Posted by George Morrison

Rugby                               Word on the Week                     16th September 2023.

In case there is someone who doesn’t know, the Rugby World Cup has got under way.   This is a world-wide event with Ireland lining out against Tonga tonight.   All games are being played in French Stadiums.    These are located in various cities culminating in the final in Paris on Saturday 28th October.

The game was invented, so the legend has it, in the playing fields of Rugby school, England, when a player picked up the ball and ran with it!  A couple of years later in 1846 the students wrote down some laws which, with few changes, continue to this day.

The major rule prohibits passing forward which, in itself, requires considerable discipline.   I recall a friend from overseas, who was new to the game, marvelling that in order to progress forward you had to pass the ball back!  He was quite astonished that such an illogical game could have been invented!

Over the years the game has become faster and the players heavier.  It is said that a Mother’s heart misses a beat when her 7-year-old son announces “Ma, I am going to play rugby!”   However, the first few years it is touch rugby – a modified version of the game that is played, which is less likely to cause injury.

In fact, there has been a crackdown on cases of head injury in recent times.  We now have a mandatory sending off for examination by the medical staff.   They carry out a Head Injury Assessment (HIA).   The rules vary between Rugby Associations but GRTP (Graduated Return To Play) is strongly enforced.

Rugby is very much a team game.   Players rely on each other to assist them!   To do this team members must turn up extra fast and without hesitation join in the fray.   To play well one player must have faith in the other to be there when he is needed!    You should see what this looks like if you tune in at 8.00 pm tonight!

Since we are in France I was reading one of my favourite Frenchman’s works.   He is Blaise Pascal the scientist from the 17th century.   His sensational conversion experience took place when he was age 31.   For his remaining few years he devoted himself to Christian writing including this analysis of faith.

He wrote with astounding clarity, “in faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.’ Blaise Pascal.

Or as Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.   Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (St John 8 verse 12).

Christian faith is itself a gift from God (Ephesians 2 verse 8).