I haven’t been doing much traveling lately because the weather has gotten colder and wetter. I’ve been spending my days off going to rugby games and playing golf. Rough life, I know! So I have decided to share with you what I have learned so far about rugby. I’ll also make a game of this post by using some of my favorite kiwi words that we don’t use much in the U.S. See if you can pick them all out!
First of all, there are two types of rugby; Rugby Union, which most people have heard of, and Rugby League, which comes from Australia. I have watched both Union and League in person and on television and if you asked me which one I like better I reckon it would probably be the one I’m watching at the moment. They are both exciting to watch and sometimes hard to understand.
Union is played all over the world, and the most famous team is the NZ All Blacks. Their first game of the International Season was at the beginning of June against France and I was keen to go to it. I ended up waiting too long and it sold out before I could buy tickets. I was pretty gutted, but I still got to see it on television. Before every game the All Blacks perform the Haka, which is a traditional war cry/dance of the native Maori people. Every time I see it performed it makes me glad that I’m not on the other team, it’s seriously intimidating! You can watch a video of it here.
SuperRugby is a league that follows Union rules. There are a total of 15 teams from 3 countries; NZ, Australia, & South Africa. The All Blacks chose their players from this league, but only from the 5 NZ teams. Players are not allowed to play for another country if they want to be on the All Blacks team.
Rugby League is played mostly in Australia, but there is one NZ team called the Warriors. This version of rugby is most like American Football because they have five chances to move the ball before kicking it. Other than that, it’s still very different. Rugby League is, for some reason, more popular with the lower-income crowd. It’s a popular joke that crime rates go down significantly for two hours while the Warriors are playing because all the hooligans are at the game.
One my favorite things that Union and League have in common is that players who receive a penalty are sent to the Sin Bin. The Sin Bin! I would love to have this adopted by the NHL instead of the penalty box. It’s so much more fun to say!
I’m not going to try and explain the different rules to you now, because it’s hard enough figuring them out with a game playing in front of you. So I encourage you to look up a local rugby team, pick a mint day, and check it out for yourself! Even if you don’t really know what’s going on (like curling in the olympics), it’s still exciting to watch (not like curling in the olympics).
So now that you have rugby union and rugby league sorted, have you found all the kiwi words yet? Leave a comment with the ones you’ve found!