Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Italian Job

Last weekend we went down to Italy for a friendly Touch Rugby Tournament. Camped out by a lake in Southan Austria on Friday night and then visited Venice on Saturday.

Venice is amazing and well worth a visit before it sinks. It is a city with no cars only boats and river traffic congestion, and tourists.

So after a day and a half of tourism we get to the Tournament on Sunday mid day but the German Touch Rugby refs have pulled out. So there were 2 Italian touch rugby teams that new the rules and one non playing Touch Ref. We were the Austro-Irish team consisting of some Vienna guys and 2 Irish guys. There were 20 Italian Rugby teams, Rugby Refs, and 6 fields to play the 15min long games on.

So we explained the rules to the stand in rugby refs and started to play. Now do not get me wrong Rugby is a great game and these guys were good at it and there were even 2 guys that play for or have played for Italy, BUT Touch Rugby rules have evolved from Rugby training into a new sport where fast team work by mixed teams have fun. The rythum and tactics are very different to Rugby.

So we were frustrated that we could not play properly because the Rugby players did not know the rules. They were constantly committing pentaties. The Rugby players got more and more aggressive because they were getting beaten by a bunch of whimps and girls.

At one point a Rugby player did an instinctive Rugby full body check on me. I was so angry, not because he was trying to knock me out but because it was like playing tennis and someone running off with your racket. So I was ready to take a swing at him when I was wisely told to clam down and let the ref handle it (which he did).

Note to self. Do not pick a fight with an angry rugby team.

Anyway needless to say it was not the best tournament. We had a great close game with one of the Italian touch side who luckily beat us, so we could get out of there and start the long drive back. Some of the other Vienna guys stepped in and did some reffing which was brave...

This is not the last time I go to Italy to do a touch tournament because I like Italy a lot and the 2 touch teams down there were great. However it is the last time I play touch against a rugby team as it is a waste of time. This is a shame because these rugby guys were very skillful and have some great moves, but it is like playing table tennis on a volleyball court, it just does not work, unless you can agree on some rules and play to them.

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