These should start at 42 of 91.
- This is our pregame huddle to get fired up. I'm in the middle, wearing the black socks and number 3. In theory, uniform numbers correspond to your position, so I should be wearing number 1, but 1 is missing.
- This was our first scrum of the game. I'm on the far side where you can't normally see me. But I remember this scrum well. I got knocked to my knees, but I'm tall enough that I was able to keep the entire scrum from collapsing with my back and neck. Yes, that is my knee on the ground in the middle of the scrum.
- Here I am trailing a play just right of center. I got criticized later for trying to follow the play in support. "You're not going to catch him, so conserve your energy."
- Skip to 48. There was no defender for me to ruck into, but I stepped over the ball carrier to shield the ball just to be safe.
- I wasn't able to get into the ruck here to support the ball carrier, so I am backing up so as not to get in the path of the pass from the scrumhalf to the flyhalf and be able to run in support behind him.
- Here you see me successfully rucking into two defenders. They're trying to get the ball from the ball carrier when he releases it after being tackled, and my job is to come over my tackled teammate and crash into the defenders to move them away from the ball, enabling us to keep possession. As you can see, these defenders ended up nowhere near the ball.
- When the ball goes out of bounds (or, as we say, into touch) the way to get it back in play is via a line out. The hooker must throw the ball down the tunnel formed by the two lines of forwards, who are lifting teammates into the air to contest for the ball. I'm the guy lifting the jumper by the seat of his pants.
- I think here we are releasing from a scrum after the ball has come out. I can't tell for sure.
- Our opponents occasionally were able to get something going on offense. Here they've successfully moved the ball downfield before Tom has made the tackle, and I'm trying to chase the play down and get back onsides.
- Here you can more clearly see me lifting the jumper into the air during a lineout. In B-side games I play first position (the guy with white tape around his head and facing the jumper), so I'm used to lifting the jumper by the front of his shorts. In the A-side game they put me at third position, so I was always lifting the jumper by the back of his shorts.
- We've successfully possessed and passed the ball out from a ruck, and I am hanging back to see where I need to run to to support.
- I stand and watch (red scrumcap, white tape on boots) as Jake attempts a penalty kick. If he misses, the ball is live, so I have to be prepared to run up on defense.
- Josh has just fielded a kickoff, so I am in the middle of changing direction so I can run with him and ruck over him if he gets tackled.
- Skip to 59. Here we are at the conclusion of a ruck. We've won this ruck, and Jake, our scrumhalf, is passing the ball out to the flyhalf. See how the defense is lined up? They cannot pass the last man on their side of the ruck or they are offsides, and the most effective way to defend in rugby is to present a flat wall of defenders covering each gap.
- Skip to 64. You can't really see more than a bit of my back here, since the loose-head prop is on the other side. (You can see blue's loose-head prop on the front line here, so it gives you an idea of what I'm doing on the other side.) This is blue's scrum. Their scrumhalf put the ball in after we engaged and is about to recover it and be tackled by our scrumhalf.
- Skip to 70. Here I am lugging my fat ass towards the play because it looks like Jeff isn't going down easily and we're going to have to form a maul over him.
- Skip to 80. 80 through 83 are self-explanatory: team photos. The guy to my right in the green jacket and hat is Fergal. He is from Limerick in Ireland and has been playing rugby since he was a wee lad. He is nursing an ankle injury and can't really play right now, but he has been very helpful in teaching me technique and giving me advice, since we play the same position.
If you have questions about any of the photos, let me know.