Three Things Irish Rugby Gave the World

For a small nation, Ireland punches well above its weight on the global stage. At least that’s what we keep telling ourselves. Whether its music or literature, cinema or stage, you will find little nuggets of green gold at the bottom of all of life’s many rainbows. Rugby is no different, and we thought we’d look at three rugby phenomena, terms, phrases, call them what you will, that the Irish have given to the greatest sport on earth.

The Garryowen

Perhaps the most famous linguistic  gift we have given the game is the term garryowen. In its basic form, the high up and under kick is designed to put the opposing team under pressure, by allowing the kicking team time to arrive under it and compete for the high ball. The term comes from the Irish club of the same name,  Garryowen RFC, who are based in Limerick. The club has been on the go since 1884. Legend has it that the term became part of the rugby landscape when the club won a hat-trick of Senior Cup titles between from 1924 to 1926 and made the garryowen an integral part of its tactics. It must have been frightening!

Garryowen’s Conor Murray in 2009
©INPHO/James Crombie

The Choke Tackle

The choke tackle to the world via Ireland’s defence coach, Les Kiss, in the lead up to the 2011 World Cup. Rule changes had decreed that the side taking the ball into a maul and not emerging with it would lose it. The change in the law was duly noted by Kiss who saw an opportunity to exploit it. IN his mind there was little point getting the ball carrier to the ground and trying to turn the ball over when you could hold the same player up, stop him from moving and win your team the ball. It caused something of a seismic shift in rugby and became something of a trademark for Irish rugby teams. That was until others began to use it. Still, we’ll chalk it up as one of our ideas.

Stephen Ferris in 2011.

The 99 

Definitely not an ice-cream and one that harks back to a somewhat rougher times in the sport’s history. During the controversial 1974 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa, captain, Willie John McBride came up with an odd call. It wasn’t a move or a line out code but was something of a call to arms. The tour was marred by violence with more boxing than box kicks and fisty-cuffs than fly-half flare. The 99 ball was allegedly based on the emergency telephone number 999 and the concept was simple – when there was a fight and the 99 ball was called, every Lions player on the pitch was expected to dive in and take part.  Rather than causing any actual physical harm, the point of the call was more to obfuscate the referee’s view and therefore discourage him from sending any one individual from the pitch……so were told anyway.

Willie John McBride in 1974

 

 

Get your Bunnies ready for an Egg Chucking Easter Rugby Festival Abroad!

At Irish Rugby Tours we know that Easter is a great time to hop on a plane and spend some time with the people you love most. That’s right – YOUR RUGBY TEAM!

There is a colourful array of  Easter rugby festivals and tournaments taking place right across Europe over the coming break and each of them have their own unique characteristics and surprises.

Irish Rugby Tours offers tours to great venues in fabulous cities right across Europe. These festivals book out quickly. So if you’re thinking of taking your team abroad, here are few suggestions for you. Let us know, when you need our help.

Portugal Rugby Festival – Lisbon

Portugal Rugby Festival in sunny Lisbon takes place this year from April 13th – 14th. It is a whirlwind cracking weekend of rugby fun across fifty pitches and gives you and your team the opportunity to meet rugby fans from other parts of Europe. It is a trip you are unlikely to forget in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

Players at last year’s event in Lisbon

Find out more & feel free get in touch

Find out more about rugby in Portugal

Tournoi de Cornouaille – Brittany

It’s selling out fast but there are still a few places left at this year’s Tournoi de Cornouaille in Quimper in Brittany. The tournament itself takes place over two days at Easter. Included in this great value package are hot lunches, player snacks and an end of festival party for those who took part. And it’s all happening right in the heart of the beautiful town of Quimper.

Find out more & feel free to get in touch

The beautiful town of Quimper has some excellent local restaurants.

Ghent Rugby Festival – Ghent

When you think of rugby, Belgium may not be the first place that springs to mind yet they have a strong tradition of playing the game in their part of the world. Indeed one of rugby’s longest running festivals takes place in the beautiful city of Ghent. The Ghent Easter Rugby Festival is now in its 31st year and each year it gets bigger and better with more teams, more food stalls and more entertainment. Ghent itself is a stunning city to walk around and enjoy some much needed downtime.  

Find out more & feel free to get in touch

Hilversum Rugby Festival – Amsterdam

If there were prizes going for inclusivity and family friendliness then surely this delightful festival one at Hilversum would be up there. This one day event takes place at Hilversum Rugby Club, a thirty-five minute drive from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and just forty minutes from central Amsterdam.

A wonderful one day festival that encourages rugby from children as young as eight up to sixteen, the festival will, this year, take place on April 21st.

After a hard day on the pitch, Amsterdam is the perfect city to visit to wind down. Its canals, cobbled streets and exceptional galleries are true jewels of Europe as are the people themselves.

Find out more & feel free to get in touch

Half-time talk at Hilversum.

International SQY Festival – Paris

If you fancy springtime in Paris then maybe the International SQY Rugby Festival is the very trip you have been looking for. This year’s event takes place on 19th – 21st April 2019 and includes an awards ceremony and gala dinner for team managers. The tour also includes a transfer to Paris for a boat trip down the Seine and there is the chance of taking in some Top 14 rugby while there.

It is a a fully immersive rugby weekend for ages 10 -14 and might just be the very trip that builds dreams of being an international star!

Find out more & feel free to get in touch