03.08.2012 - Sport

Rugby – hooligan game for gentlemen

Back in 1823 during a football match, which even at that time did not have clear rules, there was an exceptional event. A young man by the name of Webb Ellis on the way to the opponent’s penalty area took the ball in his… hands and ran with it to the gate, “setting” the goal. It all happened at the school in the town of Rugby, Worikshire County, which is still located in the central part of England. Such a seemingly ridiculous mistake gave rise to the game, which is now admired by millions. As you may have guessed, it is called rugby: in honor of the city, in which it was born.

In football play those who missed the rugby section

However, even 40 years after this event the players agreed on the rules just before the game, each time specifying certain points. It continued until the official English Football Association was created, which categorically forbidden to take the ball in hands. So rugby players were forced to create their own organization, and in 1871 the Rugby Football Union appeared. It exists today, while preserving in its name a reference to the historical ancestor. But rugby players like to argue which of the two games are ancestors to one another.

The first international match took place in the same 1871 between the teams of England and Scotland. Since then, the game was gaining popularity throughout the British Empire: in Ireland, Wales, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. In the last two areas rugby is still almost a cult. There is an anecdote that in football play those young New Zealanders who were not included in the section of rugby (perhaps this is why the country can not boast of success in football). But it was New Zealand who won the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and is the reigning champion. Team of this country – it is not just a bunch of remarkable athletes, it’s global brand “All Blacks” (the name comes from the form in black), which helps to promote the game across the globe. Even people who have not seen a single rugby match, sometimes heard about the “hack” – pre-match dance of New Zealanders. It’s a small show and a tribute to the ancestors, when they are trying to intimidate the opponent  and tune in to a fierce fight.

In England, the birthplace of rugby, the game was admired by the ordinary people and by the aristocracy. The latter were not interested in making money on it, unlike the first. Since then, the game was divided into several varieties. Today the official are Rugby-15 (the number of players), or Rugby Union, Rugby-13 or Rugby League, and Rugby-7. The most popular on the planet, including Ukraine, considered to be Rugby-15 and its variety Rugby-7 (which is already included in the Olympic program in 2016), but the rules of Rugby-13 differ from generally accepted, although this species has its supporters. There are also less contact version of the game – touch rugby and beach rugby. There are annually tournaments on them in Kiev.

The most prestigious rugby competition is of course World Cup, which takes place, as it is paradoxical for the sport with almost two hundred year history, from 1987 every four years. To date, in the final part of this tournament 20 teams are taking part. Ukraine, unfortunately, never made it that far…

More local tournaments, which causes high interest of fans, are the Six Nations Cup (between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy) and developed on a sample the Three Nations Cup (between New Zealand, Australia and South Africa). Teams that are not included in these elite divisions, struggling to hit in the European Nations Cup, where for two years, six teams in each division battling for victory.

Paradoxes of Game

When it comes to events happening on the field, is to start with the fact that rugby is played with an oval ball, which is easy to handle and pass to teammates. Unlike his American descendant, there are no armor. Allowed is minimal protection in the form of a soft helmet and pads on the shoulders of centimeter, or other body parts.

The people who first watched the progress of rugby matches, toward the end are beginning to understand the purpose for which these 30 people are out on the field. Not an easy task – to press the oval ball to the turf for the H-shaped gate of a rival or beat it over (!) the crossbar. The players of both teams can do with rivals  almost all  except the pegs and above the shoulder attacks. That is why the uniform of rugby is very strong and “slippery”, it is difficult to grasp. And because of that permissiveness in the game people think that this sport is very traumatic. However, rugby players are strongly denying that by hiding chipped teeth and bruises all over their body…

But in this there is also a plus. Permissiveness eliminates kill the need for any simulations, leaving only men fight for every inch of the field. They say that if the rugby player finished the game clean, that he played poorly, and only those who head to toe are in mud and grass, truly devoted to the game. And rugby players are sure that they get from this 80-minute freedom very much. “Football is a game of gentlemen played by hooligans, and rugby is the game hooligans played by gentlemen” – this phrase is very full of flavor reveals the main game.

Rugby has a paradox that the way forward is to pass the ball… back. Passes in the opponent’s side of the gate are strictly forbidden, although you can hit the ball in any direction. However, there is a single condition – the right to take it has just the player of your team, who was behind you in the moment of pass, all the rest are in already familiar to us from football rules “offside” or “out of the game.” But still the main and most reliable way to move the ball forward is to keep it in their hands, beat opponents and give transmission to their partners, who cut the  defense  line at a great speed . As if nothing tricky, but there are a number of nuances. To view them, let’s talk a bit about the position of players on the field, which, as already mentioned, the Rugby Union has as much as 15.

