Friday, June 20, 2008

Rugby tackles

The blurry blue streak that enters from the left of the frame is Brian Lima, who was nicknamed "the chiropractor", because he rearranges your spine for you. The ball goes back a full ten metres from this hit, and the Fijians aren't a soft touch, ever:

Lima, who played in an incredible five world cups, has put in a few hits in his time.

Tackles aren't violence, somehow. I'm not quite sure how that works, but it does. England's Josh Lewsey showed the difference, with ex-League man Matt Rogers a few years ago. Rogers punched Lewsey, then Lewsey replied with a tackle. Rogers is a tough man, as is every League player, but he didn't get up.

I think Rogers had a broken rib. I've broken a few ribs playing rugby but the worst, that left me with a bump on my chest, was when I was stupid enough to play prop because my team didn't have one that day. I'm six foot seven, which is a disadvantage in that position. My opposite number was 23 stone and experienced. Second scrum down, ten minutes in, and there was an audible cracking sound - audible enough for the ref to blow his whistle. It hurt, and made breathing a bit difficult. But Doc, a Cambridge medical researcher and one of our wingers, told me it wouldn't get any worse, we had no substitutes, so I played on, on the wing. Not the best hour of my life, though tackling the same 23 stone gent sometime in the second half blacked me out for a moment, just from the rib pain, and that was interesting. I'd been knocked out before once, playing rugby, from a spear tackle (being dumped on my head), but this was different. The other time there was a slow motion thing, when the world and I parted company for a moment, but this time it was a cocoon, nice and cosy, from which I reluctantly returned to a cold, rainy rugby pitch.

Dammit, why do we have to get old?


Anonymous said...

The first time I ever played football - either code - on a decent surface was on the stadium pitch at Murrayfield, where - for reasons convoluted - I turned out for Dick Vet College vs University of Strathclyde. "Smile, son" said one of my teammates, "whatever ails you, we can cure."

Mark Wadsworth said...

Looks to me like he tackled him around the midriff, which i was told as school is distinctly unsporting, you are supposed to grab them round the knees.

Peter Risdon said...

Tackling lower is often more effective. Midriff isn't unsporting, it's just likely to fail unless done right. Lewsey did it right.

I can picture the face of the healer there, DM.

Unknown said...

Just wait till you get arthritis in your sacroiliatic joint (pelvis).

Peter Risdon said...

I hope that "till" is an "if", Prof. It sounds terrible.