“He’s Taken A Knock In His Undercarriage”


This afternoon rugby’s autumn internationals began. On television I watched Scotland v Samoa; Wales v Australia; and the highlights of England v Argentina. I made a few photographs direct from the screen, cropping out the score lines from the top left hand corners in order not to reveal the results to anyone who has recorded the matches.

Scotland v Samoa 1

Here, in the first match, a player who has been tackled attempts to release the ball;

Scotland v Samoa 2

this time it has been released.

Scotland v Samoa 4

Here the chase is on,

Scotland v Samoa 5

ending with a tussle on the touchline.

Scotland v Samoa 6

Wales v Australia 6

Certain infringements result in the setting of scrums where the opposing two sets of eight forwards bind onto each other pushing for possession of the ball tossed between them by the scrum half, here standing poised;

Scotland v Samoa 11

and here placing the ball into the mÊlÃĐe.

Scotland v Samoa 9

There are strict rules of engagement determining how the teams pack down, demanding a pause at each stage.

Scotland v Samoa 7

Sometimes loose scrums form in play. The ball is then sent back to one’s own side.

Wales v Australia 7

It is the scrum half’s job to pick it up and pass it back along the line of players.

England v Argentina 6

This is how the teams position themselves when there has been a scrum wrestling over possession.

Scotland v Samoa 10

Tries are scored when the ball is grounded

England v Argentina 7

across the opposing goal line.

Scotland v Samoa 17

Sometimes it is reasonably clear that that has happened;

Scotland v Samoa 8

at others it is rather less than apparent.

Scotland v Samoa 13

The man on the ground, having been scragged, has managed here to pass the ball to a team member who is heading for the try, or goal, line. The referee, in order to keep up with the game, is in hot pursuit.

Scotland v Samoa 18

A try is worth five points. Two more may be added by placing the ball on a tee

Scotland v Samoa 14

and kicking it

Scotland v Samoa 15

between the goal posts above the cross bar to perform a conversion.

Scotland v Samoa (Finn Russell)

Careful concentration is required

Wales v Australia 1 (Leigh Halfpenny)

from the specialists who perform this task.

Scotland v Samoa 12

Instructions are periodically mouthed from behind the ball in order to prevent lip-reading.

Scotland v Samoa 19

Team mates generally attempt to pound along in support of those with

England v Argentina 4

or chasing the ball.

Scotland v Samoa 20

Occasionally one man will get clean away

Wales v Australia 9

on his own;

England v Argentina 5

or have a cluster of opposition players between him and his support.

Wales v Australia 2

Hands and feet compete with each other over the ball.

Wales v Australia 3

When the ball has been kicked into touch, or out of play, the two sets of forwards line up alongside each other, it is then thrown between them and caught by one of the players who may be lifted to aid his jump.

Wales v Australia 4

When spectators spot themselves on the large television screen at the ground, they generally attempt to catch the attention of their friends at home.

Wales v Australia 8

Others check out their own photographs on their mobile devices.

Scotland v Samoa 16

It is quite usual for medical attention to be required. Injuries may be comparatively slight;

Wales v Australia 10

if a player is bleeding he must leave the field to be stitched up and/or bandaged, and may be temporarily replaced by ‘a blood replacement’.

Wales v Australia 5

Medics may step onto the field to assess damage and offer assistance. When this gentleman took a break, the commentator offered the opinion that he had “taken a knock in his undercarriage”.

Wales v Australia 11

The opposing players may be tackled by wrapping arms around them as you charge into them.

England v Argentina 3

This cannot be above shoulder height.

England v Argentina 1

It is not permitted to tackle a player in the air;

England v Argentina 2

and if you up-end him you are responsible for his landing safely.

For those unfamiliar with our more civilised national game, I hope this has made it a little more comprehensible.

This evening Jackie and I dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away with which I drank more of the malbec.



  1. Wow – very interesting – I didn’t realize how close rugby is to our beloved football. For some reason, I thought it was more like tackle soccer with a round ball. Oh, and by the way – GO E.A.G.L.E.S. !

    1. It has no resemblance to American gridiron for one instance. You may have noticed the absence of body armour and also that they play 80 minutes of Rugby over a period of 90 minutes whereas the gridiron is 4 quarters of 15 minutes each, stretched over 3 or more hours. There is no comparison between the games. In gridiron one man throws the ball forward in Rugby ALL men throw the ball back!

  2. Those are surprisingly crisp shots taken off the TV. You must have a particularly high definition set. We have an intensely physical game called kabaddi here where both nimbleness and brute force come into play. I used to be a particularly slippery contender being a featherweight bird and was rather popular for it till I received a mighty shove in my ‘undercarriage’ that sent me flying in the air. I was grounded for about a month and never set a foot in the arena again. Rugby is a bit of a mixture between football and kabaddi. Thanks for the enlightenment.

      1. I suspect the latent injury in connivance with a vicious fall while trying to board a suburban train in 2005 has started revisiting me in recent years manifesting in lower back pain.

  3. The gentle sport, or the sport of gentle men?? Why do the fellows who carry the ball so often hurl themselves on the ground and slide across the scoring line? I’m glad I don’t have to launder their uniforms, nor put iodine on their gravel rash!

    1. The phrase is ‘Rugby is a ruffians game for gentlemen; Soccer a gentlemen’s game for ruffians’. During the only soccer game I ever played, one of our side’s son called out to his father: ‘Try and get dirty, Daddy’. Perhaps that’s the reason for the slide. Thank, Yvonne

  4. Got to give you fellas credit for playing such a rough sport. I still don’t understand the rules, but I appreciate the action. In some of our American football games, there are so many penalties, I think they might as well put the guys in a tutu and call it a day!!

  5. I think that these international series are often worth more that all the UN meetings. And a World Series of any international sport makes a mockery of one nation calling it’s internal competitions a “World Series” But I suppose there is none so blind as the nation that will not see.
    A brilliant series of photographs.

    1. An explanation of the World Series when you think of Baseball, of which I’m a keen fan. Back at the end of the 19th start of the 20th centuries Baseball was very popular in AUSTRALIA and still is, there are more players young and old registered for Baseball than Cricket, I believe the American gold miners to Ballarat played baseball which started the craze here.
      Anyway back to the turn of the centuries a proposal from the US for Australia to take part in a series of Baseball with Canada and the US was proposed, however the MCC at Lords frowned on the idea so it was abandoned and left to the Yanks and Canucks.
      My son played Baseball and I had a coaching permit for the T Ballers and junior Base baller’s.
      And believe it or not every game had a result and didnt take 5 days for a non result! 😈

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