Six Nations – A Call to Arms

With another big Six Nations weekend on the horizon, I challenge you to read this poem and not feel motivated to cheer on your nation with that extra decibel of gusto.

When the battle scars have faded
And the truth becomes a lie
And 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

Have a good hard look old son!
The melon’s not that great
The snoz that takes a sharp turn sideways
Used to be dead straight

You’re an advert for arthritis
You’re a thoroughbred gone lame
Then you ask yourself the question
Why the hell you played the game?

Was there logic in the head knocks?
In the corks and in the cuts?
Did common sense get pushed aside?
By manliness and guts?

Do you sometimes sit and wonder
Why your time would often pass
In a tangled mess of bodies
With your head up someone’s arse?

With a thumb hooked up your nostril
Scratching gently on your brain
And an overgrown Neanderthal
Rejoicing in your pain!

Mate – you must recall the jersey
That was shredded into rags
Then the soothing sting of Dettol
On a back engraved with tags!

It’s almost worth admitting
Though with some degree of shame
That your wife was right in asking
Why the hell you played the game?

Why you’d always rock home legless
Like a cow on roller skates
After drinking at the clubhouse
With your low down drunken mates

Then you’d wake up – check your wallet
Not a solitary coin
Drink Berocca by the bucket
Throw an ice pack on your groin

Copping Sunday morning sermons
About boozers being losers
While you limped like Quazimoto
With a half a thousand bruises!

Yes – an urge to hug the porcelain
And curse sambucca’s name
Would always pose the question
Why the hell you played the game!

And yet with every wound re-opened
As you grimly reminisce it
Comes the most compelling feeling yet
God, you bloody miss it!

From the first time that you laced a boot
And tightened every stud
That virus known as ‘rugby’
Has been living in your blood

When you dreamt it; when you played it
All the rest took second fiddle
Now you’re standing on the sideline
But your heart’s still in the middle

And no matter where you travel
You can take it as expected
There will always be a breed of people
Hopelessly infected

If there’s a teammate, then you’ll find him
Like a gravitating force
With a common understanding
And a beer or three, of course

And as you stand there telling lies
Like it was yesterday old friend
You’ll know that if you had the chance
You’d do it all again

You see – that is 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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Run out with ROBINSON?! #raise4matt

Yes you read that right! How would you like your child to have the chance to run out alongside Jason Robinson at Welford Road?

One of the auction lots for #raise4matt that has kindly been donated by The Matt Hampson Foundation is to make that very dream a reality! On the 21st of April two star-studded sides take to the pitch at Welford Road. The sides are already made up of legends such as Robinson, Betson, Freddie Tuilagi and MArtin Johnson and with more and more household names set to join them.

At the #Raise4Matt auction you have the chance to bid on a package that would see your child run out as the mascot on the day in front of what is set to be a big crown at Fortress Welford. as a rugby loving parent what could actually make you prouder than seeing your next generation run out with the heroes of ours. The package will also include tickets to the game for a select few and potentially a non catered box if we can make arrangements in time so you can really watch one of your proudest moments in style.

Below you will find details to the game.

http://www.matthampson.co.uk/news/news-69.html 

This lot will be taking bids in advance of the auction in order to allow as many people as possible the chance to bid on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Do not let this pass you by folks!

For all details on the auction and this amazing opportunity follow @raise4matt on Twitter or get in touch with Tori at raise4matt@gmail.com

www.justgiving.com/victoria-chipp1

#Raise4Matt

 

invite image

 

www.justgiving.com/victoria-chipp1

Please contact Victoria Chipp for details, you can also reach her on twitter @totti369. There will be a strict guestlist in operation on the evening and it is crucial that you express interest through the correct channels to guarantee entry.

 

Matt Hampson Auction March 2013

A message from Tori Chipp

I am running a BIG auction for The Matt Hampson Foundation in the lovely City of London (date provisionally Thursday March 21st) at the No 1 Sports Bar. There will be some amazing lots as well as some drinks and pro rugby players (new and old) attending. So where the help bit comes in, it would be amazing if you guys could spread the word with me. The event is going to be invite-only as I want rich people there who will spend a lot of money int he auction and donate on the night too.I am also looking for donations, it doesn’t have to be rugby associated, just auctionable, rugby based is obviously very cool with me though too. Any donation of this nature will result in an invite to the event so pop your thinking caps on and see what you can come up with.

