Play Up And Play The Game - The General Sport Thread

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  • Maybe if you had left out the political propaganda I may have had more interest, I asked a question about football, not politics, also I didn't ask you to do anything, and as I said I had already researched the answer myself anyway.

  • The Six Nations Rugby tournament begins tomorrow. It is a celebration of ancient rivalries unequalled in any other part of the sporting canon.


    For some rugby fans, to conflate the Calcutta Cup with the Battle of Bannockburn, or to view “Le Crunch” as a re-enactment of Agincourt is to recognise that the Six Nations is a competition steeped not only in its own 140 year history, but centuries old enmities, rekindled by the oval ball.


    Close your eyes and imagine some of the images the tournament had conjured up in years gone by: The smouldering figure of Martin Johnson framed by a penumbra of steam; the glowering Doddie Weir with his ears taped back, or Sebastian Chabal providing almost cast-iron proof that Neanderthal man didn’t entirely die out.


    The surge of winter passion the Six Nations engenders resides as much in the love of rugby as the ambience it engenders. This concoction of home nations rivalries, spiced up with Celtic fervour, Gallic flair and a splash of Latin exoticism expresses less a European union, than the elemental fury of a tribal past.


    Hear “Men of Harlech” thundering around the Principality Stadium and you can almost see Owen Glyndwr leading his murderous hordes across Offa’s Dyke. Hear the first strains of La Marseillase on a crisp February afternoon in Saint Denis and the Stade de France becomes a crucible of revolutionary fervour. The call to arms... “Aux armies citoyens” and as the French pack lines up, “Formez vos battalions” is the militaristic challenge, especially if there is a Grand Slam at stake.


    Perhaps some of the truest gauges of the competition’s popularity come from those outside the fray. Former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said “You can have 40’000 Englishmen travelling to a match in Rome and only 10’000 of them are likely to have match tickets. The fact is, every country is so close to all the others that every match is a derby. There’s nothing more evocative than arriving for a match against Scotland than seeing the pipers playing, lined along the roof of Murrayfield Stadium. The Six Nations is unique. I love it.”


    If this is the reaction of one excited Kiwi, imagine the intensity of emotion harboured by the combatants. All those memories of David Sole, quietly but with menace aforethought, leading the Scots out for their epoch-defining confrontation with England at Murrayfield in 1991, or of Brian Moore, England’s pitbull, savaging the French front row almost singlehandedly at the Parc des Princes.


    Even the play assumes its own idiosyncratic character in a Six Nations setting. Fierce. Visceral. Socks-round-the-ankles commitment exemplified by Alun Wyn-Jones, and a degree of chaotic abandonment that can produce highly unpredictable results. All that you think you know about rugby disappears among the crackling, stomach-clenching tensions of the day.


    Stuart Lancaster tried to distil the Six Nations. He said: “It is the history that surrounds every match. You can never look at any one game and say it is going to be easier than another. It comes down to how you deal with the pressure.”


    For the travelling fans there is the social ritual. Pub crawls through the Joycean hostelries of Dublin and Eurostar weekends to the bars and cafes of Paris. The BBQ atmosphere of Twickenham’s grassy car parks or a trip across the Alps to Rome, closer to the social delights of the city centre now, since the move to the Olympic Stadium from the charmingly quaint, but out-of-town Stadio Flaminho.


    All the romance of this cross-continental carnival is mercifully preserved by the absence of excessive commercial gimmickry. Rugby fans are basically easy to please. Give them beer, food and a place to talk and sing and laugh and banter and who needs contrived atmosphere? They’ll create the real thing for themselves.


    However you choose to enjoy the engagements, a compartment of your mind will doubtless return to the iconic images and sounds of the past. The Grandstand theme, for example, or a recollection of the late Bill McLaren wrapping his mellifluous Hawick vowels around another eulogy to the positional kicking of Gregor Townsend. British sports’ greatest ever commentator is so sadly missed.


    This tint of sepia should never be lost. The Six Nations’ distinction as the solitary showpiece where, for example, 20’000 Scots can decamp to London for a weekend’s drinking and be welcomed by the capital’s populace, or those fabled Cardiff thoroughfares of Grafton Street and Princes Street, bedecked for days beforehand with red and white and dragon emblems, sharpens a beguiling sense of intense but friendly rivalry. Gavin Hastings said “I love the sheer brilliance of meeting up with old mates. The social side is immense.”


    The southern hemisphere has nothing like it. Whilst their Rugby Championship arguably exhibits a higher standard of play, it is far harder for an Aucklander to flit over to Johannesburg or Buenos Aires than it is for an Englishman to sing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” in a Roman trattoria.


    For all its raucousness, civility pervades. Any indulgence takes place firmly within rugby’s characteristic strictures of fandom. The fans police themselves conscientiously and considerately of local populations and if Englishmen smilingly taunt Scots wearing kilts and sporrans, they will still enjoy a friendly pint (or three) with them in the bars after the game.


