Beyond the Game

When people go to a rugby game, most see about 46 people on a pitch, 23 a side, who look to hit, score, and beat their opposite, but what they don’t see is after game those same teams who look like they broke each other, are hugging and enjoying a drink and food with each other. But most importantly, they are doing what rugby players do best, and that is sing together.

Now they are not going back and singing any pop song or seeing who has the most beautiful voice, these songs have a history to them. They have been sung since the beginning stages of rugby, and they hold a special place in the sport.

Photo by Josh Jacobs

Singing in rugby provides a special bond among players that you won’t really find anywhere else. Whether it be in California or in Florida or in England, every song is the same, and that is what creates this connection across the world for everyone who plays.

Freedom Rugby Flanker and Hooker, Josh Jacobs, said he joined because he really enjoyed the parties that the team had, but he had no idea what he was in store for. Jacobs said that it is an experience that like no other.

“It is a shared experience with your teammates. It’s memories that you will not get anywhere else in life and they’re not going to mean the same”, he said.

He went onto say that his team would sing after every game in college, and singing carried into club. It was because of singing that he created bonds with his teammates who are now his best friends. Jacobs said that including newcomers in such events has helped keep them around because they feel a part of the team.

Dale Russell, coach of the University of Maine Orono, said that singing is unique to the game.

“I just played 80 minutes of rugby against this guy…and after we finished we’d go get some food and have some drinks and sing some songs together”, he said.

He went on to say that he had many good friends from other teams. They never played for the same team just against each other, but they created a bond together even though he is not in the same area.

Photo by Josh Jacobs

It is like a surprise for first time players. Coach Russell said that he tells new players to get through their first practice and game before deciding whether to stay or not, but what they do not know is what happens after the game.

“It is an added benefit to the sport”, Jacobs said.

To both players, they say it is events like this that create a brotherhood within rugby. Russell said that because of singing, players feel that fit in wherever they go. He went on to explain what a bond like that means for you in life.

“People move and travel, but if you live in town with a rugby team then you always have an instant set of friends.”