“Football is a Gentleman’s game played by thugs, Rugby is a thugs game played by Gentleman”
This weekend both England’s national teams in Rugby and Football took to the stage and their approach couldn’t have been more different.
I have said for a few years now that I would rather watch International Rugby over International Football and this weekend really cemented that belief. Friday, England took on Chile in what was only a friendly but I was shocked by the lack of passion, commitment and pride shown by the players representing our national team, especially those earning their first caps for their country.
Saturday saw England’s national Rugby team take on the Juggernauts that are New Zealand and their approach couldn’t have been more different. Committing everything, playing with their hearts on their sleeves, looking down and out but coming back to set up a thrilling contest which left me proud even in defeat. Why? Because they looked genuinely proud to represent their country and knew what it meant to wear the shirt. You only need to look at the difference between the National Anthems. Rugby, players arms are linked chests puffed out, belting out God Save the Queen as if it were the last thing they would sing. Football, arms by their sides, shoulders slumped looking as if they would rather be anywhere else than there.
The lesson? Play with pride, passion, respect and hunger and your countrymen and women will love you for it no matter the result.
“Play for the name on the front of the shirt, and they’ll remember the name on the back.”
– Tony Adams