One word that brings up images of gigantic men with tree trunks for legs, covered in dirt and more often then not, blood.
Men who (I love my Seattle Seahawks!) make American football players look like nothing. Pads? Helmets? Puhlease who needs those? Here in Limerick, we cheer for Munster Rugby. Their colors are red and navy blue with yellow accents. I had the pleasure of going to one of their games a few weeks back and it only increased my love for the sport.
Ok, I will admit the only things I really know about rugby are that the New Zealand All Blacks are the best team ever, they do the Haka, and that you have to pass the ball backwards. We are lucky enough to have Thomand Park, a massive stadium here in Limerick that is home to Munster Rugby. The game I went to, we played the Ospreys, a team from Wales. Munster dominated! Even though I did not totally understand everything that was going on in the game, it was still one of my favorite things I’ve done since I’ve been here. It was a great time to be with friends and it brought different nationalities together. There were Americans, a Canadian, and a New Zealander. It was so much fun that I decided to go to another game the next weekend!
However, this game was different. The advertisement said it was a Rugby League World Cup match and tickets were only 10 Euros! I don’t know about you, but this sounded pretty impressive to me! It was Ireland vs. Australia in Thomand Park. Little did I know, there is a huge difference between Rugby League and Rugby Union. Ireland lost to Australia 50-0. Not the prettiest game, but fun nonetheless. Now that I know there is a difference between the two types of rugby, I understand why the tickets were a bit cheaper. Rugby Union is the larger, more intense type of rugby. It’s what the All Blacks play.
Speaking of the All Blacks: they played Ireland in Dublin here a week or so ago. Ireland has never beat the All Blacks and sadly, this last game was no different. I wasn’t able to watch the entire game but what I did see of it was heartbreaking. Ireland went from being ahead 22-10 and ended up losing the game by 2 points! 2 POINTS! In the last 2 minutes of the game too. Unlike American football, the game does not stop when the clock is up. In rugby, the game continues until someone scores or the ball goes out of play. This allowed the All Blacks to score, tying the game. The kicker then missed the first try, the equivalent of a field goal in football, and the ref let him try again on grounds that the Irish players rushed the kicker too soon. I knew then the game was over and that the All Blacks would win. I can’t be too upset because I do like the All Blacks and would someday like to see them play in New Zealand, but it still would have been incredible to see Ireland win!
After this, I will be missing rugby quite a lot when I go back home. Unfortunately it is not a big sport in the states so football will have to do. Go Seahawks!