The equivalent of the Final Four…on a professional level. That is how I equated the European Rugby Cup Championship Semifinals in American context. Ger and I were lucky enough to attend the Munster vs. Saracens semifinal match – my first official rugby game ever. Since we are making equivocations, my love for Kentucky Wildcat Basketball is equivalent to Ger’s love for Munster Rugby. He’s proven to be a solid UK fan, so, I have promised to become a solid Muster fan.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Munster Rugby is one of the four professional provincial rugby teams from Ireland, from which Tipperary is included, thus Ger’s love for it – not to mention, they are an incredible team. Saracens Football Club is a professional rugby team based in London, England. These two teams competed to qualify for the European Rugby Cup Championship game on May 13, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
1. The objective of the game is to get the ball into the try zone (end zone for you American football fans). For much of the game, the ball is passed backwards until a player has open space to advance the ball into the oppositions’ try zone.
2. To be awarded a try, a player has to touch the ball down in the try zone. A try is worth five points.
3. A conversation occurs when a kick is attempted after a try (similar to the extra point in American football). A conversion is worth two points.
4. A penalty kick is taken once a penalty is awarded. These are worth three points.
5. The scrums are impressive feats of strength. In a scrum, the players bind together and try to drive the other team off the ball. The team awarded the scrum gets possession of the ball. There is much more to this, but, that’s as far as my basic knowledge goes.
6. Kickoffs occur at the start of each half (there are 2 half in each rugby union game lasting 40 minutes each) and after a score. The difference that I have to get used to is the team that just scored will receive the kickoff rather than be the team that is kicking off (the opposite of American football).
7. Muster fans love singing “The Fields of Anthenry” at games. These are song lyrics I must learn…low lie the Fields of Anthery…
I’m genuinely looking forward to learning more about rugby and becoming a solid Muster Rugby fan. Til the next one…Hon Munster!