Straight talk in rugby


Though I work in a world of addictions, I try and keep mine in the closet. But with others springing out of the closet right left and centre, I’m going to come clean. I’m addicted to rugby. Rugby is said (largely by people who see no glory in the bad haircuts and hystrionic dives of diva soccer players) to be the inverse of soccer, a hooligans’ game played by gentlemen. Crusty gay crusader Peter Tachell, thrilled that Welsh rugby ledgend Gareth Thomas has come out as gay calls it a “very macho sport”. And yes, it’s tough. It pits several hundred kilos of testosterone fueled meat against another several hundred kilos at crotch level. Hands grab balls, though rarely the one in play. Shorts are used as weapons, and lose their coverage. There’s none of that pansy padding which distorts body and soul of American football players. Rugby is pure, hard muscle. Which is why I’ve always maintained it is the most homo-erotic sport on the planet. If you’re not convinced, another photo from the French national team’s iconic :


Homoerotic? Moi?

I don’t mean to belittle Gareth Thomas’s courage in coming out. It’s interesting that his coach’s first reaction was to advise the Lions captain tell his team members, because he guessed (rightly) that they’d provide really important support at a difficult time. He’s not the first player to come out, but it’s rare for guys to do it while they are in the prime of their careers. Hard on the heels of that revelation, former England player Brian Moore has spoken publicly about being sexually abused as a child. I don’t know why rugby players, who have a pretty small following compared to soccer players, have so much more courage than the divas with bad haircuts. When Brazilian superstar Ronaldo got caught with three transgender hookers more than a year ago, he pleaded ignorance, saying he thought they were just vanilla whores. I don’t know if that makes me more worried about homophobia in soccer, or more worried about that a player who earns squillions on the pitch has such a bad eye for a ball….

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This post was published on 03/01/10 in Men, women and others.

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  1. Comment by Muscleguy, 04/01/10, 12:16:

    As I grew up in New Zealand rugby is in my cultural genes too, though I never actually played it. Mrs Muscleguy is into it as well, though UK domestic rugby leaves us rather cold as a spectacle. We thought too that Gareth Thomas’s coming out was a good and brave thing too and were similarly impressed at how his team mates reacted too.

    I remember a bit before we left NZ to come back here to the land(s) of our births TVNZ screened a documentary about the process of the deaths from AIDS of a man who was iirc chief executive of the Auckland Rugby Union and his partner. It was sensitive and groundbreaking stuff but the reaction of his rugby colleagues was quite horrifying in its homophobia, they did not know. So we have indeed come a long way.

  2. Comment by Chris J, 04/01/10, 05:00:

    What incredible bodies they have. The B%W photos really emphasize the sheer beauty of their musculature.

    Pretty sexy too!

  3. Comment by Miriam in Vancouver, 07/01/10, 10:17:

    EP, I can’t believe you’re a rugby fan! I work in the HIV field, in Health Promotion and am a huge fan of both your prevention approach and your writing style. I also play rugby and have been very vocal about my attraction to the game being mostly due to the hot boy on boy action (and for me personally, the “tough, don’t mess with me” aspect of playing on a women’s team). Oh, and of course this homoeroticism is the reason rugby has never caught on here in puritan North America … also the reason we have so much damn padding in our boy sports. This is awesome. You made my day.

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