Furthermore we will be needing some help designing the invites and a digital flyer for the event so anyone that can help with that side of things will be hot property and again will be invited to the event.
Should be a great event guys and I am already really looking forward to it please spread the word!

 

Please do drop me an email if you can help on rugbydiary@gmail.com

What a week for rugby events…

Written by Victoria Chipp

 

Well what a week for rugby it has been. The events off the pitch have been in full flow so we thought it would be great to bring you some news about what has been happening. Sorry to the guys not in London as this is where all the events have been.

We kicked off the week by attending The Rugby Business Networks event at The London Welsh centre on Monday. The primary focus on these events is to get business people who all have a passion for rugby to get together and gain useful contacts from other industries. Their events are put on for free and not just based in London but all over the UK and across the Globe. The guest of honour was Stephen Jones who was interviewed about all things rugby. He chatted through his very successful career from club rugby to playing for Wales and even his honours in a Lions jersey. He then gave the already hooked audience an insight to his plans for after rugby (plans which have already been set in motion). He has started up a restaurant in Wales that is already flooded with accolades and awards. Then came the networking part of the evening which for this event was informal and allowed for lots of people to mingle and potentially generate new business. For any queries about hosting your own event or attending the next one get in touch with Colm Hannon or Ian Kench via http://www.therugbybusinessnetwork.com/ .

Tuesday night was the VIP opening of The Pink Lion in Mayfair. Thomas Pink are one of the sponsors to the Lions Tour 2013 and to launch their Lions range they themed a pub and four themed evenings to celebrate. The newly named pub has not only has a rosy coloured makeover but is displaying the vast amount of official tour stash. Special guest Landlord Warren Gatland was in attendance as well as Lewis Moody, Josh Lewsey, Martin Bayfield and providing the food is Phil Vickery. Bayfield Is a huge fan of the attire but was only seen sporting the cufflinks, socks and tie. Little surprise he couldn’t find a shirt or suit to fit when the man is the size of a small mountain!

On Wednesday came the night of Halloween fun in the shape of Ugo Monye’s testimonial Ball. Also on at the Pink Lion was a Lions themed “Question of Sport” hosted by birthday boy Matt Dawson. The place was once again packed to the rafters with pros past and present with a real sense of eager anticipation building up to what should be a great Lions tour 2013. Ugo’s ball was hosted at The Grosvenor House Hotel and it was there you could find the other half of rugby’s big names enjoying a social. It was hosted by the lovely Mark Durden-Smith and from all accounts a great night was had by all.

Thursday was again another night to be back at the Pink Lion. Thomas Pink this time were putting on a pub lock-in, hosted by Ben Kay and Roger Uttley. First Roger came to the stage and reminisced about the good days on amateur rugby. He recalled having to take a 3 month absence of leave from teaching to head over to the other side of the world and play 22 games in three months losing none and only drawing the once. It seemed like a different world imagining having to communicate via air mail and at about a 10 day delay, for the guys with families that must have been particularly tough. Roger was engaging and to the point which left most of the room dreaming about leaving the screaming babies and wives at home for a couple of months to go on a lads trip for the Lions! Next came Ben Kay, who immediately had the room belly laughing! He was light-hearted and endearing and gave account of some truly amazing stories from his rugby career. He made sure we all had a good laugh at Lewis Moody and Austin Healey’s expense.

 Then there is tonight. The Pink Lion are running screening of past Lions games to finish off their Launch week. However the best event to be part of tonight is Lawrence Dallaglio’s 8Rocks ball at Battersea Evolution. The event is renowned for being star-studded and raises a lot of money for the Lawrence Dallaglio foundation which supports cancer research and youth development. If you can’t be involved in this spectacular event this evening you should head over to their website and see what you can do to support such a fabulous cause. http://www.dallagliofoundation.com/

 

Crikey with all this going on and not to mention the boys starting Movemeber, I’m not sure I’m going to have enough energy left in the tank to go wild for the actual rugby games this weekend.

