This article was originally published on February 15th, 2013.
What is a real Irish rugby fan anyway? I put some thought into it and came back with these 18 traits which are shared by many rugby fans in Ireland today.
- You always caution friends that it is useless to talk about Lions selections so far out from the Tour. You then spend the next 40 minutes debating the Lions backrow.
- As a general rule you prefer to call positions by their numbers rather than by their names. Why say blindside flanker, openside flanker and number 8 when 6, 7 and 8 sounds so much cooler? There are exceptions but if a position can be talked about solely by its number, you take that opportunity and run with it.
- When meeting friends for a pre-match pint you always have the Irish Times rugby pages tucked under your arm. When asked why you have it you say, “I just want to see how he tries to defend him today.” Your friends will immediately know who both “he” and “him” are.
- When asked who your favourite rugby journalist is, you respond Whiff of Cordite. If they ask who that is, you take out your smart phone, pat them on the back and condescendingly say “You have a lot to learn my friend”.
- You always talk about Conor O’Shea in hushed tones. You think he is like Gary Neville and Pep Guardiola rolled into one, although it’s best not to use that analogy at a game or you might confuse people.
- You despise Sunday Times writer Stephen Jones yet you always read him. Your reasoning: “I just want to see what anti-Irish rugby guff he comes out with next”.
- You have a burning hatred of the Aviva Premiership due to Sky Sports' overhyping of it. Incessant media hype around the Heineken Cup, however, you feel, is completely justified.
- After his debut, you called him O’Driscoll. At his peak you called him Drico. Now that the end is nigh, you merely call him Brian.
- You give out about how “the Super 15 is nowhere near as competitive as the Heineken Cup” but still Sky Plus five hours of it a week.
- You almost prefer Eddie Butler’s voiceover montages to the games themselves. Furthermore you think Butler has the greatest voice in the world. Even better than Morgan Freeman's.
- You have dyed your hair black and started wearing skinny ties and double breasted coats in homage to Shaggy. You also call still him 'Shaggy'.
- When you watch Mario Rosenstock’s sheepskin coat Aviva ad, it reminds you of at least two people you know.
- At at least one point in the last five years, you have created a fake internet identity in order to post on a O’Gara vs Sexton forum discussion.
- You give out about the lack of Irish depth at positions like tighthead prop and second row but rail against the IRFU when they try to curtail foreign imports.
- Even at home, you are a passionate advocate of silence during kicks. If someone talks incessantly during a kick at a match, you shush them regardless of the fact your shushing is ten times louder than that person's talking.
- When you hear the words “Paddy Wallace” and “Cardiff” in the same sentence, you wretch violently.
- You remember the 2007 World Cup like a lost summer love. “There was so much promise for us, but something went wrong somewhere along the way. I don’t think I’ll ever know what happened there,” you say.
- You have been indoctrinated by pundits over many years and can now only talk about the sport in certain terms. You describe a defensive effort in terms of “line speed” and "physicality", backline moves are now “patterns”, a kick to the corner is referred to in terms of “game management”, sloppy handling is an “accuracy and execution” issue.
Are there other mannerisms to the modern Irish rugby fans that we have forgotten?