Pilsner Urquell

Friday, December 22, 2006

 

The Faces of DARC Rugby

Check out the Roster page for all the fresh faces (and some of the not-so-fresh, too).

Monday, December 18, 2006

 

Christmas Cheer

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Christmas party on Saturday. Bear did a great job getting everything organized and everyone enjoyed a nice, prime rib dinner. We were also treated to a visit from the three wise men of rugby; Frank Erck, JoseB, and Martin who arrived feeling no pain. Jose even arrived with a woman, which offset that lunchbox he was carrying.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

 

Christmas Party Reminder

First off, just a reminder that practice this week is at Carpenter Park in Plano. The high school had really good numbers last week but we were very light. Let's make a good impression and show up in force.

Now, to the good stuff. This Saturday is the DARC Christmas party at the Tipp. Festivities get started at 7pm; cost is $15 per person. This does not include the tip for services, so be a gentleman and bring more than $15 in cash. As a special treat, the Tipperary Inn has worked a deal and will be serving prime rib filets. Hope to see you there, and be sure to let them know how much we appreciate their sponsorship.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

 

Take Your Thong Off Your Foot!

Our man in Lu'ville, George, passes along the Australian Haka:

Now Just The Ladies...


Blondie, author of Saturday's A Rugby Day, posted the Black Fern's Haka performed at the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup. The Black Ferns are the New Zealand women's national team. I have to say there's a lot more precision teamwork in that than I've seen from any rugby club of any gender in a long time, with the possible exception of the synchronized [CENSORED BY FEST AUTHORITY] performed by the Calgary Hornets at last year's Maggotfest.

Blondie did a much better job of following up on the Rugby Postpones Coup in Fiji story, so I put her blog in the new list of links on the right. Hop over there for more info on that story, and others, such as a recent discussion sparked by the NY Press about whether Rugby is a Sport or not.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

 

Redefining Rugby

In South Africa, Stellenbosch University students are playing rugby with experimental new laws. The BBC reports about it here.

The major changes:
  • Downgrading most penalty offences to free-kicks (sounds like our first game at the San Antonio Day of the Dead tourney a year ago - 4 scrums in the first half, a bazillion free kicks).
  • Allowing handling in the ruck
  • Backs must be 5m behind rear foot at scrum
  • Removing corner flags
  • Permitting defending teams to collapse rolling maul
  • Ball cannot be passed back into 22 and kicked out on the full
Note for those not reading closely: These are experimental laws that are NOT being implemented any time soon.

A nice quote from IRB committee member Bill Nolan:
"The days of props wandering from one scrum to the next and doing very little else are coming to an end."
While Mr. Nolan has a point, I believe that New Zealand team made that point nearly 100 years ago. The name "All Blacks" was adopted by the New Zealand team after an international miscommunication. An English reporter in the land of the long white cloud sent a message describing the play of the kiwis as "all backs," implying that even the forwards were constantly running and moving, rather than grazing until the backs moved the ball back to the forwards). This was mis-transmitted or mis-received as "all blacks," (which at the time would probably have been taken to mean "all maori", i.e., no whites on the team). One need only have ever seen the play of NZ front-rower Sean Fitzpatrick (hooker and captain) to realize that very active tight-5 players can dramatically increase the tempo of the game .

What is clear is that teams with props that can run and hit hard for 80 solid minutes make a huge impact on a team's performance. While props who tend to graze mean your backs had better be very good, else the opponent will have a tempting weak spot to hit with counter-attacks.

Will changing the rules improve the play? Of course not.

Simplifying rules is laudable goal. But changing the fundamentals of the game? I'm not so sure. I think one problem with rugby union is that it has been too willing to change the laws every year. When I started playing this game, a try was worth 4 points, and lifting in the line outs was fairy tale. One of the complaints mentioned in the article is that it is difficult to explain the rules to newcomers. Ya think? If someone doesn't pay attention to the game for a few years, the laws will change so much that the game may not be recognizable in many ways. I know when I came back after a 4 year absence, I needed to be educated on new laws - had I been in playing shape, I would have been responsible for a very large number of penalties.

Lifting in the lineouts, unintentional offsides, the value of a try, the cadence of the scrum's engage..all these things and more have changed in recent memory. How about you stop changing the damn laws so much so that a law book from 1996 is still accurate in 2006?

It sounds to me like there is a lot of pressure to make the game more popular commercially. A pox on the game! I hate to sound like the old guy (and I'm not that old) but when I started, there was NO SUCH THING AS PROFESSIONAL RUGBY! Sure, some big guns on some of the stellar national teams had No Show or Sweetheart jobs that let them commit to training nearly full time, but that's par for the course in just about anything. Part of the appeal/romance of rugby was that it was a global purely amateur sport with an amazing camaraderie of opponents that was a vital element of the sport.

