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Kortmann, Christian

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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | 05/10/2007

France in rugby frenzy

This World Championship has sent the entire French nation into a rugby frenzy, Christian Kortmann notes. "A rugby match is as exciting as football and boxing combined, and the sport can also look back on an ethnologically interesting past. Invented in 19th century England, rugby made its way to New Zealand and then spread throughout the southern hemisphere. The topographical particularities of each region - hard dry pitches in Australia, muddy fields in Scotland - led people living there to develop their own playing style. Rugby theories are generally more audacious than the insights of the football intelligentsia, because the difference between sport and life is more pronounced. Rugby is not the kind of game that can simply be reproduced in playgrounds or in the garden before a barbecue. It's more the kind of game which makes you marvel at the players: rugby players do back-breaking work on the field and thus present us with an intense physical battle the likes of which is not to be found elsewhere in post-industrial consumer societies."

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