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6 Nations

In a week’s time the Six Nations rugby starts again. It is one of the best competitions and one of the oldest around in sport. Rugby is a huge sport, it has been liked to chess. There are clear tactics akin to chess in the game play. You have the Forwards, the ones that put themselves on the line sacrifice at each play, forcing the other team to change its play. Forwards are hardened tough players, they push hard to get the ball, smashing into the opponents. They can often drag players in blinding the other teams captain. Like a chess board, you need to watch every square inch of the pitch. never be fooled by just what is in front of you. The sleight of hand, as the scrum-half mis-directs, waiting as his, backs strike, taking the ball to score. It is a hard brutal game.

The six nations; England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy, battle for honours, the Triple Crown, the Calcutta Cup, the Grand Slam. Each team plays the other once at proud stadiums packed with fans. Here is one of the differences with this sport. The fans sit next to each other, no separation, no need to worry about them. These games are cherished, followed moment by moment, players roared on and then moments of perfect silence. The hush that comes over both sets of fans as the kicker attempts to place an odd shaped ball between to imposing posts.

Again, here is another difference. The crowd respect the players, the action, the play. They do shout and scream, even at the television as I know, but they respect the game. Afterwards, they even have a drink with the opposition fans.

Although the six nations only lasts for a short time it is explosive, fast and dramatic. This year it has added meaning, as all the teams will take part in the Rugby World cup later in the year. Like the other World cup, this takes place ever 4 years and brings together the top teams in rugby. The Southern hemisphere sides often triumph in this competition, except for one wonderful year when a certain Jonny Wilkinson kicked a fantastic last-minute drop goal to beat Australia in extra time.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, the game is akin to chess. In those last few minutes, you could see England move the ball move men on the board waiting for that moment. The crowd could see, the Aussies could see and so could that one man. That is what makes rugby, the game centred on one moment. It was almost in slow-motion as the kick sailed between the posts and the team knew they had the Webb Ellis trophy.

It was only two minutes of play but it was the most exciting two minutes.

The Six nations starts next Friday night with England playing Wales, live on BBC 1. Once more, battle will be joined.

Tagline:’Scum down at the 5-meter line, England put-in.’