Gaelic football is back. Soccer is back. Hurling is back.
Well, rugby is different.
The people who play rugby are, well, better bred aren’t they? Lots of doctors and surgeons and hospital consultants and scientists and what not.
And of course, gentlemen. Rugby players are gentlemen.
So right now, they’re practicing in secret for rugby’s return.
I sneaked into a session and this is what I saw.
Instead of the tackle, a player caught up with his opponent who was carrying the ball he said – and I could hear him: “Trevor old chap, I’ve caught you up. Do hand over the ball like the good sport I know you are.”
And Trevor replied: “Well darn it Nigel, you sure have caught me up. Well done old boy. Here’s the ball. I shall chase you now if that’s ok.”
And Nigel was handed the ball which he proceed to kick up the pitch.
There, it was caught by Henry who stopped, put the ball down, and signalled to the sideline for a packet of Dettol wipes. He wiped the ball before passing it on to Justin who did the same and passed it on to Henry who let it slip and fall. Well, it was covered in antiseptic liquid.
“Oh hard cheese old boy,” a few of them said.
And the referee called a scrum. A socially distant scrum.
So the two front rows stood two metres apart and the two props and hooker and either team were also two metres apart as were the second rows and back rows. In fact, the scrum took up about a quarter of the pitch.
The scrum half put the ball in between the two front rows – from two metres away – but the referee called for the scrum to be reset. Twice.
And well, then Trevor kicked the ball into touch and we had a line out.
The two lines of forwards were, of course two metres apart as were the eight players from each team making the forward at the back a full 19 metres from the sideline – that’s just over 60 feet in old money.
The hooker tried to throw the ball to the back of the line, but again, it was mishandled.
And the referee blew the final whistle and they all congratulated each other and headed for the clubhouse for a €9 meal and a few pints.
A great game of rugby.
Can’t wait to see it back on telly.