Why We Love Rugby

Because it’s brilliant … but that’s not really enough for a blog is it? We suspect TTT’s loyal readers would diminish slightly if 3-4 word blogs became the norm.

So amid the camaraderie, the physicality, the respect, the lack of segregation and the countless other reasons rugby is the great game it is, here’s a wonderful example of rugby’s values at work.

As a former player of Tunbridge Wells RFC and Tonbridge Juddians RFC, I’ve experienced first hand the rivalry that exists between the neighbouring Kent sides. While the sides are separated by a couple of league divisions, the sides meet in the annual Kent Cup and the clubs’ mini sections still battle it out on a regular basis on level terms.

The recent Lent Mini/Midi Festival Finals Day was held at Aylesford RFC featuring squads from the local area, including Tunbridge Wells, Juddians, Aylesford, Sevenoaks RFC & Westcombe Park RFC. The Sevenoaks U10s and the Westcombe U12s took home their respective spoils but it was a moment in the U11s tournament that really showcased our glorious game.

Here’s a synopsis of the events from the Juddians’ website:

The first match against Sevenoaks was a tough test with both teams evenly matched and running the ball at every opportunity. TJs though won through 2-1 in the end. The third match against Aylesford saw TJs take an early lead which they never looked like relinquishing despite a sterling effort by Aylesford, TJs eventually running out 4-0 winners.

It was the second match however that demonstrated all that is great about the game and the ethos of Rugby Union. The game started very tight butafter a sustained period of end to end rugby, Tunbridge Wells scored first after eventually finding a gap in the TJs defence. In the second half TJs threw everything at it, eventually making a break to find Will Saltmarsh steaming toward the Wells try line with several defenders in tow. He is adjudged to have been held up over the line though. However, Andrew Cunningham, the Tunbridge Wells team manager walks onto the pitch to have a word with the referee and I join them to see what’s going on. He tells the referee that he was stood right next to the try line and in his opinion the ball was grounded and he would like the decision reversed with the try being awarded to TJs. The referee agrees, awards the try and soon after the match ends in a draw. 

Richard Savage, Head Coach, told the website, “Since managing this age group from U6 to present day and having attended many festivals, I have never experienced such a selfless and sporting act. Andrew made this decision despite this being Wells’ first match of the day and without any thought of how this would affect his teams final standing at the end of the festival. History will show that TJs won this years U11 Development Cup with Tunbridge Wells runners up, but in my mind we were joint winners, with Rugby Union winning the day.

“You can often find yourself disillusioned these days in regard to professional sports. The win at any cost mentality, cheating and cynical fouls on and match fixing off the pitch. But occasionally things can happen which not only restore your faith in sport, but in human nature and spirit itself.”

Bravo Mr Cunningham and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we love rugby.

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