When I am tired from interviewing people, it’s good to sit back with a Bintang beer and watch some TV.  The Australia Network is great for this purpose, especially on the weekends when it shows rugby almost non-stop.  Australians take their rugby seriously.  Having spent a good portion of last night unwinding by watching the Roosters play the Bulldogs in a fiercely contested NRL game, I have learned a couple of things.

The first is that I really enjoy rugby league a lot more than rugby union.  JMP and I watched some rugby union when we traveled in New Zealand and again when we were in Australia, and my read is that rugby union is a lot slower with a lot less action.  Rugby league is in many ways like a faster, continuous, more brutal version of American football, with 6 downs instead of 4.

The second is that I have no doubt that the rugby league players are the fittest people that I have ever seen.  Simply massive shoulders, chests, and thighs, but not an ounce of fat on them.

The third is that Australian football, which is yet another sport, is weird.  Apparently the technical term for a referee is a "white maggot."

Comments 5

  1. Matt G June 29, 2008

    It’s funny you say that, Tom – I’ve always thought rugby league was more fun to play, but rugby union much more fun to watch.
    But I was a back, and union is a pack player’s game, so I’m not unbiased.

  2. Matt G June 29, 2008

    Both games, however, are undeniably more exciting to watch than american football.

  3. Tom June 29, 2008

    Interesting that our viewpoints are the opposite. I watched Australia versus France last night and was struck again at how much slower rugby union is. From what I could figure out, rugby union consists of the following
    2 seconds of action
    kick the ball down the field and out of bounds
    I certainly don’t understand the intricacies well enough to make sense of what I’m seeing, though.
    France’s number eight is the most frightening man I’ve ever seen. This guy is in my nightmares.

  4. Matt G June 30, 2008

    When you say scrum, do you mean “ruck”? A scrum can only occur after a whistle stops play, while a ruck usually occurs on each tackle.
    I agree there are a lot more set pieces (scrums, lineouts, etc.) in union. But I like watching the set pieces, I feel like it allows for more technical tactics to be set up.
    Interestingly, all american college rugby is union. I’ve only played league for fun at practice and a few times in Canada.
    By the way, Jonah Lomu is the scariest rugby player ever, 6′ 5″, 260 lbs., wing.

  5. Tom June 30, 2008

    I don’t know, I think I mean scrum. Ruck is just a pile of people laying on top of each other, right?
    Jonah Lomu is gigantic, but I maintain that Chaval is scarier. I’ve seen Jonah Lomu smile before and he looks rather friendly. Not the same from Chaval.

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