    80 minutes of blood and thunder give way naturally to handshakes and back slapping bonhomie, applause and commiseration. Whilst such honours as Triple Crowns, Grand Slams and Calcutta Cups bestow precious cachet, it is not the done thing to gloat. As Churchill once said, “Rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen.”


    The Six Nations remains a symphony in primary colours, a profusion of red, green and blue illuminating the chill of a northern European midwinter. It makes the bleaker days of winter worth going out into.


    The tournament starts tomorrow, in early February’s icy grip and ends when we’re getting ready to put the clocks forward. It is our blessed bridge to the promise of Spring.


    May it live forever.

  • England 6 Scotland 11 - Scotland humble England in the Calcutta Cup .


    What an outstanding performance by the Scots to lower England's colours in the rain at Twickenham today.


    Earlier, France beat Italy by a bagful in Rome. You have to feel sorry for Italy... always playing catch up in the 6N with the established nations. However much Italy improve (and they have improved greatly since joining the tournament) they are always behind the advances made by the other countries.


    The Scots tore into England from the start and the home team were constantly on the back foot, giving away penalty after penalty, with Billy Vunipola eventually being sent to the sin bin for one indiscretion too many. It was while he was off the field that Scotland scored the only try of the game, Duhan van der Merwe (a good Scottish name. lol) who hails from a little known part of Scotland called Johannesburg touched down in the corner.


    England had no answer to Scots fire and determination and with exquisite positional kicking from Hoggy, England were penned back in their own half for most of the match.


    Scotland were brilliant and one can only wonder what it would be like in the Cabbage Patch tonight if their had been fans in the stadium today.


    Well played the Scots. A thoroughly deserved victory. The Six Nations is off to a cracking start.

  • The FA Cup Sixth Round draw has thrown up two juicy ties.


    Everton, 5-4 winners over Spurs in Wednesday night's thriller will take on record breaking Manchester City at Goodison. That would have made a good final. City have re-found their mojo after a shaky start to the season. They play possession football and it's worked. They have the lowest goals against figure in the Premier League. Pep Guardiola's logic is sound "If we've got the ball, they can't score." I doubt there will be nine goals in this game, but if there are, City will probably score seven of them.


    In the other biggie, Manchester United will travel to Leicester City. Foxes will fancy their chances against a notoriously fickle Manchester United defence. United are currently in second place in the Premier League, behind local rivals City and Leicester sit in third place. United are much improved this season but the past-his-best David de Gea in goal and shaky central defender Harry Maguire could fall prey to Jamie Vardy's lightning fast darts into dangerous positions, and his lethal finishing. United will have this seasons signings Bruno Fernandez and Edison Cavani to lead their attack. Those two have been the main reason behind United's resurgence. If the reds want a trophy this season, the FA Cup is the most likely route. They'll be up for it. But Leicester City have never won the trophy, having lost in the final four times. They want it just as much.


    Chelsea will play Sheffield United at the Bridge. And Southampton and AFC Bournemouth will have their own little south coast bunfight for the final semi final place. I can't see any surprises cropping up there.


    Ties to be played on 20 - 21 March.

  • Scotland are ready to play France at the weekend. France has 5 players testing positive for Covid. There are two options for France.. Play a few up and coming players --- OR ----- Concede the match. Simple as that..

  • I don't watch much sport these day went off football years ago


    I started to take an interest in Rugby when my son started paying Rugby I now know a little about the rules really looking forward to tomorrow Six Nations Rugby begins England v Scotland , Ireland v Wales and on Sunday France v Italy I will be rooting for Italy I support anyone playing against France at anything, even tiddlywinks ^^ ^^

  • Our Grammar school forced us into a Soccer League. I was in the school team but hated soccer. Referees felt that I used too much physical contact when challenging for the ball. So I and some others called to see the Head Master to get up a Rugby Union team to compete in the local league. To his credit he tried hard to achieve it, but was refused by the Education Committee.

    I enjoy watching Rugby Union and in particular the Six nations. As I have many relatives in the North of England I was also introduced to Rugby league which I also enjoy.

    Looking forward to the 6 Nations tournament starting.

  • What with the upcoming winter Olympics I will watch some of it if I get chance but I suspect its not being shown on freeview.


    One o the sports that has always fascinated me is curling pretty tame compared to some of the other winter sports I know

    . 🤣

  • Our Grammar school forced us into a Soccer League. I was in the school team but hated soccer. Referees felt that I used too much physical contact when challenging for the ball. So I and some others called to see the Head Master to get up a Rugby Union team to compete in the local league. To his credit he tried hard to achieve it, but was refused by the Education Committee.

    I enjoy watching Rugby Union and in particular the Six nations. As I have many relatives in the North of England I was also introduced to Rugby league which I also enjoy.

    Looking forward to the 6 Nations tournament starting.

