richard back in the game or he would not be with us now. Eventually he went to the hospital for the pain .. where he waited four hours in emergency. When he was finally examined - boom!, on the ground with nine care-providers circling him and likely saving his life. No way will Eitan be doing same. So anyways, last night's game down to the final five minutes when Ireland scores the go-ahead cross kick for 15-13 then, no time remaining, Wales unable to convert a 48m penalty kick which falls short by a meter. If successful they would now be champions but instead, heartbreak. It doesn't get more exciting than this in any sport, though Cal's '82 Big Game not to be surpassed. For the record, Ireland's Grand Slam title their first time since 1948, and they also take the Triple Crown by beating England, Scotland and Wales. I can almost feel Dublin's hang-over this morning ..

Photo uncredited from the www.