Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rugby – A Game for Gentlemen?

Always thought of as the superior game, being traditionally played by the public and selective grammar schools, the game of rugby is clearly undergoing a metamorphosis.

Anyone watching the Jonathon Ross programme on Friday night would have seen him interview a certain member of the Welsh rugby team. Evidently, that player’s pre-match preparation lasts for about two hours and involves a bath, shaving the legs, the application of fake tan and the careful waxing of the hair until it stands upright like a spiky hedgehog.

For anyone who missed the programme, I am not speaking of a member of the ladies Welsh rugby team.

The Welsh novelist and dramatist, Gwyn Thomas (1913 – 1981), said in the introduction to his play Jackie the Jumper (1962):

‘I wanted a play that would paint the full face of sensuality, rebellion and revivalism. In South Wales these three phenomena have played second fiddle only to Rugby Union which is a distillation of all three.’

Well, from the interview on Friday night it certainly looks as though the Welsh are maintaining the tradition of sensuality in Welsh rugby. As an ex- prop forward for my grammar school and medical school rugby teams, all I can say is ‘my, how things change!’

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