    School our son went to had a football team , cricket team, and a basket ball team but no rugby team , some of the lads asked if they could start one and the Head said no could not get insurance cover, so the boys found a local Rugby Club and played at the weekends.


    They had a great time Ruby Tours to Wales and elsewhere 20 years later they have all one their own way but they are all still friends and meet up two or three times a year for a pint or three

  • I hated being forced to play football at school. I used to run away from the ball whenever it came uncomfortably close and I hated the changing room/showers nonsense as well. Kids should never be forced into this against their will.


    It all seems funny looking back, but I’d hate to think that my grandkids have to suffer in the same way. Fortunately, they seem to be more sporty than I was.

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  • What with the upcoming winter Olympics I will watch some of it if I get chance but I suspect its not being shown on freeview.


    One o the sports that has always fascinated me is curling pretty tame compared to some of the other winter sports I know

    . 🤣

    The much hated BBC are showing coverage of the winter olympics. for me, sport is worth the licence fee alone.


    Britain could do well in a number of sports. Dave Ryding could possibly win a medal in the men's slalom skiing. He recently became the first ever Briton to win a alpine skiing world cup race. he has said that if he wins a medal he will cut it in half and give the other half to Alan Baxter, who won a bronze medal in the men's slalom in 2002 but was disqualified and stripped of his medal after failing a drugs test because he had used a vick inhaler that contained a banned substance. Good Luck Dave Ryding.


    Britain could win a medal in the mixed curling. They have gotten off to a good start. We also have medal candidates in the bobsleigh and snowboarding events. Not bad for a country with no mountains or snow.

    Just telling the truth, that's all. I know you don't like it, but there it is.

  • I hated being forced to play football at school. I used to run away from the ball whenever it came uncomfortably close and I hated the changing room/showers nonsense as well. Kids should never be forced into this against their will.


    It all seems funny looking back, but I’d hate to think that my grandkids have to suffer in the same way. Fortunately, they seem to be more sporty than I was.

    I played hockey at school and was pretty good at it. Girls are different in their attitudes to communal changing. As long as we are all girls its no big deal. Actually, it's a good chance to compare hair conditioner.


    My daughter plays football and is a useful central midfielder. I doubt she will ever play for City's midfield, but you have to dream don't you. Her dad used to play rugby. She would have loved to see him play. He played at Outside Center. Tall and elegant runner with the ball and a hard tackler off it. I like to think he would be proud to see her play football now.

    Just telling the truth, that's all. I know you don't like it, but there it is.

  • Are there any other football fans on this forum? For me there is only one club. Manchester City. I grew up standing on the Kippax at Maine Road. I can't afford to go to games now, but its good to see match of the day with City winning trophies.


    When City did the domestic quad in 2019 - Something alex ferguson said could never be done - me and dad and daughter went to Eastlands stadium for the trophy day and had our selfie taken with the premier league, FA Cup, League Cup and community shield trophies. that was something really special and winning all four domestic trophies in the same season is something no other english club has ever done. CTID (City till I die).


    106-Feb-22.jpg

    Just telling the truth, that's all. I know you don't like it, but there it is.

  • I hated being forced to play football at school. I used to run away from the ball whenever it came uncomfortably close and I hated the changing room/showers nonsense as well. Kids should never be forced into this against their will.


    It all seems funny looking back, but I’d hate to think that my grandkids have to suffer in the same way. Fortunately, they seem to be more sporty than I was.

    I used to enjoy playing football and was part of the school team in Junior and Senior school until I left at the age of 15 years to start work , what I hated was cross country running during the winter when the running track and football fields were flooded or covered in snow, rain or shine we had to run.


    Within a couple of years working I lost all interest in football to this day I don't even read the sports pages


    When I moved to London in the early 70's I lived very close to the Arsenal Stadium on match days it was not a place to be running street fights local pubs damaged with the Police in the middle trying to keep the waring factions apart, that also put me off watching football

  • Two matches watched in the 6 nations tournament yesterday. Ireland were excellent, Wales were very poor in their match. The Scotland v England match was very exciting with either team being capable of winning right up to the last minute. (Two well matched teams , well done both. )

  • The Irish played brilliantly, not impressed with the Welsh team at all , they were lucky to actually get on the scoreboard .


    England played well but the Scottish defence was good and solid but they gave away to many penalties in the second half as tiredness set in , i enjoyed both games , today I will be cheering for Italy ;)

  • I used to enjoy playing football and was part of the school team in Junior and Senior school until I left at the age of 15 years to start work , what I hated was cross country running during the winter when the running track and football fields were flooded or covered in snow, rain or shine we had to run.


    Within a couple of years working I lost all interest in football to this day I don't even read the sports pages


    When I moved to London in the early 70's I lived very close to the Arsenal Stadium on match days it was not a place to be running street fights local pubs damaged with the Police in the middle trying to keep the waring factions apart, that also put me off watching football

    The one sport I used to excel at was cross country running!

    If my post is in this colour, it is a moderator decision. Please abide by it.

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