September 25


Bugger the rugger

So, the Rugby World Cup has started, and I have a fairly dubious reason for welcoming it. It goes back to February 2013. Fuelled by unbounded optimism (and probably beer), I rashly declared to my then-boyfriend that Scotland would beat England in the Six Nations. Now, while lots of fun things happened in February 2013 (I discovered kabda, for example), Scotland beating England wasn’t one of them.


The game happened on a Saturday. Being in possession of functioning retinas and a TV set, I got the message loud and clear. We lost. Of course, that wasn’t enough for my English boyfriend (now husband) who thought it would be fun to send me the following message by text:


Us Scots might lack consistent winning form, but no-one can doubt our ability to hang on to a grudge. For over two years now, I’ve been waiting to flick the same message back to him, ideally on the wings of a decisive and euphoric Scottish victory. If I have to wait 50 years (and I might, let’s face it), with wizened hands and a futuristic phone, I’ll do it one day. That’s why I’m so pleased the Rugby World Cup has started. This could be the year!


Now, I do realise that lots of people are welcoming the rugby for more normal, less fiendish reasons (like, I don’t know, ENJOYING THE SPORT). For them, here is a collection of interesting facts I discovered about rugby.

Did you know?

  • If New Zealand wins this year, they’ll be the first defending champions ever to retain the title.
  • The trophy is named after William Web Ellis, a pupil at Rugby School who allegedly invented the game.
  • By hosting the 2015 tournament, England is expected to bring an estimated £1 billion in ‘added value’ to the UK economy
  • As part of England’s hosting duties, there are 15 fanzones all over the country. Free to enter, these include matches on the big screen, street food, demonstrations from local clubs, and even theatre.

And, my personal favourite:

  • In the first ever international rugby match, Scotland played England. Scotland won.

Kathryn Robertson