World Cup Fever – the Real Game

Itoje.jpgIf anyone is in any doubt that rugby is a smarter game than football, look at Mario Itoje.

He is a second row forward for England. His job is to put his head between the sweating buttocks of a hooker and a prop, and push. And to jump in the lineout. And, if he can, to make a yard or so every time he gets the ball, before being tackled to the ground.

Mario Itoje does all of these things, excellently well, and more. He is 6 ‘ 5”, which helps. And clearly very strong indeed.

He is also a very talented athlete.  Ant yet more, he was educated at Harrow, and got 3 A grades at A level. Well, yes, I hear you say, A grades are not what they used to be. Grade inflation has devalued the brand. Even so: how many football players have A levels at all, let alone at A grade?

It is all counterintuitive, you might think. Rugby looks such a physical game. And yet, it is a game of considerable complexity. Mere muscle always loses out to muscle + a highly discipled intellectual approach. Unlike American football, where only one or two players with brains are required, the modern game of rugby requires smart thinking from all 15 players.

The Japanese have fallen in love with rugby. England have defeated Australia in the ¼ final and New Zealand in the ½ final. The Japanese love the English. The English love Itoje. England are in the final. The Remoaners can go fuck themselves.

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