Monday 20 November 2017

Ollie Barrett: I remember playing rugby when the hangovers lasted longer than the knocks

AT one stage not that very long ago it was the amateur sport played on Saturday. To prepare for the game we had two ninety-minute training sessions during the week. That was pretty much the extent of rugby back then. My, haven’t things changed so much?

Then after the game and a quick shower it was into the bar to mingle and chat with those we scrapped with earlier. ‘No hard feelings over that particularly high tackle, it wasn’t intentional, but I think you know that.’ On Monday we’d return to the source of our livelihood. A day that began rather sluggishly as it was the alcohol and not the knocks and bruises that hampered an active start to the week. They were great days and I must say I miss the simplicity of it all. I know for sure my mother didn’t appreciate the bag of filthy, stinking gear. But sure, unfortunately nothing in life is forever and the old ways must be surrendered, reluctantly or otherwise.

This novice attitude bowed to the pressures of modernisation and on 26th August 1995, when the International Rugby Board decided to remove all restrictions on payments and benefits to those connected with the game. The impact of this decision was absolutely enormous.

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