This weekend, my son’s college team are on tour in Lisbon at this Festival: http://www.portugalrugbyfestival.com/home.aspx
Boy was selected, but his inclusion in the squad was dubious after the fractured foot he sustained just before Christmas. Despite his attempts at maintaining his fitness, his coach made the decision to leave Boy at home and give his place to someone else.
Surprisingly, Boy was OK with this. His coach had explained fully that he was in competition with another lad who’d been injured for his place on the tour and when the news came that he wasn’t going, he accepted it. I didn’t have to deal with any stroppy behaviour, rants or huffs – Coach gave a clear explanation.
So today, I go onto the website for the tour to see what the fixtures the team have and I felt such an amazing jolt to my heart that this is where my Boy should be and he wasn’t and all because of a stupid fractured foot!
Because of this injury, Boy has missed out on a lot this season. I was upset for him and the frustrations he’s had, BUT – and here’s the point… Boy’s attitude has amazed me. He’s accepted his injury. He’s worked hard in the gym to maintain his fitness as best he can and accepted that maybe this isn’t his year.
For his first club match since injury, he actually told me he’d probably only play 15 minutes, so I shouldn’t bother going to see him play – yeah right! On the way to the match, he then told me he was going to play the whole game. And yes, he did. Kudos to Boy and his support at college, because even though he hadn’t played for 10 weeks, you wouldn’t have known it from his fitness levels – his match fitness did need work though.
I exchange tweets with a young man on Twitter, who’s five months into a nine month lay-off from rugby due to a serious leg injury. He made contact with me when I’d tweeted about Boy’s injury. This young man’s attitude is unfailingly positive; he misses playing – of course he does, but he’s well aware of the need to be patient and take the advice offered to him for his rehabilitation. He seemed genuinely pleased that Boy’s back on the pitch and continues to wish him well. Such a positive attitude and whilst he’s obviously receiving great support, it’s a measure of the man that he’s being as patient as he his.
My son has a great attitude; he loves his rugby, but too often, I forget that he’s not just a club player – his college course is based on rugby, so he’s doing something rugby related almost 6 days per week, so who can blame him for having a weekend off and spending time with friends that aren’t rugby-related?
Perhaps I need to learn from him? Balance is important in life, something that I often forget. I have a tough paid job, I have an unpaid role with the rugby club and obviously support my son and his team, wherever that may take us. BUT, as Boy announced this week he wants to move out in two years’ time (the current plan at any rate), perhaps it’s time for me to develop a more balanced lifestyle and look for interests outside the rugby community. Scary thought!
In the meantime, I’ll continue to support Boy and club and perhaps I’ll take up the offer of going to Silverstone in a few weeks’ time to watch motorsport with different friends – this all depends of course, on Boy’s fixtures!
Now – a word if I may about a couple of rugby incidences that have set social media alight in the last seven days; Courtney Lawes’ tackle on Jules Plisson and Nathan Hughes’ knee impact to George North’s head.
I have written previously about Lawes v Plisson (England v France; Allez Les Bleus). That Plisson has been somewhat a Saviour for France is undeniable and I would suggest he’s going to be well-protected by the French powers that be, until the Rugby World Cup in the autumn, but really, to appeal to the Citing Commissioner is not acceptable. Nigel Owens examined the tackle, with the assistance of the TMO and deemed it acceptable. Lawes is paid to make tackles like that; with his weight, power and commitment, there is no way on earth, once committed, that he could have pulled out of that tackle. I would suggest that the French team should have taken better care of Plisson and spotted the danger from Lawes earlier. Thankfully, despite the huge hit, Plisson was OK to continue playing.
In relation to Hughes, in my opinion at least, the contact was purely accidental. He instantly checked on George North. The man looked inconsolable as he left the field and I do understand that he did speak to George North and apologised for what was clearly NOT a cynical, deliberate act. Something that I did notice though, was that when Craig Maxwell-Keys was talking the TMO through his decision (just before the final re-play), the TMO actually looked surprised at the young referee’s decision. Watch it back – you’ll see what I mean.
Finally, I wish George North well. He’s had quite a few knocks to his head in recent weeks and must be looking at a 12-week layoff, similar to Sexton. There is some conjecture that North has been advised not to play again this season – he will not play again for at least a month. Be patient George, look to other players who’ve had to be patient and maintain a positive attitude – it all helps.