As a netball umpire, I will also be the first to admit that it is far easier to umpire (or ref as we are talking rugby) a game from the comfort of your own lounge. However, that doesn't stop me becoming extremely vocal if I think things are going wrong. And I do have quite a few years as a rugby supporter under my belt to back me up. I think I once won a bet in a pub when I named the 1978 Grand Slam All Blacks faster than a certain member of the male gender (remember that was the year when Andy Haden fell... I mean was pushed out of the lineout in Cardiff). So I think I have the right to yell the odd thing at the TV during a game.
To help less experienced readers of this blog, here are a few ideas of books you can pick up at the Library so that you can hold a conversation during a game, get involved in the passion and stamp your feet in the grandstand at the right moments.
- Rugby Speak: The essential Kiwi guide (Justin Brown). With the help of this book you will be able to yell instructions with the best of them. "Drive", "Support" and "hospital pass" will all be explained, as well as "Smash em" in several different languages.
- Having a Ball: A cartoon history of New Zealand rugby (Ian F. Grant). This small volume looks at the All Blacks triumphs and disasters. From our award winning cartoonists the entries are funny, perceptive and often too close to the truth in a way that only these commentators can manage.
- Four More Years (Graham Hutchins). Rugby World Cup trivia gathered just in time for the latest instalment. Great for the quiz buffs, and like the first entries, easy to pick up and put down.
- All Blacks Don't Cry (John Kirwan). It's the Japan vs All Blacks game tonight so it is appropriate to include this book by one of our best ever wingers, who is now the coach of the Brave Blossoms (that's the Japanese rugby team). This is not strictly a rugby book but a story of the player's battle with depression and some tips on how he fought it. His earlier autobiography Running on Instinct also touches on this battle but goes into much more detail about his rugby career.
- The All Blackography: the indispensible guide to every All Black (Ron Palenski editor). From Ali Williams to Zinzan Brooke and everyone inbetween who has worn the Black jersey. Whether it was one game or many, they are all in here from the very beginnings of All Black history.
If you want to hunt out more on All Black history, try a subject search for All Blacks
If you are looking for a biography on a certain player it gets a little more difficult. Try Rugby Union Football Players and then choose your country.
Personally this weekend, I am looking for wins by the All Blacks (of course) and my second team Samoa over Wales. It would be great if Ireland could get up over Australia and I don't think they will be lacking support in the stands - that will be a great game. Have a great and safe weekend everyone.