Both feet in the rugby camp

Like the third round of the FA Cup and the Ashes test series, the Six Nation’s Rugby is one of those marquee sporting events that I have to mark on the sporting calendar.

But only because I want to avoid it.

I have a curious aversion to the game – and that is not fair on the game itself. As a sport, rugby can be intense, exciting and dramatic. It’s the fans I don’t like.

Perhaps that is harsh because the majority of fans are great – especially the Irish, the Welsh and Scots . It’s just the England supporters that boil my blood.

But it’s not all of them. Like the England football fans, where a minority are unbearable, there is a small group of national rugby fans who are so cringeworthy that I can only look at them through the cracks of my fingers.

And what it boils down to is whether you are in the rugby or the ‘ruggers’ camp. I know where I stand.

It’s the Toff Tofington crowd that I can’t abide, the fans who proudly sing Swing Low Sweet Chariot without knowing its roots in slavery and cling to the Calcutta Cup oblivious to its nod to the dark days of imperlaism.

Every rugby fan knows at least one supporter who fits the indetikit.

They are the fans who go to the pub in their replica shirts with upturned collars and loafers and loathe football for its “common” roots.

They pedal the myth that rugby is for thugs but played by gentleman, despite the spear tackling, the eye gouging and the arse poking in the scrum.

They treat rugby like a mark of class. A badge of exclusivity that separates the middle class wheat from the working class chaff.

At least you can watch football down the local, away from the hooray Henrys and Henriettas who are trying to seize the game for themselves.

I will be watching the weekend games but purely from the safety of my own home.

Then I’ll hold my breath before I have to go through it all again next year.