How the game of Rugby evolved…”A Lipsett Perception”

This is a perspective on how `backs’ became known as such. Obviously written by a very perceptive and independent researcher.

It is largely unknown to players and followers of the modern game of rugby, that in the very early days it started off purely as a contest for forwards in opposition in line-outs, scrums, rucks and mauls. This pitted eight men of statuesque physique, of supreme fitness and superior intelligence in packs against one another. In those days, the winner was the pack that had gained most set pieces.

The debasement of the game began when backs were introduced. This occurred because a major problem was where to locate the next scrum or line-out. Selecting positions on the ground for these had become a constant source of friction and even violence. The problem was resolved through a stratagem of employing forward rejects, men of small stature and limited intelligence, to select positions on the field from where, when in receipt of the ball they could be guaranteed to drop it in a random pattern but usually, as far from the last set piece as possible.

Initially these additional players were entirely unorganized but with the passing of time they adopted positions. For instance, the half-back. He was usually generally the smallest and least intelligent of the backs whose role was simply to accept the ball and pass it on. He could easily (given his general size) have been called a quarter forward or a ball monkey but then tolerance and compassion are the keys to forward play and the present inoffensive description was decided upon. The five-eighth plays next to the half-back and his role is essentially the same except that, when pressured he usually panics and kicks the ball. Normally, he is somewhat taller and slightly better built than the half-back and hence his name. One-eighth less and he would have been a half-back, three-eighths more and he might well have qualified to become a forward.

The centres were opportunists who had no specific role to play but who were attracted to the game by the glamour associated with forward packs. After repeated supplication to the forwards for a role in the game they would be told to get out in the middle and wait for the ball. Thus, when asked where they played, they would reply “in the centre”. And they remain to this day, opportunists and scroungers, men so accustomed to making excuses for bad hands and errant play that most become solicitors or real estate agents.

You may ask, why wingers? The answer is simple. Originally these were players who had very little ability and were the lowest in the backline pecking order. They were placed far from the ball and given the generally poor handling by the inside backs, were rarely given the opportunity to even touch the ball. This is basically why, through a process of natural selection, they became very fast runners and developed the ability to evade tackles. But to get back to the name. The fact that they got so little ball led to the incessant flow of complaints from them and the eventual apt description “whingers”. Naturally, in the modern game, the name has been adapted to become more acceptable.

Lastly, the full-back. This was the position given to the worst handler, the person least able to accept or pass the ball, someone who was always in the way.. the name arose because, infuriated by the poor play invariably demonstrated by that person, the call would come “send that fool back” and he would be relegated to the rear of the field.

So there you have it. The fact is that if a side does not have eight men of statuesque physique, of supreme fitness and superior intelligence then they might as well play soccer.

Huggy Kerry Singh and Hubert Bidens Canada vs USA Aug 2011 BMO Field.

Huggy, Kerry Singh, suffered a catastrophic spinal injury while playing rugby for the Beach and is confined to a wheelchair.

In 1997, we assisted Huggy in buying a wheelchair accessible, hand-controlled van, but like the rest of us it erodes!

Huggy has virtually no funding to purchase a new vehicle so he has created a website to raise funds.

If you have any ideas on how to assist Huggy or wish to donate the link is

The Alumni Executive will create some fund raising ideas such as 50/50 draws at our dinners, etc.

“Why We Played The Game”

When the battle scars have faded
And the truth becomes a lie
And the weekend smell of liniment
Could almost make you cry.

When the last rucks well behind you
And the man that ran now walks
It doesn’t matter who you are
The mirror sometimes talks

Have a good hard look old son!
The melons not that great
The snoz that takes a sharp turn sideways
Used to be dead straight

You’re an advert for arthritis
You’re a thoroughbred gone lame
Then you ask yourself the question
Why the hell you played the game?

Was there logic in the head knocks?
In the corks and in the cuts?
Did common sense get pushed aside?
By manliness and guts?

Alumni Executive:

Gerry Allen, Larry (Bones) Taylor, Rick Chambers, Paul Mathieson, Gord Young, Adam Marshall, Kyle Nichols and Glenn Miller