Friday evening, Andrew and I drove to town (Thames), to the Junction Hotel bar to watch the Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony and the first game, between the New Zealand All Blacks and Tonga. It was the first time I’ve watched a rugby game, and Andrew was quite good at explaining the game to me. Rugby is fun to watch.
The Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony was amazing. The field was made into a large projection screen, so that all kinds of effects could be displayed on it. And then the performers were able to do their story with all the effects going on. For instance, at one point, the boy who was running with the ball was able to make a try (which is basically a “goal” in rugby) without moving close to the huge players lined up against him, because the try line actually bent close to the boy. Until that happened, I thought the lines were actually on the field itself.
The game was fun to watch, especially since our team was doing so well. Rugby is vastly different from American football or soccer. I had always thought rugby was sort of a combination between the two, but it is not. In rugby, players can carry the ball forward or kick the ball forward, but they cannot pass the ball forward. To pass the ball, the players have to pass the ball backward, away from the try line (goal line). When a player is tackled, the opposite team can only grab the ball if it is lost forward or uncontrolled. If the player places the ball behind himself, the opposing team cannot grab it but can immediately tackle the player who picks it up. The tackled player can pass the ball back down along his body to others on his team, and the ball can actually sit there on the field with no one bothering to grab it, and still the other team cannot take the ball. As I said, it is a fun game to watch.
At half time, the score was 30 to 5, New Zealand All Blacks in the lead. We left the bar and headed home at that point, because we had other things to do and still had to get up early Saturday. The final score was New Zealand All Blacks 41 to Tonga’s 10.