Read This Article and Find Out How to Win a Great Prize! Nice Try
By Gary Lukatch
The first time I watched it, it looked like a huge disorganized tangle of very large men running around a field and jumping on each other to create a big pile of flesh. Suddenly an oddly-shaped ball squirted free of the mound of men. Another very large man snatched it up and began running with it. Other large men chased him. He apparently decided discretion was the better part of valor, and besides, he obviously did not want to be on the bottom of yet another pile of big sweaty guys, so he kicked the ball downfield.
What the heck was going on?
Well, in point of fact, it was the game of rugby, now the fastest-growing sport in the world and also in Hungary. When I was growing up the USA no one played rugby, so I had rarely seen it. Of course, when I moved to Budapest I immediately fell in with the wrong crowd and have been a rugby fan ever since.
Since the late 1990s, Hungarian adult and youth rugby teams have grown to the point where a national Rugby Championship is held every year. Also, the number of young rugby enthusiasts and players has continued to expand to the present day, where nearly three thousand young people (men and women, boys and girls!) regularly participate in the sport.
The rugby infrastructure in Hungary has been helped along with the establishment of the Hungarian Rugby Union, Magyar Rögbi Sovetség (mrgsz.hu), which works closely with the International Rugby Board (irb.com) and the European Rugby Federation (fira-aer-rugby.com) to oversee the continuing growth of this ever-more-popular sport.
Hungary now has 27 adult rugby teams which participate in annual championship matches. In addition, there are women's teams and leagues for cadets and juniors. In fact, there are now teams in every age group at the International level - and eight championship matches each year. And the numbers continue to grow!
The long-term popularity of rugby can also be seen in the number of international championship matches played. In addition to the Six Nations, Heineken Cup (Northern Hemisphere) and Tri-Nations (Southern Hemisphere) tournaments, 2011 will also see the Rugby World Cup, played every four years. This is the third biggest TV broadcast Worldwide, after the Olympics and the Soccer World Cup. This year's host nation for the Rugby World Cup is New Zealand. New Zealand's All Blacks are today rated as the World's No. 1 team, and hometown fans will no doubt turn out in force as they cheer for their team to win a cup which has eluded them for far too many years.
Budapest also has its very own rugby support group, the Budapest Rugby Watching and Beer Drinking Fans. This group, active in the local rugby scene since 2000, helps the MRGSz raise funds for Hungarian youth rugby programs; in fact, it has contributed more than five million forints to this cause over the past five years. Its other purpose, of course, is to gather at one of the good local sports pubs and watch rugby and drink beer. The BRWBDF will publish World Cup match broadcast times on their Facebook site.
And now to the prize mentioned in this article's headline. InterRelo, Budapest's premier relocation company, has been a staunch supporter of rugby, and this year is sponsoring a Rugby World Cup competition, where you can win your very own rugby ball! See details elsewhere in this Newsletter.
There is a growing number of good rugby venues around Budapest, where you can watch the matches in the company of other fans. The BRWBDF usually gathers at Champs Sports Pub, Dohány u. 20, in the 7th District, just up the street from the main synagogue. Also, there's the Caledonia in Mozsár utca (6th District). Both have plenty of TVs and large screens, along with a wide selection of drinks and food. In addition, the Meridien Hotel on Deák tér shows many of the games. The broadcast schedule for the Rugby World Cup matches will be included in the September 3rd issue of the Budapest Times. This year's tournament kicks off September 9 and finished up on October 23 with a knock-down, drag-out, bang-up final series match between the two best teams in the world. Rugby fans everywhere can hardly wait for the games to begin
So come out and join your mates in enjoying this year's Rugby World Cup matches at your favorite sports bar. And win yourself a rugby ball while you're at it!
By the way – the title of this article? A "goal" scored in rugby is called a Try.
[Thursday, September 8, 2011 ]