Rugby boys: what lurks beneath the surface of these boozed-up chlamydiots?

She’s back: Ekin Karasin on why rugby boys are just trying really, really hard to impress us and each other.


Rugby boys. That curious species that descends on your favourite club every Wednesday, lurching around in an amorphous haze of blue shirts and beige chinos, emitting sporadic roars of “BANTER” and “DOWN IT.” They’re everywhere.

You’ll see them discussing their latest conquests in the queue at Tesco. “Oh mate, mate, I got her five strawberry VKs last night. Think I’m definitely gonna bang her soon.” His slack-jawed companion will assure him that yes, it sounds like intercourse will undoubtedly be on the cards.

Then there’ll be a moment of queasy panic as they realise they’ve just exchanged more than five lines of conversation, and one of them will hastily down a bottle of sunflower oil, while the other bellows a perfunctory “LAD!” at the cashier.

These are the rugby boys. They exist in a never-ending cycle of smashing birds and bolting pints. The social sets the scene. First years arrive, virginal and fresh-faced. They endure the social sec roaring at them to consume every beverage in the world. Then two years and about fifty vats of cider-black later they emerge as hardened third years to terrorise the new batch of eighteen year-olds.

What I want to know is when did lash banter become the way forward? Shagging strangers every Wednesday is a perk, but what about being on first name terms with the walk-in centre staff after another bout of that pesky chlamydia? Do they really enjoy bolting a pint, being violently sick in it, then bolting it again? Of course they don’t. They’re just trying really, really hard to impress us and each other.

I reckon we should bundle them all into a cellar (amid yells of “Mate, what the ACTUAL fuck?”) and lock the door. Give it half an hour. Then gently creep back and observe. The scenes will astound, I promise. Away from prying eyes, someone will have cracked out a guitar. Two of them will be giving a quivering rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’. And in the far corner, the captain will be leading a tearful, impromptu counselling session about the significance of his dad patting him on the shoulder when he was eight.