Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
21 April 2015
Until someone can enlighten me as to who authored the excellent poetic effort attached here I will publish it anonymously but with thanks. My friend Alan Trotter of Tauranga, New Zealand has sent it to me. He says it was 'sourced' to him from the United States - but who can be sure?
When the battle scars have faded
And the truth becomes a lie.
And the weekend smell of liniment
Could almost make you cry.
When the last ruck is well behind you
And the man that ran now walks
It doesn’t matter who you are
The mirror sometimes talks
Have a good hard look old son!
The melon is not that great
The snoz that takes a sharp turn sideways
Used to be dead straight
You’re an advert for arthritis
You’re a thoroughbred gone lame
Then you ask yourself the question
Why the hell you played the game?
Was there logic in the head knocks?
In the corks and in the cuts?
Did common sense get pushed aside?
By manliness and guts?
Do you sometimes sit and wonder
Why your time would often pass
In a tangled mess of bodies
With your head up someone else's arse?
With a thumb hooked up your nostril
Scratching gently on your brain
And an overgrown Neanderthal
Rejoicing in your pain!
Mate you must recall the jersey
That was shredded into rags
Then the soothing sting of Dettol
On a back engraved with tags!
It’s almost worth admitting
Though with some degree of shame
That your wife was right in asking
Why the hell you played the game?
Why you’re always rock home legless
Like a cow on roller skates
After drinking at the clubhouse
With your low down drunken mates
Then you wake up check your wallet
Not a solitary coin
Drink Berocca by the bucket
Throw an ice pack on your groin
Copping Sunday morning sermons
About boozers being losers
While you limped like Quasimodo
With a half a thousand bruises!
Yes an urge to hug the porcelain
And curse Sambuca’s name
Would always pose the question
Why the hell you played the game!
And yet with every wound re-opened
As you grimly reminisce it
Comes the most compelling feeling yet
God, you bloody miss it!
From the first time that you laced a boot
And tightened every stud
That virus known as rugby
Has been living in your blood
When you dream't it when you played it
All the rest took second fiddle
Now you’re standing on the sideline
But your hearts still in the middle
And no matter where you travel
You can take it as expected
There will always be a breed of people
If there’s a teammate, then you’ll find him
Like a gravitating force
With a common understanding
And a beer or three, of course
And as you stand there telling lies
Like it was yesterday old friend
You’ll know that if you had the chance
You’d do it all again
You see that’s the thing with rugby
It will always be the same
And that, I guarantee
Is why the hell you played the game!
(If you have any more details on this poem and its origins - please write to me at email@example.com )
And please send any others about the game you know about.
Hawkes Bay's Cyril Brownlie is sent off at Twickenham but the 'Invincible' All Blacks still fight hard with 14 men for a 17-11 win over England.
South-West Africa and South Africa
38 internationals for Sth Africa 1965–76
Along with the tight-loose forward Frik du Preez, flanker Jan Ellis shared for many years the record for most test matches played by a South African. They played in an age when such a total was considered huge.
Ellis came from far-flung South-West Africa (now independent Namibia) where the nearest rugby club was 60 miles (100 km) away. His keenness and determination to play the game soon built into a talent that was recognised in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, the main centres of South African rugby.
Ellis made the first of his 38 test appearances for the Springboks in New Zealand in 1965. He played modestly for the first six or seven games, but then he discovered his own strength and speed and by tour’s end he was one of the most improved players in the team. Thereafter his powerful running from loose play and strong tackling made him a regular in Springbok sides.
He played many of his tests in the politically-charged atmosphere of anti-apartheid protests, but if such demonstrations worried Ellis it was never seen. His play was always of a consistently high standard.
In 1976 Ellis equalled Frik du Preez’s total of 38 internationals, but was denied the chance to beat the record when he was dropped from the Springboks team after the first test against the All Blacks.
On the Teen Rugby Show on TV in New Zealand (on 18 July 2006) which All Black used the words; 'bugger, shit, shits and shithouse' in a five minute item.