Yay! It’s the Six Nations!
Time to find my Wales jersey & give it a wash.
I have to confess, this year’s tournament has caught me unawares. Although I’ve been popping along to London Welsh home games, most weekends, I’ve also been involved in another sport where getting wet and muddy is a bonus – cyclocross.
One of the cleaner days. Honest. (And you can’t even see their backs.)
(If you miss those days where you couldn’t tell one mud-covered lump from another, and like to see people falling on their arses and faces, this could be another spectator sport for you.
Very entertaining stuff.)
Back to the rugby. So, to discover last week that Wales are favourites for the Six Nations according to most of the commentators here was quite a shock, to say the least.
What could possibly go wrong? Oh yes, Biggar goes limping off and Wales draw against Ireland. Great start.
Anyway, I was perusing other exciting links when I came across this lovely bit of ‘build up’.
Far be it for me to disagree with that ‘advice’ (*shudders*), but if you’re the kind of person who paints their nails in team colours but has no idea what the laws of rugby are, please read no further. We’ll never get on, so I won’t even bother.
Speaking of which, the SWEP have obliged with their own idiots’ guide here. Thanks, bois.
Returning to this side of Offa’s Dyke, ‘Six Nations to fill pubs with higher class of git’. Hmmm.
Of course, I tripped off to Old Deer Park on Saturday for the opening matches. And proceeded to down a few too many ‘Bows.
It was quite the operation to discover why my hat was there – apparently it pissed down with rain at some time on Saturday night, and Drunk Toria somehow managed to put it there to dry. Drunk Toria is epic. Hungover Toria searched the whole house looking for that hat though. Perhaps Drunk Toria should’ve left her a note?
I was grateful for dark glasses the next day. And I discovered that sports nutrition recovery drinks are also quite a good tool in your hangover arsenal.
Out of the goodness of my heart and without further ado, here is my HOW TO NOT EMBARRASS YOURSELF RELOAD –SIX NATIONS style. You may have read my original (longer, and RWC-themed) guide here.
But I think some people may need a reminder. (After last Sunday’s hangover, I include myself in that observation.)
The laws of rugby.
Oh, FFS. If you don’t know them by now, you really can’t be arsed, can you?
Look, the original piece had some more information & useful tips, but I’ll repeat the most cogent words: DO NOT TRY TO BLAG ANYTHING ABOUT THE SCRUM. No matter how tempting it is (‘he’s dropped his bind, hasn’t he?’ ‘that was no way straight’). You’ll be like one of those really annoying commentators who insist on filling every millisecond with their voice, instead of letting the pictures speak for themselves.
HOWEVER, my earlier words still apply:
Brekkie on the benches at ODP.
Have a proper breakfast. Don’t rely on a ‘pre-match meal’ – you may already be the best part of bladdered before then. Try to snack all day – this is not a time to be worrying about your diet. Don’t be the person puking up in the bogs at half time, or the one disposing inelegantly of a curry/kebab behind a bush.
This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. No, there’s not as many matches and ad breaks at the RWC, but it can be more intense. Remember what I said about drinking more when nervous?
LOO BREAKS – If you need to go to the loo at a match, wait until a break in play before you force people to get out of your way. If you know your bladder is weak, stick to shorts until after the rugby finishes. Or chew gum instead of drinking.
REFILLS – If you run out of drink during a match, wait until a break in play. Or just fucking deal with having nothing to drink. Don’t ruin someone else’s experience just because you’re prioritising alcohol intake over watching rugby. That’s just fucking selfish.
DO NOT INVOLVE YOURSELF IN DRINKING GAMES IF YOU’RE ALREADY HALF-CUT. It’ll only end in tears/puking/embarrassment/passing out. Finding other people to talk with or a well-timed disappearance may be your best option to salvage whatever’s left of your dignity. This includes Dai Lama’s drinking game:
There’s no way in hell you’ll still be standing after that. And you probably won’t care. Until the pics made it to social media…
Wear what you’ll be comfy in all day, including shoes. If you’re not sure what to carry, this may be a useful guide.
Whether you’re at a match, at a rugby club (now is a great time to pop to see their matches also – with the rescheduling that’s often forced on them, they need your support) or being boring and watching it at home, you should try to still try to keep standards up.
STAND FOR THE ANTHEMS. Sing along too, even if you’re a neutral and it’s not your own. Even if you’re at home and the only one there. The French National anthem is great for its bloodthirstiness. The Italian, well…
Clare grinned happily. ‘Woo-hoo! I’m off to Italia.’ She started humming and was soon gesticulating wildly with her other friends.
‘What on earth are they doing?’ a bemused Tom asked Sarah.
‘On past experience, I’m guessing that’s the Italian National Anthem they’re singing. Or trying to sing. It’s a bonkers anthem – half opera, really.’
‘Of course, that explains it, I thought it was familiar.’ He hummed along good-naturedly too.
It built to a crescendo, then all the performers paused, not knowing the next bit. Their small group broke into laughter, and some around them applauded.
Playing For Keeps by Toria Lyons
Flower of Scotland can be a joy or a dirge, depending on the proclivities of the band, while Ireland has far better ditties than their Call. Anyone not English and those of a republican leaning all hate GSTQ, but at least it’s short, hey?
I reckon the best of the home nations is Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (Land of My Father’s), and that’s not because I’m Welsh. Honest.
Fortunately, they didn’t have this in my size.
NEVER BOO. Don’t slow-clap either. It’s not a fucking pantomime.
TRIES – Don’t over-celebrate unless the try has definitely, irreversibly been awarded.
PENALTIES/CONVERSIONS – Again, please don’t boo. The English/Irish thing is to hush. While I’m not a fan of silence, pissing everyone off around you means you don’t get to share their hip flasks.
CLAP GOOD PLAY – by either side. Yes, it may rankle to do so, but this is a major part of being a rugby supporter.
POW! Yeah, massive hits are great to see. Well, FAIR and SAFE massive hits are. However, if it’s a Lawes-like late tackle on a defenceless, smaller player? Similarly, tip or tackles or shoulder barges. Remember, the player tackled should be able to get up afterwards, not be carted off on a stretcher.
INJURIES – If a player is injured, be patient. If a rugby player stays down, it usually means the outlook is bad. No player would voluntarily be stretchered off, and if they limp or are carried off, a sympathetic clap is the norm.
DO NOT SING OR DANCE TO THE SHIT MUSIC CLIPS PLAYED AT BREAKS IN PLAY. Every proper fan hates it. If you want to hear a five-second clip of badly piped music, go to a bloody pop concert, not a rugby match. (When will the bloody stadiums learn this? Grrr.)
AVOID BEING A POOR WINNER OR A SORE LOSER. Remember, if your team wins, try not to rub it in the face of anyone supporting the opposition. Be dignified – what goes around, eventually comes around. THIS IS ESPECIALLY APPLICABLE DURING THE SIX NATIONS – the Six Nations is annual, not quadrennial.
ABOVE ALL, NO FUCKING MEXICAN WAVES. Nothing could be more disrespectful to the players on the pitch and proper supporters than that shit.
Have fun and enjoy yourself, even if the result doesn’t go your way. Absorb the atmosphere, get chatting to other supporters from either side, and join a singalong. AND KEEP THOSE BLOODY ARMS DOWN.
I’m off to the bookies now to place a bet on when Hartley’s going to get sent off.