"Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the rugby's so delightful..."
Everybody love Christmas. Finish off on the Friday, or whatever day it happens to be that year, and go home to bask in the certainty that you are going to be well rested and well fed by the time the festive period is over and it's time to go back to work.
Not everybody gets to do this however. There are grafters up and down the country for whom Christmas is just another day. To the nurses, doctors, industrial workers, taxi drivers, shop keepers et al I salute you! You keep the country running, the sick looked after, the last minute gravy gradual seekers sated...
And to the professional sportspeople out there also, I doff my cap. For everybody at Christmas it seems loves a sporting event. Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, whatever day! Our sporting punters up and down the country love a festive game to observe and get merry at. Indeed for many it has become an unofficial reunion where friends from far and wide will gather to spread festive cheer over a game of rugby. Few beers, wear your new scarf off of Auntie Beryl and be ready to go home for turkey curry and a mince pie or five.
For this to happen however there must be sacrifice. So for many (not all) sportspeople there won't be the glutinous Christmas that many look forward to. Generally speaking we will get a day or two off over the Xmas period to enjoy with our families. But when your family lives 3 hours away this can make Christmas extremely short. We get to open presents and eat some turkey, but it's unlikely that the red wine will be flowing and the whiskey tumblers filled, as they are for Jolly Old St Nic.
So why do we make this sacrifice? For sure there have been suggestions from the playing group as a whole that a Christmas Break would be just splendid. The season is around half done, the Internationals are taking stock before the brutal 6 Nations kicks off, players that have been well played are ready for a rest.
The weather is lousy, the evenings dark. It might not make Summer rugby a reality in The UK but if we miss out on some wind, rain and snow then I doubt many would complain too much (though don't get me started on season expansions again)
Indeed this Christmas break was a much loved reality for our Gallic counterparts across The Channel as part of their Top 14 Season schedule. Was...
Grounds up and down the country will be packed to the rafters this weekend. The players are the entertainment and on a festive weekend the clubs can guarantee a bumper crowd. Players are asked to make sacrifices in all facets of their lives in order to perform. Missing out on a little festive cheer to perform on a big stage is a sacrifice that most recognise we have to make.
It is of little surprise that the French break is no longer present and the French players are no doubt nonchalantly enjoying a crepe whilst they fume over that particular decision being taken. Sacre bleu!
Fortunately this year, we at Saints play on Saturday 23rd December. We are sold out. We will finish the game and most players will bask in the glory of Christmas Day and Boxing Day off!
Then the work will begin again for the next week...