Certainly not the players!
I confess to being a “football man”. This largely stems from the fact that I was the 2nd smallest kid in my school year and consequently not great rugby material.
My only venture on to a rugby field came when my sadistic PT teacher forced me to move from football to rugby for one match. I lurked on the right wing hoping to avoid any action for most of the game until one of my over zealous team mates passed me the ball. I took two steps before being spread-eagled in the mud by a giant thug who did his best to crush me. Never again – next week I was back on the football pitch!
My grandson follows proudly in my footsteps. Picked to play in an inter-schools tournament at The Stoop (Harlequins’ ground next to Twickenham) he is the only person to grace that hallowed ground without actually touching the ball.
So I have followed football all my life and am an avid supporter of Portsmouth (which in itself requires you to be a man of steel), having largely ignored rugby until recently when friends persuaded me that the 6 Nations was good to watch.
And it was. I watched England v Italy yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it, but didn’t have a clue what was going on – and neither did the players who had to consult the referee once to determine the rules. And he changed his mind after he watched a replay on YouTube and checking the rules with someone in the stand. Oh, and apparently they are Laws, not Rules – do me a favour.
If anything requires a radical simplification it is the laws of Rugby Union, second only to the UK tax system.
Penalties are awarded for anything. “Going in with a shoulder” and “Knocking On” seem to be heinous crimes, but to me it just looked like a heap of fat guys thumping hell out of each other.
And the terminology is mind boggling. Players with names like “Tight Head Prop”, “Fly Half” and “Hooker” (not illegal?) engage in “Rucks”, “Mauls” and “Scrums”.
Having said all the above, I reiterate that I enjoyed watching the game, particularly the tries (trys?) and will watch again, but it will never replace football until they sort out the impenetrable rules. Sorry, laws.