Wednesday Oct 6, 2021

Legendary poet pens beautiful ode to rugby with 'Why We Play the Game'

Australian author and poet Rupert McCall has perfectly encapsulated the powerful sway that rugby has held over the lives of so many in his poem titled: “Why We Play the Game.” It is beautifully stated and explains just why so many play this great game.


McCall has had quite a career. He left the law profession to become a full-time poet and has since delivered poems at the highest levels of public society.

He created this amazing poem last year. Needless to say, it hits home very well for those who have given blood, sweat, and tears for the game they love.

RELATED: Jesse Kriel reflects on what Sonny Bill Williams said to him after the 2015 RWC Semi-Final loss

One need only look at the recent Rugby Championship match between titanic rivals South Africa and New Zealand to see the character behind this poem personified.

Even though each team will go all out to destroy one other on the field, once the whistle goes, mutual respect is typically deepened for the experience.

Maybe that’s why a rugby fan’s favourite quote will always be: “Football is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, and Rugby is a hooligans’ game played by gentlemen.”

When the battle scars have faded

And the truth becomes a lie

When the weekend smell of liniment

Could almost make you cry…


When the last ruck’s well behind you

And the man that ran now walks

It doesn’t matter who you are

The mirror sometimes talks…


From the first time that you laced a boot

And tightened every stud

That virus known as ‘rugby’

Has been living in your blood


And as you stand there telling lies

Like it was yesterday old friend

You know that if you had the chance

You’d do it all again


You see – that’s the thing with rugby

It will always be the same

And that, I guarantee

Is why the hell you played the game!


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