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Top five rugby words for the uninitiated

By
Samantha Baines
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London is about to be taken over by the muscliest of sports with the least fashionable headgear: yes, rugby. TV screens in all of your favourite haunts in the capital and across the UK will be dedicated to square shaped men running around on grass with a large grey lemon. As a nation, this is something we are actually alright at so to avoid embarrassment at your local public house here are some words you should get to grips with pronto.

1. Scrum

No, it's not what you call that delicious gluten-free brownie or a collective term for several scrotum. Is there a collective term for several scrotum? Scroti? Or Scrotumni? That just sounds like the prequel to The Da Vinci Code. Back to rugby. Scrum is short for scrummage, obviously, and it's a way of restarting play. The scrum is that bit when the players create an igloo out of their own bodies while holding each other's bottoms. However don't expect an Inuit to pop out for a spot of fishing, the only thing this fleshy igloo houses is balls and it's the rugby ball that's the important one here.

2. Try

Presumably named because of the amount of effort and perfectly good ears that rugby players have put into the sport. A try is a way of scoring points in rugby and what do points mean? Hugging strangers. A try is scored by grounding the ball in the goal area. That's right - 'grounding the ball'. But there's no need to stimulate your root chakras or drink green tea. To ground a rugby ball, you just tap it on the floor. That sounds much more straightforward.

3. Hooker

I know what you are thinking and, errr no, Captain Hook doesn't play rugby. The hooker is usually the player in the number nine jersey. Indeed, jerseys all-round and no high-heeled boots in sight. The hooker is forward - aren't they always? - and is positioned at the front of the scrum, which we know all about. The name 'hooker' comes from the action of 'hooking' the ball back with the foot. For extra confusion the hooker can also be called the rake. Thus the phrase 'that hooker was a bit of a rake' is applicable for both rugby and street corners.

4. Ruck

Don't get stuck in a ruck: seriously, it's quite an aggressive move. A ruck is a lot like watching a couple in Strictly Come Dancing when each partner is trying to keep their groin as far away from the other as possible, although with considerably fewer sequins, more pushing and a ball being kicked about between them. Also, all players involved in a ruck must keep their heads and shoulders higher than their hips, otherwise it just becomes yoga. See, a ruck really isn't something you'd want to get stuck in although we'd all love to see Anton DuBeke attempt one.

5. Sin bin

Alas, Sin bin is not Sinbad the Sailor's trashy best friend: 'oh Sin Bin and Sin Bad, Bin and Bad for short, that inseparable twosome who sail the seas looking for adventure'. No, sin bin is not anyone's best friend - it's actually a punishment. It's the bench where players, who have received a yellow card, are made to sit out of the game for ten minutes, while all their friends are having fun without them. It gives said player time to reflect on the sporting sins they have committed. Indeed, sin bin is basically a cross between confession and the naughty step for muscular adults.

So, get rucking around our lovely capital you big hooker and don't forget to avoid the sin bin.

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