I like most sports but I hate rugby union with a passion for the following reasons:

At (Grammar) school, I was forced to play rugby because it was somehow viewed as ‘character building’. On a cold, wet autumn day, a sports master took one look at me and grunted ‘You. Second row’. I then proceeded to grab the crotch of the boy in front of me while a boy behind me grabbed my crotch. I then had to insert my head between the thighs of two boys in front of me.

If the scrum didn’t collapse, which meant we had to start the prolonged mating ritual all over again, eight lads would eventually extract our body parts and look across the wet, muddy field in the hope that someone was running somewhere with the ball. Of course, this never happened and the sports master would be screaming ‘Scrum it down, ’ere’ so we would have to run to the prescribed point (the only exercise we got all afternoon) and start all over again. Brilliant, ‘character building’ stuff.

At University, the Union Sports bar was notable for one thing only. It was only hostelry out of the 27 available that was open during the early afternoon hiatus between 2pm and 4pm. Consequently, we spent a lot of time there - not because we played any competitive sport representing the University but because we liked to drink all day long, if at all possible.

Our long, wide ranging philosophical discussions were often interrupted (particularly on a Wednesday) by people standing on the tables, singing bawdy songs, loud and out of tune. As the afternoon proceeded, various items of clothing would be discarded until they were fully naked, singing their stupid, crude rugger bugger songs while we discussed urgent, pressing, important matters of global interest (which bar should we adjourn to next). That was just the women’s first XV - things only got worse when the blokes arrived fresh out of the showers,

And the final reason that rugby union is a complete joke - the disciplinary code

  • Spear tackle (holding someone upside down and smashing their head into the ground which could potentially kill them) - no action.
  • Eye gouging (twisting your fingers hard into someone’s eye socket which could result in the loss of an eye surprisingly enough) - 8 week ban.
  • Feigning injury to seek a tactical advantage - 4 month ban for player (reduced from 12 months after digging the dirt), 3 year ban for coach, 2 year ban for physio, £260,000 fine for club.