Rugby Union will never be as popular as football (soccer). Curling will never be as popular as Rugby Union. (And come to think of it, why the hell isn't Rugby Union in the Olympics anymore? I know only a few teams entered way back when the US managed to win the gold medal - out of the 4 teams that played I think - but come on: International.Team.Sport. Same for footy. I watch the FIFA World Cup - I'd watch Olympic footy.)

You live with the circumstances of the game that wound itself into your DNA. You don't corrupt your DNA to make other people like it more. Part of rugby is not caring what other people think, particularly in America. No matter how good you are a rugby here, you are never going to make the news. No one who is not in your family or circle of friends and associates will ever know what you accomplish or even understand what the hell it is you do every Saturday. The vast majority of Americans think rugby is 'Tackle the Man with the Ball' but with uniforms.

You have to enjoy the game for the game! Find the joy in making a perfect pass, a sweet tackle, a well-timed snap shove in the scrum, a clean ruck of blinding speed, snatching the ball off the deck on the run without knocking it on, even just getting to the right position to defend a potential kick or convince a smart opponent runner that there isn't actually any space where you are. Enjoy the million little things that go into a rugby game that you can effect. If you play this game (in America anyway) for anything other than what happens within the 80 minutes between the white lines, you're playing the wrong game.

My first impression is that these experimental rules and the IRB may be playing the wrong game.

Friday, December 08, 2006

 

Busy Time of Year

There is a lot of stuff going on with the club right now. Last night was the first practice for the Plano High team. They had really good numbers. Unfortunately, we didn't. There were only about 8 of us that braved the cold. Many thanks to those that did make it out and helped at practice. Right now, the high school team is working on fundamentals, something we can alway stand to reinforce. That's my way of telling you to drag your butt off the couch and come out to practice next Thursday. We will be training at Carpenter Park again, at least that is the plan right now, located just north of Spring Creek on Coit in Plano.

The Christmas party is next Saturday, December 16th, 7pm at the Tipp. Cost is $15 per person; this buys your dinner and beer. The menu is your choice of Sheperd's Pie or Chicken Breast Curry. Please let me know if you will be able to attend and have not done so already.

On New Year's Eve, the Tipp is having a big party and we have been invited. The southern rock band Ashmore will be playing. The Tipp has been a really good sponsor so if you can make it down for the party, please do so.

Monday, December 04, 2006

 

Thursday Practice

We are practicing this Thursday and next week as well. Weather looks to be a little cool. Perfect for rugby. The high schoolers will be out and Frank had 30 this weekend who are ready to go. Lots of numbers means lots of good stuff can get done at practice. So, everyone needs to show up and get off to a good start with the youngsters.

We are practicing at the big field on the SE corner of Legacy and Custer. There's a big parking lot right next to the field. The light tower will be there. So, let's get out there ready to go by 6:45.
 

If Bash can do it, so can you

I NEED DUES!!!!

It's time to renew our CIPP memberships for 2007. That's $55 a player. This is what your dues are for. If you haven't paid, your asking the club to cover you. We're not a bank and it's not fair to those that have paid. Bash came out Saturday and paid the majority of his dues. No excuses for the rest of you. Either PayPal or get me your money. We're practicing Thursday. At least, bring $55 to cover your CIPP.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

 

Ox Comes Out, Diablos Score, Meskunas Carded

About a dozen DARC members made it out to watch the Diablos host Denton.

Denton player, and frequent flirter with DARC, OX CAME OUT (of the game late in the first half) after scoring a try.

Although, Denton was running the score up, the Diablos scored in the second half with a kick from about 10 meters out, to the disappointment of the crowd who thought they had a chance at a try.

From there, the DARC crew went to the Tipp for beer and food. A couple of us stopped by Glencoe briefly to see former DARC 8-man Luby play in the Quins v. Huns 2nd side match, but we couldn't see him on the pitch until we looked down the back line. Luby at Outside Center? WTF? I didn't stay long, and the Quins seemed to be scoring on every drive - but Luby wasn't getting enough ball at all. But you could tell he wanted it. He was running all over the field like an eager puppy trying to find a way to get the ball. He did have a very nice run to the weakside that set up a try for the Quins.

Ka-Kaw! Meskunas is a licensed Texas attorney! Ka-Kaw!

Friday, December 01, 2006

 

Social Reminder

When: Saturday, December 2nd, 2006
Where: Lake Highlands Field/Tipperary Inn
Time: Women's game - 12:00 pm
Denton vs Diablos - 2:00 pm
Beer - 4:00 pm

Be there!
 

Hoodie inventory update

We've had some take advantage of PayPal to get their hoodie, so here's what is still available.

2 -M
3 - L
3 - XL

XXL and XXXL are sold out.

All the crews are available.

So, for the big forwards, get those skinny backs to buy the smaller stuff and we can get another batch order in quickly.