The beacon which signifies the end of January arrives this weekend, bringing the country together to drink all day and provide a legitimate excuse to paint your face. It’s the 6 Nations.
When you pass a pub on a Saturday (and one irritating Sunday) throughout this time, you’ll be met with the groans and cheers of large groups of experts, who know everything there is to know about top level rugby – so being there can be quite intimidating, especially if you’re just there to get pissed.
To help you out, we’ve compiled a handy guide to make you sound as rugby savvy as big Jim from the rugby club who’s claim to fames include speaking to Ieuan Evans once and buying a carpet from Colin Charvis.
Before kick-off, you’ll probably find yourself embroiled in conversation about the potential outcome of the game. Fortunately you can choose one of any vague statements to make you sound like you know what you’re on about:
When asked if you think Wales will win, you can say:
“I think it’ll be tight, I mean there’s no such thing as an easy game anymore. Even the Italians can give you a game nowadays.”
“I’ve got money on Wales to win by 10 and Wales to lose by 10.”
“Could be just a kick in this one, hope Leigh’s got his kicking boots on (laugh uncontrollably).”
“I think this will either be won by the forwards or the backs.”
During the game:
The game is divided into two halves of 40 minutes; usually the commentary is fairly incoherent so you can start to get away with a bit more abuse at this stage. The second half in particular is usually a free for all, because everyone’s really drunk and just shouting.
Here’s what to say:
When a Welsh player is tackled, you can just shout: “Offside! He’s offside mun!” No one will disagree.
When a Welsh player makes a mistake, simply yell: “Get ‘im off.” Do it early, because that’s what everyone will shout, then you’ll have lots of approving looks.
When a Welsh player catches the ball: “What a season he’s having, his handling errors are non-existent.” Chances are the player doesn’t drop the ball too much, because he’s a professional rugby player.
“Get it out mun.”
Regardless of score, excitement levels will be high, people will be a bit pissed and even if Wales are losing by a huge amount, everyone will tragically still have hope.
Here the conversation starts to become a little more tactical. You may be a few Strongbow Dark Fruits in right now, so you’ll need to work hard to remember these useful one-liners:
“Anything can change now, if history teaches us anything, it’s that anything can change in the second half.”
“It’s been an OK performance up front; I’ve seen better and I’ve seen worse.”
“We need some more of that free flowing running rugby in the second half, or more territory.”
“We could use Shane Williams now couldn’t we?”
After the game:
At this point everything has gone to shit, so it becomes a little straighter forward. If Wales have won, then you have the ability to just rejoice and bask in the tremendous effort you’ve put in to make it this far.
If Wales have lost, you just need to criticise the coaches and talk about all the times we beat England.
Always remember that regardless of your gender or sexuality, it’s absolutely fine to have feelings towards Leigh Halfpenny.
Good luck, and don’t forget your dignity.
photo credit: charmingman <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/97781784@N00/295251519″>Wales 38 – 20 Pacific Islands</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>