Rugby : Masculine Restraint

“ Manliness tempered by civilizing restraint”
By : Jock Phillips
Masculinity and Refinement
 Male Identity was formed based on
interaction of muscular virtues of the frontier
against a fear of femininity in civilized/urban
 Rugby was born of the need to provide “a
manly education tempered by civilizing
 Before “football” there was rough contest
with no rules.
Rugby: Early Beginnings
 Got its start in English Public schools in the mid- 19th
Civilizing process entered the schools
Master’s of schools took traditional games with no rules
and organized them , saw them as an important
contribution to education
Sought to replace the old masculine ideal with a new
model ideal. Emphasized importance of a “gentleman”
–polite, manner able, Christian bearing
Used Rugby as an outlet for boys to exhibit physical
strength, virility, within a controlled/supervised setting
Rugby was formed with the specific idea to produce a
“Manly Gentleman”- civilized yet still manly
New Zealand History of Rugby
 George Sale, son of a master at Rugby
School, drew up the “Laws of Football as
played at Rugby School” (1845)
 Charles Monro brought rules back when
he returned from Sherborne
 First game was played at Nelson in 1870
 A. Drew introduced Rugby in Wanganui
and Taranaki
 Dunedin Tour (1877) essential in
establishing rugby as dominating sport in
the south
 By 1882 Rugby was described as the
“national sport” , and by mid 1890’s were
over 50,000 players and over 300 teams
Rise to Power
 Influence of immigrants from
English public schools
 Colony attracted more men
from less prestigious school,
than those from elite where
soccer was the dominant sport
 Rugby was able to be organized
between different areas of New
Zealand establishing interregional competition
 Rugby became more popular
because early supporters were
the only men who had time and
money to travel through New
Zealand playing
 Changes in Labor laws allowed
men Saturday afternoons off to
 Popularity spread through
range of social classes
because the masculinity of
the sport appealed to both
the Elite and Country Men
 An investigation of
Manawatu Rugby players
from 1878-1910 showed that
they represented almost
exactly a cross-section of the
male population
 Occupational variety among
Rugby players ranged from
farmers, to businessmen, to
 Class barriers less exclusive,
allowed popularity of the
game to spread more quickly
in New Zealand
Why not Cricket, Or Soccer?
 Did not require a lot of
equipment, or careful
preparation of the ground
 Not Affected by climate
 Provided a form of
organized entertainment in
a new society lacking longestablished rituals.
 Rougher and more physical
than other sports
 Display of “scientific
 Scrimmaging- provided
physical contact
amongst team mates
Man’s Game
 Rugby was a Man’s
game, which grew out
of the rituals and
culture of the pioneer
male community”
 Emphasis on strength
and physicality
 Trips allowed men to
readily engage in smoking, drinking,
 Language of pioneer
male community
 Gambling flourished
alongside Rugby
Refinement of the Game
 Frederick Pilling (1877) was
killed in a match- coroner
stated that it was only
“worthy of savages”
 Begin to be criticized more
 Seen as encouraging all the
less desirable
characteristics – cursing,
drinking, etc
 Late 1880’s began to
imposed more structure on
the game, developed
standardized set of rules
 Set official rules for
scoring, number of players
allowed, mating of skill
with strength, referees
giving primary authority,
violent elements where
 The New Zealand Rugby
Football Union was
established in 1892
Rugby Basics
 A rugby union team
consists of 15 players: eight
forwards, numbered 1 to 8,
and seven backs,
numbered 9 to 15
Two 40 minute halves,
maximum of 10 minutes
half-time break
Try =5pts
Conversion= 2 points
Penalty & Drop Goal-3
Can only throw backwards
 Scrum-
 Lineouts
 Ruck
Fears of “Urban Decadence”
 New refinement of the
 Urbanization as an Agent
game brought new
supporters and spectators
 Fears about the effeminacy
of men began to rise again
 Idea that nature of urban
jobs would rob men of
physical strength crucial to
male identity
 Belief that extravagance of
the urban life was making
men soft
of National Decadence- S.
G. Findlay (1911) ; worried
men would not be
physically adequate to
compete against other
 Beginning of century wide
range of advertisements
begin to appear local news
papers for devices to
restore men’s diminishing
physical vitality.
Training the Muscular Gentleman
 Game functioned as a form of
social control
 Game became more organized
and ritualized
 Prepared young men for more
serious life conflicts or
‘On the Ball’
“ This life’s but a scrimmage we cannot
get through
But with many a kick and a blow,
And then to the end, though we dodge
and we fend,
Still, that sure collar, ‘Death’ takes us
…. Remember, then, boys as we journey
though life,
There’s a goal to be reached by-and-by
And he who runs true-why, he’s bound
to get through,
And perhaps kick a goal from his try.”
 Embodied the dominant
ideal of character in
Why Rugby?
English public schools
 Became the core of the
unofficial curriculum
 determination and hard
 In several boys high
 Root in ritual, exercise in
schools in New Zealand,
Rugby became
 Subservice of the individual
to the group
 Emphasis of cooperation
 Generalized training in
social conformity
 Taught Character or
Manliness- emphasized
All Blacks
 1888 New Zealand team
won 80 out of 108
matches between Britain
and Australia
 England and Wales tour
in 1905, ‘All Blacks” win
led New Zealanders to
view rugby as essential
to the New Zealand
 Suggestion that the
“country life” produced
superior physical
 Tour confirmed New
Zealand’s role in the
British empire, laid to
rest fears of “urban
decadence” ruining
 Represented the “virility
of the colony”
 Traditional Maroi war
dance from New
 Performed mostly by
New Zealand ruby
teams, ritualistic, form
of intimidation
Traditional & All Blacks
"Kapa o Pango"
“Ka Mate”
Slap the hands against the thighs!
 Kapa o Pango kia whakawhenua au i
Puff out the chest.
ahau! Hī aue, hī! Ko Aotearoa e
Bend the knees!
ngunguru nei! Au, au, aue hā! Ko Kapa o
Let the hip follow!
Pango e ngunguru nei! Au, au, aue hā! I
āhahā! Ka tū te ihiihi Ka tū te wanawana
Stomp the feet as hard as you can!
Ki runga ki te rangi e tū iho nei, tū iho
'I die, I die,
nei, hī Ponga rā! Kapa o Pango, aue hī!
'I live, 'I live,
Ponga rā! Kapa o Pango, aue hī, hā!
'I die, 'I die
All Black, let me become one with the land
'I live, 'I live,
This our land that rumbles
This is the hairy man
It’s my time! It’s my moment
...Who caused the sun to shine again for me
This defines us as the All Blacks
Up the ladder, Up the ladder
It’s my time! It’s my moment!
Up to the top
Our dominance, Our supremacy will
The sun shines!
And be placed on high !Sliver fern! All
Blacks! Silver fern! All Blacks!
Rugby’s Blessings
• Physical strength
• Lessons of dedication and
hard work
• Mode of thinking- selfsacrificing, common goal
• Emphasis on team work
and cooperation
• Rooted in ritual and

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