What do "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and English Rugby Have in Common?

Apparently something, for the chorus of it was sung quite a bit this afternoon during the match, er "fixture", against Australia.

[I did do some digging around, and there is an explanation why that verse is sung at the matches... read here.]

Anywho, me and just over 80,000 people attended the game and, had Australia's kicker made more of his penalty kicks, would have witnessed a close contest. Alas, he did not, and England came out the victor, 35-18.

Even though I didn't grasp everything that was going on, I did gain a better understanding of the rules and actions of the players, like why it's perfectly legal to blast into a guy who is on top of the "ruck" (the mound of players that forms once someone is tackled.) Here are a couple other tidbits for you:
- the game is played in two 40-minute halves, and only in rare instances does the clock stop. Even if someone gets hurt, play continues and the medical staff come out on the field with the game still going on to attend to the player. If the player plays a position that is involved in formations like a scrum or a line out (that "throw in" play in rugby), the clock will stop.
- One might think that given it's rough nature, rugby (the "rugby union" variety) is traditionally a "blue-collar man's sport," but it's not so. (Football/soccer and "rugby league" are historically considered the sports for that cohort. Granted, things have changed as footballers make money hand over fist. Pro rugby players do OK, but make nowhere near what a footballer makes.) Rugby is a "gentleman's game," a "proper game." So much so that certain expectations extend to the fans in attendance as well... expectations that one just wouldn't see at any event put on by any of the 4 major professional sports in the US. For example, during this match, England was called for a penalty and Australia decided to go for a penalty kick. Someone from the Australian team brings out the tee, hands it to the kicker, he sets it up however he wants, and then steps back a la an NFL placekicker. And he stands there probably for a good 30 seconds before making his approach to kick the ball. During this 30 seconds, a decent-sized chorus of whistles (euro for "boo") rain down on him. After the attempt (he missed), the PA announcer comes on and basically mildly admonishes the crowd for not extending a courtesy to the Australian kicker they would have extended to the English one. And his message his accompanied by a similarly worded message on the large screens as well. These messages didn't have immediate effect as the whistles happened again at the next penalty kick (he missed that one too.) The same PA announcement and big screen messages were played. Eventually, towards the end of the match, there were few if any whistles aimed at the Australian kicker.

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