Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Rugby players are thick middle-class upstarts – at least footballers know their place

Apparently, England recently beat Georgia in something rather ambitiously called the Rugby World Cup. The word ‘world’ is used here in much the same way as the Americans deploy it in relation to other vanishingly unpopular sports such as baseball or American football, i.e. sports which nobody else in the world plays except for the Americans and their satrapies. Only 27 people in Georgia have even heard of rugby, and only 15 of those are under the age of 127. (They are very long lived in Georgia: the oldest people in the world come from that region of the Caucasus, which has led many scientists to study their diets extremely closely in the hope that some intimation of immortality will reveal itself. At the same time it has led me to study both the Georgian grasp of arithmetic and propensity to tell lies.)

England’s victory over Georgia was expected by the pundits, as the number of people who play the game here actually extends to more than 200 — almost all of them middle-class latent homosexuals with great reserves of energy — and so the pool of talent is much deeper. However, I am told that it was a laboured victory, devoid of panache and sullied by ill-discipline and fecklessness, although a marked improvement on the narrow victory over those fractious European-wannabes, Argentina. The Argies will one day understand that simply taking part with great gusto in organised games of football, polo and rugby does not, by itself, entitle your country to be considered ‘civilised’ and ‘old world’. Death squads and national bankruptcy are also, by the by, terribly de trop. However, we digress.

The England rugby team seems to be emulating, in this ‘World’ Cup, the uselessness and stupidity which afflicts the England football team in World Cups.

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