A Sociological Analysis of A Rugby Match

A Sociological Analysis of the
Game of Rugby
Kenny Brutus
Sociology 101
Professor Durso Finley
Tuesday/Thursday Morning Class
What is Rugby?
 Rugby is a free-flowing game that features a combination of strength, speed
and strategy to move a ball into an opponents territory. Rugby is a fullcontact sport yet players wear little-or no protective gear. Rugby evolved
from football (i.e. soccer) and is often called the “game played in heaven.”
Objective of the game and
player positions
 Objectives: The objective of rugby is the same as in
American Football: to advance the ball into the oppositions
end zone, called the try zone. While a player scores a
touchdown in American Football when he reaches the end
zone, in rugby the player has to touch the ball down in the try
zone to be awarded a “try” (which similar to a touchdown
in football)
 Positions:
Sociology’s View of Rugby
Three Perspectives:
 Social Conflict Paradigm- This perspective views
society as a constant struggle for power and resources.
 Structural Functional Paradigm- This perspective
views society as a machine whose parts must be working
 Symbolic Interaction Paradigm- This perspective views
society as the sum of all personal interactions based on
the interpretation of meaning.
Social Conflict
Social Situation - Rugby
Ultimate Goal - Winning the game
Power Resources:
Every athlete wants a good coach who is capable of leading a team to
victories. These coaches don’t come easily.
Teams are always seeking the best and most experienced coaches.
When this happens there becomes competition for who gets the best
coach. This competition is usually among several teams. Teams want
good coaches because they want to win and that is what a good coach
will provide.
As a team, in order to win over the best coaches you must have a lot to
offer. Teams that offer a lot of money make the job more appealing
therefore having an advantage. Good coaches can be found through
rugby networking, or through rugby sports clubs. This is all done in order
to gain a strong leadership and to build strong, knowledgeable players.
Good teams require strong players. Usually strong players are
already on the best teams.
Coaches compete with other coaches in order to build the
strongest teams and to find the best players. They do this
because they want to win and build their reputations.
In order to find the best players coaches usually scout players
in high school or in college. In the professional level they
attend combines. Strong players are the key to a winning
team. This is why there is so much competition for them.
Conflict Paradigm and
Social Change
For a coach, at the end of all the competition, it usually comes
down to which team is offering more money and better job
opportunity. Also, If a coach is good enough, he gets options
which allow him to choose who he wants to coach.
As for players, teams who offer the better salary will usually
win. However, for players this is not the only incentive. Players
also want to be on the best team and play for the best
coaches. Players want to play for the most experienced and
most knowledgeable teams/coaches.
Structural Functional
Social Situation – Rugby Match
 Fans usually consist of family, friends, and die hard rugby
fans. There job is to cheer and show there support to the
team by attending the games. The fans liven up the game
and bring excitement.
 A fan’s job is to encourage the players to do their best.
Friends and family are the best types of fans for a player.
Fans can also inspire the coach to motivate him to continue
doing good work.
Fans Cont…
Manifest – (Intended) : A fan’s main goal is to encourage
and cheer for the team they support.
Latent – (Side-effects): Oftentimes, depending on whose
favor the game is in, fans can become rowdy, stressed,
or even bored.
Dysfunctions – (Problems): Rarely, and usually out of
frustration, fans can become violent when things aren't
going as expected. Sometimes fans may also swap
words back and forth to the opposing team’s fans,
causing a distraction to the players.
 A referee’s job is to follow the game and make sure
everything goes flowingly. A referee is supposed to make
sure that all rules are laid down for both captains to
understand. Also, he must check individuals’ gear. For
example, certain cleats are not allowed. Also he checks for
shin guards because they are illegal as well.
 A referee has to manage behaviors of fans on sideline as
well as coaches and players. Also his job requires him to
keep track of statistics of the game and manage time for the
coaches. The referee is who both players and coaches will
refer to if they have any questions.
Referees cont…
 Manifest – A ref will watch a game equally to
make sure that both sides are being penalized or
rewarded properly.
 Latent – Sometimes refs can make mistakes.
There will be times where they miss an illegal
play or an off sides opponent.
 Dysfunctions – Referees can also sometimes
favor a team, which would result in them
purposely not seeing certain actions. Coaches
may also pay refs to play the game in their favor.
