Rugby players: the great deception

Behind the bolting, bulking and beaters that go hand in hand with Rugby players, lurks an unheralded truth…

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If one were to forbid rugby players from using the words: pigeon, lads, rig, lid, chat, sluts and lash, Wednesday TP’s loosest occupants would be noticeably quieter than usual. In fact, we would be utterly silent.

Barely a sound would be heard from us – apart from the frenzied slaughtering of pints and the hurling of drinks, clothing and excrement at each other and any number of unfortunate bystanders.

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Note the intense expression.

The explanation for this behaviour is simple. We may come across as erudite, the degenerate scholars of university sport, the players of a thinking man’s game, but no assumption could be more wrong.

Broadly speaking, we are an unintelligent, one-dimensional herd, mindlessly recycling the same unpleasant chants and prejudices against anyone who isn’t white, upper-middle class and the proud owner of a collection of snapbacks that would be the envy of Tempa T.

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The more random the snapback, the better.

How, then, have we managed to conceal such stupidity for so long?

Well, partly by jealously denying outside access to our groups: huddling together in the gym, writing off the unfortunate fresher that accidentally came to social so comprehensively that no memories remain to incriminate us.

And, of course, by staying away from lectures – lest we be cornered by some fresh-faced PhD student wanting answers to what we think of urban planning in Brezhnev’s Soviet Union.

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We focus our attention on different matters.

Most cunningly, however, we have managed to affect a convincing alter ego. This alter ego is posh, admittedly, but generally pleasant in one-on-one interactions.

Convincing enough, in fact, for many to wonder at the change that comes over us with ten pints of Carling down the hatch.

We can engage in discourse on the issues of the day, treat a girlfriend with care and respect and appreciate the value of a well-written poem.

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Tweed, a rugby player’s best fashion friend.

The shlid is lifted on this deception, though, with the entrance of the aforementioned lager beer. It, or its immediate substitutes, Snakebite and cider, only tends to be consumed when two or more of us are together.

In conjunction with the looseness of jaw that one experiences after an evening of committed bolting, this allows us to slough off this onerous skin and morph back into our true selves.

We stand in a big circle and chant songs about women in stores and necrophilia, and pass continuous comment about the avian nature of everyone but us.

We tell tall tales of roguery and drinking and we scream abuse at netballers who have the temerity to try and out-shout us.

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Do we even enjoy chundering? Maybe.

So, yes, the secret’s out. To misquote a phrase coined by a commentator recently: Football is a gentleman’s game played by thugs. Rugby is a thug’s game played by rapists that shit in pint glasses and say the same seven things on repeat.

You don’t understand us. We’re society’s outcasts, and we bloody love it.