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A Dropkick’s Guide to University Sport: Touch Rugby

In contrast to last week’s Blitz sports article by Niko, who offered a thoroughly educational recap of all that was sport over the Summer, this week I will instead give a personal take on my first ever experience at participating in a uni sport.

For the many of you who have yet to engage with any physical activity since the onset of your university career, view this as an unofficial and rambling guide on uni-sports – specifically UNSW touch rugby. For everyone else uninterested by that, see this as a ripe opportunity to laugh at the struggles of someone who is out of breath after a 40 metre sprint.

Like the majority of us lowly students, once uni started many things got left by the wayside. One of those things for me was health and fitness. For the last three years such noble attributes were replaced by alcohol and cigarettes.

As a result, since uni started my love of sport came purely from a distance. I was content with this, as there is no shame at just viewing sports from the comfort of one’s couch or at the pub. So… when faced with the prospect of actually playing touch rugby myself, naturally, I said yes!

Touch rugby, I thought to myself, what could possibly go wrong?

Beforehand, my conceptions of touch rugby consisted of memories from high school PE. So, when my soon-to-be teammates suddenly produced spiked boots I started getting concerned.

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Five minutes into the games I had to be subbed off. If it was not for the abundance of subs on my team, I would have had much worse time than I ended up having. My stamina and general fitness was undoubtedly subpar. After the game I wanted to vomit. Yet, despite all my complaints, I will still show up at the same time next week.

After an elongated period of laziness, a bit of time designated each week to run about and play an only slightly competitive uni game – whilst being reminded of how far you have fallen health-wise – is not the worst way to spend your time each week as we try to escape the sometimes monotonous grind of assignments and casual drinks.

Touch rugby at UNSW consists of six people on the field per side, with a minimum of three women in at all times. Substituting can occur as frequently as necessary. Classic rugby league rules apply except after the fifth tackle it is a straight turnover, with no kick. Kicking is illegal and tries count for two points by a guy and three points for a girl. That is gist of it. All up, it makes touch an extremely high-paced game.

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About Andre Nassiri

Andre Nassiri
Andre Nassiri is a International Relations and Journalism student at UNSW. He will primarily be writing for Blitz' sport section whilst simultaneously pursuing a smattering of other topics.

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