I have just sat through England v Samoa - what a hard, slogging and someimes frustrating game. Samoa tackled like dogs, seeing a number of players carded and sin-binned. Charlie Hodgson and Harry Ellis both gave great performances.
The game ended 40 - 3 to England after an almighty punch up, seeing Lewis Moody sent off with what looked like a broken nose after an absolute pounding following an intervention on yet another illegal tackle by Samoa. The tackles were bone - crunching, gut wrenching and painful....but strangely compelling to watch.
Not the best England performance, but, the lads played really well - with real courage, heart and fabulous team spirit.
Our national game here in the UK is Football. These namby-pamby delicates pirouette into a triple somersault and whine at every available opportunity. Te last game of Rugby I played saw me with a fractured and dislocated jaw, and a crush injury to my neck and lower back. I put my jaw back in on the pitch - and carried on. You just do. You don't follow the line of the footballers. They just sicken me. I hate the fact tha soccer is our national sport, and I hate the yob culture that goes with it. The whole social aspect of rugby is so much more calm and family orientated. What an irony!
In rugby, you get seven bells kncked out of you - and you just carry on. You just do it. In football you fall at every occasion and cheat your way through the game - at least that's the way it's going.
Rugger is a superb sport and playing it is like nothing else - a real adrenalin rush that you just can't find anywhere else. I've heard American football is the hards man game. Really? Why wear crash helmets, padding and duvets then? Try the hardest game with no silly illogical breaks in time - it really is like nothing else.
I always remember an American firend of mine watching England v Wales with me some years ago in a real gritty grudge match, I remember smiling to myself as he winced and said "Is this really legal?"
Is there any other game where the ref can say to a player - "If he hits you again mate, you're off..."
I LOVE Rugby, and I love England!