The Full Lineout

by Kieran Healy on March 30, 2004

ct-lineout Having John and Belle join us brings the CT roster to 15, which means we are now available for rugby matches against “similarly-sized”: “group”: “blogs”: Bring ’em on, I say. As you can see to the right, our front row is easily amongst the best in the world. Hooker “John Quiggin”: is complemented by English hard-man “Bertram”: and Welsh terror “Davies”: Flankers “Weatherson”: and new acquisition “Holbo”: combine to ensure mobility amongst the forwards, while second-rows “Farrell”: (H) and “Barlow”: are big enough to catch anything thrown at them in the lineout. Number 8 “Man-Mountain Micah” “Schwartzman”: anchors the forward line. Scrum-half “Farrell”: (M) provides the crucial link between the heavy-hitting forwards and the nimbler back line. At out-half, “Runnacles”: is equally well-able to run with the ball or kick for possession deep in opposition territory. Centers “Hargittai”: and “Waring”: are quick on the break while wingers “Brighouse”: and “Mandle”: create havoc with the slower defences of other blogs. Finally “Healy”: at full back is perhaps the only question mark in an otherwise impeccable line-up.

And in case anyone’s wondering, rugby-team size seems to be optimal. Despite appearances to the contrary, and unlike the State or the Market (depending on your temperament), CT has no inbuilt tendency to expand indefinitely until it takes over every aspect of life.



Jason 03.30.04 at 1:44 am

You’ll need a bench too! What happens if someone is sent to the blood bin?


Cryptic Ned 03.30.04 at 1:45 am

When’s the home-and-home against Fistful of Euros set for?


bob mcmanus 03.30.04 at 4:24 am

Adding experts on kung fu movies, fattening recipes, and morally deviant fiction written by minors definitely lift this blog above the Volokhs


John Isbell 03.30.04 at 4:50 am

Yeah but you could run into some communication problems if you refer to out-halves on a regular basis.
And stop making me miss rugby. Not much of it in Indiana.


Personal coach 03.30.04 at 5:24 am

re terror fly half on the team. Please explain how I can ‘kick for possession’. Whenever I kick the thing it seems to end up in someone else’s possession. But perhaps I’ve got the wrong end of the metaphor.


John Quiggin 03.30.04 at 5:32 am

I think combined Australian Rules-Gaelic would be the game we should propose, though I’m not sure whether it has 15 players as in Gaelic of 18 as in Australian


dsquared 03.30.04 at 6:16 am

I thought we were rugby team-sized when there were 13 of us …


cs 03.30.04 at 7:47 am

That’s rugby ‘league’ d2


dsquared 03.30.04 at 10:27 am

Please explain how I can ‘kick for possession’. Whenever I kick the thing it seems to end up in someone else’s possession.

In American football, yes. But in rugby, you can kick the ball into touch (out of play) upfield and you retain possession at the ensuing scrum if certain arcane and non-obvious conditions are met.


dsquared 03.30.04 at 10:32 am

Thinking about it, that’s rugby league too.


Al Maviva 03.30.04 at 12:48 pm

But in rugby, you can kick the ball into touch (out of play) upfield and you retain possession at the ensuing scrum if certain arcane and non-obvious conditions are met.

Not exactly, dsquared.

If you are awarded a penalty (the other team has committed a major infraction against you), and you choose to kick the ball into touch, you keep possession in the ensuing lineout. You may always opt for a scrum in lieu of a lineout, but few teams do, for tactical reasons.

As for rugby team-sized group blogs, I rather prefer Sasha’s. We have twelve – which is regulation sevens team, with subs. We will be happy to take your blog on in sevens – with the fair warning that we are a Southern Hemisphere-based side, augmented with some American muscle – a trick employed by Bath, Rotheram, and Sale Sharks, as well as the A and B sides at Samizdata.

Alternately, we can do it “old boys” style and just take you on in a drinking and singing match.


dsquared 03.30.04 at 1:05 pm

For anyone who cares, this is a big difference between League and Union. Rugby League doesn’t have lineouts, mainly because its audience prefer to see rugby rather than improvised modern ballet or human pyramid geek acts. If you kick into touch in League, the game is restarted with a scrum against the head for the kicking side.

However, if you manage to aim a kick from within 40 metres of your own touchline that bounces and crosses into touch less than 20 metres from the opposition’s touchline, then your side gets the put-in. Since this basically gives you possession (league scrums almost invariably go with the put-in because the 13-man game doesn’t really have space for specialised forwards) in an attacking position, “kicking for possession” in this way is one hell of a skill to master.

etc, etc, etc. Can’t stand the game meself.


