25 Nov 2011

An incredible game of rugby, and 2 sides to a penny

Last weekend in Europe were played a series of rugby games counting for the European Cup between club teams playing in the 6 major rugby nations of Europe. This is not, by the way a "latest news" story, as the results have been known for 5 days now. I just wanted to focus on one of these games as it illustrated several things that makes rugby such a magnificent sport to me: the ultimate and defining unpredictability of its results, and the role of courage and determination and not "giving up".

The game between the "other" Paris team, Racing-Metro (I happen to be a long-time supporter of Stade Français Paris) and Edinburgh was played on the ground of the home team, Edinburgh. On the paper, Racing were favourites, despite playing away. Their budget must be at least 3 or 4 times that of Edinburgh, and they are loaded with international stars, such as the famed Sebastien Chabal, alias "caveman" (see left).

Despite the odds being clearly against it, Edinburgh, whose team it should be said contains quite a few Scottish Internationals and has often produced good games in this competition, were leading by an impressive 17-3 after a mere 8 minutes of play. Then Racing got into their game, and, before half-time, scored 28 points to 3 for their opponents. So we have a score of 20-31 in favour of the visitors at the mid-term of the game. The second half saw Edinbugh score another 28 points to 16 for Racing, beating them at the post by a single point on the final score of 48-47.

The hard-to stop Edinburgh winger, Tom Visser

I unhappily did not see this game as no French TV crew saw fit to go and film it, but by all accounts it is likely to remain in the memories of the lucky few who were there as the heart-stopper of the season. And a perfect lesson of the old adage: a game of rugby is never finished until the final whistle is blown.

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