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Thursday, April 24, 2008

UK Culture - Rugby

Muhammad emerging from a
formed by MCOBA
in the annual
MCOBA - MCKK match @
Oldboys weekend 2008

In the U.K, an old saying goes "football is a gentleman's game played by ruffians and rugby is a ruffians game played by gentleman". In most rugby-playing countries, rugby union is widely regarded as an "establishment," historically amateur sport, played mostly by members of the middle classes.

For example, many students at private schools and grammar schools play rugby union. By contrast, rugby league has traditionally been seen as a working and middle class, professional, pursuit. A contrast to this ideology is evident in the neighbouring unions of England and Wales. In England the sport is very much associated with the public schools system (i.e. independent/private schools).

In Ireland, rugby union is also associated with private, education and the "D4" stereotype, and this image of the spoilt, ignorant, wealthy rugby-playing jock inspired the best-selling Ross O'Carroll Kelly novels. In Wales, rugby is associated with small village teams which consisted of coal miners and other industrial workers playing on their days off.

Exceptions to the above include New Zealand, Wales, France except Paris, Cornwall, the Borders region of Scotland, County Limerick in Ireland, and the Pacific Islands, where rugby union is popular in working class communities. Nevertheless, rugby league is perceived as the game of the working class people in the English counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria, and in the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland.

In the United Kingdom, rugby union fans sometimes use the term "rugger" as an alternative name for the sport, (see Oxford '-er'). Also the kick off is known to be called "Rug Off" in some regions. In the US, people who play rugby are sometimes called "ruggers", a term little used elsewhere except facetiously.

Those considered to be heavily involved with the rugby union lifestyle — including heavy drinking and striped jumpers — sometimes identify as "rugger buggers". Retired rugby union players who still turn up to watch, drink and serve on committees rank as "alickadoos" or, less kindly, as "old farts". An alternative name for the game adopted primarily in local rugby comps is known as "Ra-Ra" referring to the pomp and circumstance associated with the sport

Because of the nature of the games (almost unlimited body contact with little or no padding), the rugby world frowns on unsporting behaviour, since even a slight infringement of the rules may lead to serious injury or even death. Because of this, governing bodies enforce the rules strictly.

French rugby league supporters sometimes call themselves "treizistes", reflecting the French title of their sport (jeu à treize). The epithet occurs almost universally in France, but its use has also spread to English-speaking countries.

Australia is unusual in that rugby league is by far the more popular of the two codes. Support for both codes is concentrated in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. The same perceived class barrier as exists between the two games in England also occurs in these two states, fostered by rugby union's prominence and support at private schools. Australian followers of rugby league usually refer to rugby league as "league", "footy" or "football" and rugby union as "rugby" or "union". A popular television show dealing with rugby league, called The Footy Show screens weekly during the NRL season and television coverage is generally known as Friday Night Football, Sunday Football and Monday Night Football.

New Zealanders generally refer to rugby union simply as either "football", "rugby" or "rugby union" and to rugby league as "rugby league", "football" or "league". In New Zealand, playing rugby football has a reputation as the epitome of manliness for both Māori and Pākehā (non-Māori), as symbolised by a haka (war dance) at the start of important games. Kiwis see rugby as the accepted substitute for military heroism and an excellent training ground for soldiering. If Britain won the Battle of Waterloo on the playing-fields of Eton College, New Zealand long saw its role in the British Empire as intimately connected with the football field. Popular Kiwi mythology sees the encouragement of New Zealand rugby in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the Imperial reaction to declining physical fitness in Britain's industrial slums.

(the above is UK Culture extracted from wikipedia, verbatim)

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