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Opinion: Rugby is a game for peacekeepers, not warriors

(Following opinion by John Mundie is a reaction to a previous (3 April) – Opinion: Military Game – RMC Rugby – by LCol (ret) RJ Jarymowycz)

Rugby is a game for peacekeepers, not warriors

By: John Mundie

It seems LCol (ret) RJ Jarymowycz is several Revolution in Military Affairs (RMAs) behind the times. Having played rugby for years, I share the joy he takes from watching the game. But I do not concur that it is perfect for any war college, unless that institution is not interested in war.

Rugby is a game for peacekeepers, not warriors. The near naked application of physical skill and force (indeed, nearly naked given the skimpy rugby uniform) is tempered by a respect for rules that is seldom seen in other body contact sports. And rules the game does have! The beer that is oft shared with an opponent shortly after full time is blown is again unique, and more reminiscent of a celebration of an armistice than the bloody end of combat. Rugby players wear blue berets!

You want a game for a war college … then pick the low lying fruit. Football has it all. The helmeted and technology festooned soldier in Afghanistan looks much more like an offensive lineman than a second row. Oh, and you have your ground game alright, locked in an inter-service rivalry with the air game, with its long bombs and detailed mission profiles (um, plays.) And let us not forget the navy, whom in a modern environment (say, since 1942) never sees its target up close anyways. That is what zone defenses are for.

There was a time when the Inter-Service rivalry was no small beer, perhaps when Prince Obolensky played, but if you want to see present and future warriors, literally, I suggest you take in the next Army versus Navy match up at Annapolis.

Or better yet, play a football video game on your Playstation.

“John Mundie is a stay-at-home dad, life-long amateur military historian, bad rugby player of long standing, and a former student of Lt. Col (ret.) Jarymowycz. Most recently a statistician with the House of Commons.”