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Spaniards discovering Irish rugby

Photo by Hirobi, Pixabay.

Last Saturday, 19th February, the match between the team from the capital, Leinster, and Ospreys, from Wales, took place at the RDS Arena in Dublin. The final score was 29-7 for the Dubliners, who with the victory moved to the top of the United Rugby Championship.

Rugby seems to be a sport with a lot of fans in Ireland, and with a lot of tradition. However, in my country, Spain, it does not have much relevance. Few people play it, and it is usually overshadowed by other sports with more media coverage such as football or basketball. Personally, the most rugby I have seen and been close to during my life has been at university. Every campus had a team and they competed against each other. They took it seriously, but at the same time it was an excuse to stay after the games and have a drink.

When you are going to live in another country for some time, it is attractive to delve into its history, traditions and people. Going to watch a rugby match seemed like a good idea to get to know Irish sport and culture a little better. Without knowing the competition, the teams or even the rules of the game, Leinster vs Ospreys seemed like a good way to get to know them.

The day was cloudy and a bit rainy, but that didn’t stop there being a great atmosphere at the match. You quickly realise when you are in Dublin that life doesn’t stop because the weather is bad.

The atmosphere, in sporting terms, was very favourable for Leinster, the home team, who had the backing of all their fans in the stadium. Support that they did not need, as the match was very one-sided and the capital club, one of the best teams in the league, easily won the match.

Photo by Carlos González Cañas, 19/02/2022. RDS Arena.

The stands were full of blue and were cheering on their hometown team. This allowed them to reach half-time with a 15-0 lead thanks to goals from Jordan Larmour and Cian Healy. A scoreline that swelled in the second half despite a few minutes of intensity from the Welsh team, which did not help Ospreys to get any closer to the scoreboard.

The game left the home fans happy at the end as they left the RDS Arena smiling and singing. It was clear that this is not college rugby, it is something more serious. But the fans follow the same habits as when there were university games. As they left the ground, the party not only moved to the league table, but also to the nearest pubs.

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