Larry R Davis 03.30.04 at 1:39 pm

Does anyone else have difficulties reading your site. The lines overlap. I am in Windows 2000 with IE-6 as browser.

thelrd in TEXAS


John Isbell 03.30.04 at 2:00 pm

Rugby League also used to have all the best Welsh Union players, about the time Jonathan Davies walked off. How are Wales these days?


dsquared 03.30.04 at 2:21 pm

Sadly, the advent of the professional game and consequent return of the League stars has deprived us of that excuse. Not as bad as they were, but still pretty decidedly second-rate.


Ed Brayton 03.30.04 at 3:41 pm

Hey, the crew of the Panda’s Thumb will take that challenge. We’ve got two Aussies and an Irishman on our bench. Top THAT!


Cryptic Ned 03.30.04 at 3:48 pm

I’m afraid anyone who doesn’t know the difference between Rugby Union and Rugby League probably won’t understand statements like “If you kick into touch in League, the game is restarted with a scrum against the head for the kicking side.”.


Maria 03.30.04 at 3:56 pm

Cool – I always wanted to be a scrum-half! Without the nasty business of tackling, winter practice, and being chased through a quarter acre of mud by angry 180lb men of course.

Which reminds me that watching the England-France match on french telly was a slightly odd experience. No half-time commentary at all, but plenty of segues to on-the-run ink and paint cartoons caricaturing the action, and scary close ups of Serge Betsen post-match. He’s still my favourite though. And on french tv, the winning team was still posing for photographs long after the stadium had emptied.

And the ref was Irish, but bi-lingual in french and english as one of his parents was french. Just thought you’d like to know…

Forget all this rugby union and rugby league stuff, miking the ref is the best development in years.


Kieran Healy 03.30.04 at 3:58 pm

We’ve got two Aussies and an Irishman on our bench. Top THAT!

Well those jersey colours on the team lineup aren’t just for fun, y’know. We’ve got two Aussies as well, three Irish people, a Welshman, a Hungarian, and assorted Englishmen and Americans. So you’re in trouble.


Keith 03.30.04 at 5:17 pm

The Liberal Coalition will take your challenge! We may not know the first thing about Rugby but there are thirty of us.


Mrs Tiltoninho 03.30.04 at 5:37 pm

Sadly, we at A Fistful of Euros can only field eleven players. Anyone up for footie? The side is shaping up nicely under player-manager Nick Barlow; no comment at all on the rumour we’ve been acquired by a Russian bajillionaire with a hankering for silver.


PZ Myers 03.30.04 at 9:25 pm

From some of the descriptions above, it does sound like “rugby” is European for “calvinball”.


Tom Runnacles 03.30.04 at 10:05 pm

I’ve very little experience of Rugby – in either code – since I didn’t go to that kind of school.

However, I seem to remember being placed on the wing when I did play. I think there was a sadistic PE teacher involved, who knew where short, skinny chaps would most be likely to take damage. Ow.


Max 03.30.04 at 10:14 pm

You’ll never match our Super-Bowl half-time shows.


Jacob T. Levy 03.30.04 at 11:13 pm

I’ll bet Eugene can take y’all by himself!

Well, he can do everything else; why not?


John Isbell 03.31.04 at 12:16 am

My friend Gareth, who is now Chair of Classics at Columbia, was at Llanelli Grammar at the same time as Jonathan Davies. Once a boy broke his leg there and the coach yelled “Play on, play on!”
pz, the rules look fluid because this thread has referred to four different types of rugby so far, not to mention sevens. They’re all more different than baseball and softball.


bza 03.31.04 at 7:46 am

Am I misreading the accompanying graphic, or does it represent Ted Barlow as English, and Maria as of a different nationality than her brother?


Maria 03.31.04 at 7:59 am

Well spotted bza, but Kieran may be closer to reality than you think. I’m wearing a blue jersey which is quite the done thing here in France. Allez les bleues!


bza 03.31.04 at 8:26 am

Sold your soul for a couple of brioche. What would Gran think?


Personal coach 03.31.04 at 11:09 am

Hey,Maria. Your position requires a steady and accurate feed of balls to Tom. Some people have all the opportunities.


Maria 03.31.04 at 11:47 am

Hey personal coach, remember that’s ‘to’, not ‘from’.

I’m just saying.

Comments on this entry are closed.