The Harsh Reality of Retirement

Now I am going to be brutally honest when I first started getting into rugby it was all about the youngsters, the showmen and of course the delectable bodies of said athletes. Then came the passion for the community, the driving force behind the game and what it really meant to all involved whether it be a fan, player, coach or the neutral that tags along to any game because they love the sport. But recently my head has been turned to what happens to the professionals once their playing careers are over.

For some it is something they can work up to, re skill and make a smooth transition into city life. For others the news is much less expected and therefore much harder to prepare for. Imagine if you will the stark reality that sometimes you are just no longer of any actual value to the organisation that pays you, and so like in many other businesses cuts are made. However in this instance it’s much harder to find a similar role where you might thrive. If rugby is all you have been doing since you left school and whether due to age or injury it is something that you can no longer do well, you may find your self in a position where there are very few options.

The more charismatic among the players may find an easy transition into the world of commentating, writing, internal club affairs or taking a step over the other side of the touch-line and becoming an agent. The more technically astute will usually become coaches and pass on their expertise. However what if you haven’t got these opportunities because lets face facts there are a lot more rugby players out there than there are Ben Kays and Austin Healeys. The other working life in business can be a very daunting place post playing career for those who have never done anything of its nature. The point in question was really first highlighted to me by Duncan Bell. He was so candid about his sudden retirement and the harsh realities of starting up his own business. The terrifying prospect that it may not all be ok in the end.

The harsh nature of this business often means there isn’t much support out there for these guys either. Of course there are the obvious places to go for advice your club, The RPA etc. But really where is the “hands on” advice and actual time that these players need hiding?

 I recently attended an event which was put on by an organisation called RUINN which is headed up by ex Saracen Hugh Vyvyan. It was a networking event that allowed city individuals in London to mix with some recently retired rugby players and see if there was anything they could do that would be mutually beneficial for each other. In attendance was Ben Woods who recently found himself out in the cold after a long-term wrist injury had ruled him out of professional sport. Having known Ben through my work at Tigers it was great to see him in a completely different environment. The networking event put him in touch with several lawyers (Ben is currently studying for his Law conversion GDL) and will fingers crossed allow him to foster relationships and work experience to make the next few years a lot easier.

My issue comes is for the boys who aren’t Cambridge graduates and haven’t got the foggiest idea what they want to do post playing career. I know there is a lot of support in clubs to help players realise what they want to do when they have finished playing but in my mind it is still nowhere near enough. Rugby clubs typically harbour great working relationships with a variety of sizes of businesses. I feel it is imperative that a player is rounded into more than a machine on the pitch but a person that can swiftly move into other areas of work when their time with the club is finished. That support network needs to be there at a very minimum so the skills needed can be developed over years as opposed to over a few weeks/months when a player gets thrown in at the deep end.

Furthermore more players need to be encouraged by their agents and clubs alike to get involved in this sort of networking events whether it is RUINN or The Rugby Business Network or The RPA. It needs to be considered valuable to the club which at a business only level it isn’t. It means players taking a few hours here and there to aid their own personal development and unless this translates into points during the game it isn’t going to draw in more fans and therefore more money. However niceties aside unless the clubs are going to pay the big bucks to set up a player for life, the players need to be set up for post playing life. I would go as far to argue that an agent should be an agent for the player’s life not just their most valuable time when they are on the field. Often by the time a player actually sees the value in these events it’s too late and they are searching for work with a barely there CV.

Arguably however it is also down to us as fans and friends. Keep a look out for those who are retiring or coming up to retirement and think if it could in any way add value to your organisation if they were to even just gain some experience with you. Rugby life is typically a well-connected industry and I think if we all looked at our companies or friends’ companies there would be a slot there that could offer those players the start to their non playing lives they need. You may think this sounds like a barbaric idea as players must have these sorts of offer thrown at them routinely but believe me they really don’t. Or even if this isn’t possible lets look at where we are spending our money. At The Stoop instead of heading for one of the chain stands head for Ollie Kohn’s Jolly Hog and Sausage. When looking at mortgage brokers go to Duncan Bell. Refer your friends to them lets help build their empire from the inside. Support the charities that supports them and eventually I hope we will see fewer players facing the harsh truth that often awaits them come retirement.

Stay tuned for news of upcoming events that you can attend!