A game for everyone

Thin you or stout, fast or slow, strong or not – you will find a place on the  rugby  field in any case, if you would wish to play that is. Players in the team are divided into two groups – the attack (“fight players “) and the defense line. In the “fight”, as a rule, get stronger guys and this is a shock eight fist team that is fighting for every inch of the field (often literally), pushing the ball on the last meters to the end zone. In the line of defense play the lighter boys, which at high speeds with long gears transfer the ball from one flank to another, turning it like a fan. Extreme players at the same time often find themselves face to face with an opponent and beating him an opportunity to put the ball into the end zone.

But no matter what position has a rugby player, in addition to basic training, he always engaged in athletics and  heavy weightlifting. The famous London Chelsea footballer Michael Essien after the first visit in his life to a rugby match was just delighted, and paid tribute to the athletes: “All I can say is that rugby players are great athletes, they are fully committed to the game, I have great respect for them” .

When already mentioned Webb Ellis – whose name, incidentally, was named the championship trophy of the world – landed his first ball with his hands at the gate, the referee did not count a goal, but noted that it was a good attempt. Since that time, “attempt” is when a player has pressed the ball to the turf in the opponent’s end zone, this provides his tram with five points. In addition to the attempt can be made shot on goal, which is called “realization”, and you’ll get another 2 points. For a flagrant violation of the rules in its 22-meter zone shall be appointed a free-kick, for which you can get 3 points. The account of the game is totally different – especially uncompromising teams may not change for a dozen points, while in other games the difference sometimes reaches hundreds.

Rugby there is a completely unique game elements, which are not found in any other game. The first of them is the “fight”. Players from both teams form a structure of three lines each and go to the junction with each other. The ball is placed between them, and one team is trying to “push” another so that the ball is under the feet of players. Further, the classical scenario of the ball midfield is rapidly eliminated from the “battle” and the line of defense begins its attack. Another unique point in the game is stuffing “out”. A certain number of players from both teams are in two columns at right angles to the boundary line of the field, forming the so-called “corridor”, after which the player takes the ball-hooker in the middle of the “corridor”. At this point, two players pick up  the third, so that he turns over his head and catch the ball. The competitors usually do not know who would jump, enact and implement by various combinations of deceptive movement to the ball.

Ukrainian rugby

Ukraine learned about rugby in the early twentieth century, when the crews of foreign ships calling at the port of Odessa, trained locals the new game. And the first official match was held July 9, 1922 in Lviv. A very successful game review in the weekly “Sports” was then written by the witness Rudolf Vacek, “… with a sports point of view I put rugby above football. That game is of twenty-two players, and rugby is of thirty, so we have eight more players on the field. Rugby is passing the ball by hand, which contributes to the development of the upper body. The whole team is in constant motion, and it would be fair to say that this game is for the existing athlete. Here are necessary to make immediate decisions. There are no moments where the player can play the ball (dribbling now call it), guess who is to pass, do a trick “.

The present popularity of the game began to take over in Ukraine in 1960. Then, on the basis of sport clubs and universities have been established teams. One of them – “Aviator” – became a champion and multiple prize-winner of the USSR championship. Other clubs and junior teams over the years had great achievements in the Union competitions, many Ukrainian players were called in the USSR national team.

During the period of Ukrainian independence, rugby had a very hard time. In the absence of funding disappeared many clubs, some became amateur, losing thereby significant athletic potential for the state. In recent years, survive and demonstrate progress only clubs that have strong financial support from private individuals. The strongest members of  Rugby  Super Ligue Kharkov “Olymp”, which is under the wing of Mr. Yaroslavsky, “Credo-63″ from Odessa, Lviv “Sokil” and Kiev “Aviator”. The players of these clubs are the basic form of the national team.

“The team of Ukraine in the penultimate series of European Nations Cup qualified in the top division of the competition, but among teams of Romania, Georgia, Russia, Spain and Portugal they finished unfortunately at the last place,” – says the honored rugby coach of Ukraine Leonid Denbnovetsky. – “Although the victory over Portugal on March 17, extracted in the last minutes of the match, was a truly historic for our team, Ukrainians will have to return to Division 1B and compete with teams from Belgium, Moldova, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Sweden for the top spot in their group” .

Therefore, we wish our boys luck, strength and skill that will lead to new heights!

Lilia Fedorovych