I didn’t play Rugby as a boy, I wasn’t built for it, and it wasn’t a game which found favour in our home. No one watched it, although it would be on at my best friend’s home. His Dad laughed when I asked why the players weren’t going to the changing rooms at half time. My whole relationship with Rugby was like that. It was mystifying to me, and people who played and watched intimidated me. Physically players were more than me. Intellectually supporters could see nuances I couldn’t, and could discuss the game in ways that no one who liked my game-football-did or could.
Little has changed in the years in-between. Thinking of Rugby still makes me think of the two years I did post High School at a Rugby playing school where the humour and references were sharper than I was comfortable with, and where those who played Rugby, and had been on the tours, were legends.
Now in my early forties I don’t expect to lose the feeling of shrinking a little inside when I meet people stronger and smarter than me. Strangely though, these are the people I seek out the most. I photograph men with unfathomable DIY skills and fearless Rugby players. The fascination with what I am not becomes a way to come to terms with that fact.
Pictures taken in the minutes after a session of end of season club photos for Rahui Rugby Club.