The Daily Mail today carried a story reporting on a survey in New Zealand which concluded that drinking before a big rugby game doesn’t affect performance on the pitch. You’re totally shocked aren’t you – me? Reading the Mail? Of course not ffs – I found it on the internet thus preserving my street crud and saving me the 50p for a truck load of exaggerated scare mongering nonsense. For once however, this is a survey that actually has a real purpose – in order to test the theory 19 blokes had to chug 11 pints on the night before a match – now that’s one research programme I would have signed up for in my playing days. However, knowing our forwards I would have been shoved rather aggressively to the back of the queue – they were an unruly bunch of bastards with a very poor sense of etiquette (or anything else to be honest). It has to be said though – their uncouth persona was something I was often glad about when I was in trouble on the pitch – see more at www.rugbyoldbloke.wordpress.com
The scientists (?) report claims that apart from not being too lively in the lineout the players did not suffer any other impairing after effects from the gallon and a half of Steinlager (or one of the other, no doubt, eager sponsors of the survey). Of course, if these boffins had joined the ‘guinea pigs’ and also chucked down similar quantities during the experiment they were almost certainly in no fit state to do the testing before the game. Nor would they have been too compos mentis if they’d actually called the blokes ‘pigs’ of any sort. As interesting as this study is – and it is a darn sight more than most idiot surveys, it contains a basic flaw. If you are going to see how much getting pissed negatively affects your performance on the pitch you almost certainly need some point of reference for comparison i.e. the same blokes ‘not drinking’ on the night before – at another game, obviously. When I played, this would have been rather a tough one – most games were on a Saturday and Friday night was largely a beer and curry extravaganza.
You’re maybe wondering how we kept this unprofessional behaviour from the coach – this was rarely a problem since they were usually out on the piss with us. Frequently, we would actually bump into our upcoming opponents at the Curry Queen – often passing them as one or other of us did a ‘runner’. This therefore levelled the playing field (unlike most of the pitches we had) as the opposition were as trollied as we were – and sometimes more so. The major effect recorded was the lack of ability to jump from a standing start – however since jumpers are now lifted it might have been smarter to test the guys who had to hoist them in the air. It would also seem a bit soft to test any of the backs for this aptitude as the ‘girls’ rarely lift or jump in case it buggers up their hair. The major worry about the research is that it means bang goes the excuse of ”sorry I dropped that scoring pass chaps – I was still totally off my face from last night” Bugger!