Functional Paradigm and Society
 A Rugby game is a new experience for many
people. It brings people together for fun and
entertainment. Everyone that goes has a common
interest which brings them together to interact with
one another. Rugby also provides a way for
people to maintain a healthy lifestyle, aside from
the injuries.
Functional Paradigm and
Social Change
 Both the referee and fans learn how to adapt to a
Rugby match. The fans realize that rugby players
can be a unique bunch. Also they become used to
some of the rituals and the roughness of the sport
and become familiar with rugby lingo.
 Referees learn to adapt to the different
personalities they come across when officiating a
rugby match. They adapt to different skill types.
Symbolic Interaction Paradigm
Social Situation – Rugby Match
 Uniforms
 Ball
 Field
 Beer
 When an athlete wears a uniform for the first time, it gives
him a feeling of pride. The uniform symbolizes unity. It shows
that all players belong to the same team.
 Wearing the same jersey makes players feel like brothers.
They work together as one.
 Players on club teams take turns washing the jerseys
between games, thereby increasing the players’ sense of
commitment to the team.
 Rugby players are known for their love of beer. Beer for
years has symbolized camaraderie. Beer has been a part of
rugby since day one. All rugby players would agree. Beer
allows for men to come together after gruesome battle on the
field. They drink together and talk about the love of their
sport. Over the years the only thing that has changed is
drinking in public. Instead, after games, teams now host
“drink ups” at their local bars/pubs.
Improving the Game of Rugby through Sociology
Maximizing power resources.
Improving how the parts work together
Increasing the meaning of personal
Social Conflict - Maximizing power
 Coaching:
One way a coach could maximize his power resources would be to join
different coach networking groups. This would allow for a coach to be updated
with the latest information as well as have reliable resources to strengthen his
coaching methods.
Also coaches can attend leadership workshop which would teach them strong
leadership skills when working with their teams. Having good leadership skills
come hand in hand with having a good team.
 Players:
When it comes to recruiting, players can also search for other members to join
the team. Depending on the level of rugby, players can make flyers to catch
the interest of potential players.
Another way to maximize the value of players is to have them educate the
general public about rugby. Most people don’t know much about the sport of
rugby. Further more, do they even know that the sport is played around
them? Informing the public would allow for more opportunities to build future
rugby players.
Structural Functional – Improving
how the parts work together
 Fans :
There are also some ways that rugby can be structurally improved specifically
at the amateur level. Teams can promote spirit wear to fans to engage them
further in the sport. For example team shirts and horns would improve a rugby
match structurally.
Fans will also be encouraged to spread the word about rugby. In order to
make them more motivated the rugby organization can offer incentives so that
the fans are more willing to help.
 Referees :
For the referee having to keep all the stats logged in his head can become
difficult so making a hand held device where he is able to input the stats may
be a more efficient solution for the referee.
Another beneficial thing to help improve a referees performance could be
psychology seminars to handle the different personalities they may come
across during a rugby game.
Symbolic Interaction – Enhancing
the meaning of personal interactions
 Uniforms :
Uniforms have a very strong meaning in rugby it symbolizes unity. Another
way to improve the personal interactions could be by using patches to
acknowledge ones success or veterans patches. This can make the meaning
of the uniforms much stronger and help bring the players together better than
before. Also alternate home and away jerseys could symbolize for example
being at an away game showing they may be away but they are still fighting for
their home.
 Beer :
Beer has been a rugby rituals for years and more years to come The beer
after and during games has been a great method for interaction among teams
especially after the game. Some improved methods for the beer ritual could
be for teams to have an official team anthem as they present the beer. This
could really stir up better interaction among the teams. Also team beer cups
or mugs could be a cool addition it could even start a trend among the rugby
Rugby has been a well known sport throughout the world. Rugby has made it
place in society and will continue to do so. Also, being known for its high level
of competition and camaraderie, rugby is growing rapidly in this world. With
rugby growing so quickly there can be some improvements. Maximizing their
power resources for example by coaches expanding their networking and
players educating the public will help maximize and build. Also by improving
the small parts that will make rugby function more flowingly will help with the
growth of rugby. Incorporating the fans and enhancing technology for the
referees will make for a smooth growth in rugby. Finally, the enhancing the
meaning of personal interaction will finalize the needed improvements. Some
way of doing this will be by making the beer celebrations exciting for all to
remember and making patches for jerseys and jackets for all to remember the
good time they had.

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