Here’s an interesting little fact

England’s fly half tomorrow, Freddie Burns, went to a comprehensive.

Not quite where you expect rugby players to come from really.

And that we generally don’t expect this tells you something about the state of the nation.

Same school also produced a Nobel Laureate (although when he went through it was a grammar).

20 comments on “Here’s an interesting little fact

  1. and, as you may know, a couple of Olympic gold medallists and the current head of MI6

  2. Well it tells us that comprehensives generally play football rather than rugby. Quite why this reflects on the state of the nation escapes me however (other than showing what bad choices comprehensives make in their sport selection, obviously)

  3. It probably says more about Rugby Union than anything else. Even ignoring the fact that it is not really a comp, but a Grammar school forced to pretend to be a Comprehensive.

    But Union is professional now innit? So you would expect a wider range of young ‘uns to play it rather than League.

    Although my experience is that these things depend on what sort of coach the school has. If it has a good cricket coach, it will produce good cricket players. If it has a good Union coach, what else would it produce?

  4. I dunno, Tim.

    Of the RWC 2003 winning side, the following went to non-selective State schools:

    Woodman
    Thompson
    Vickery
    Johnson
    Back
    Cohen
    Lewsey
    Robinson

    Selective State school pupils:
    Hill
    Dawson

    Of the others, only Dallaglio (Ampleforth) went to a major public school.

  5. The image of English rugby players being posh and privately educated is a bit of a myth now.

    Quite why it should be a cause for celebration or dismay I don’t know, except for the usual political bollocks.

  6. In the 1960s, I went to a Secondary Modern in Warwickshire, Blackdown High (Leamington). We played Rugby. Blackdown was mixed, and had about 250 boys in total. We used to play against the Coventry Comprehensive schools. They used to average about 2,000 boys per school. In our early teens, the comprehensives were able to put out teams of men (lots of West Indians “wacist”) against skinny white teenagers.

    Average losses for Blackdown used to be between 50:0 and 70:0. And the Warwickshire PE teachers, educational establishment and Rugby boosters looked on, smiled, and thought “this is sport”.

    It wasn’t sport you Cunts. It was pure sadism. I’m 62, and have lived with constant back pain since I was 11, prop and totally outmatched in a collapsed scrum. I hope you fucking Rugby types burn in hell for the shit you fucking cunts enforced on my life.

    Cunts

  7. Bloke in Japan – “I hope you fucking Rugby types burn in hell for the shit you fucking cunts enforced on my life.”

    You know, it has been a little bit of an odd week. What with being called a post-modernist and all – trust me that doesn’t happen every week.

    Being called a c*nt is a little more common though. However it is very rare to be called a c*nt for something that took place at matches I never watched, in a school I have never heard of, in a town I have never been and in a county I have done everything possible to avoid.

    Ah well. Horses for courses I suppose. Sorry to hear about your pain.

  8. “England’s fly half tomorrow, Freddie Burns, went to a comprehensive.

    Not quite where you expect rugby players to come from really.”

    Plenty of Rugby played in state schools, including comprehensives. Bit of an assumption there.

    SMFS.
    “..a county I have done everything possible to avoid.”

    If you are a fan, look up “Rugby”. It’s a place in Warwickshire.

  9. Lots of rugby players at junior level now started off in state schools and went on to do Sports GNVQs at Whitgift and places like that.

    Not great for competitive schools rugby, but it might keep them out of the clutches of football.

  10. Rugby school never played rugby against state schools in Warwickshire. That would have put them up against Coventry teams of working class blacks they couldn’t have beaten. Nonono!

    Woodlands Comprehensive had a winger named Algae. He was a brick shithouse about six feet tall. Also a British All Amateur Athletics Association 100 metres finalist. Win the set piece, feed the ball to Algae, and he’d cross the line with about five of us clinging to him like limpets.

    Algae would have never played for England. Wrong colour, wrong class, and wrong school.

    Cunts

  11. I too have memories of precocious props in other school rugby teams. One in particular was like Jabba the Hutt but mobile (if slow) who was impossible for normal boys to deal with. We would have needed a harpoon and a dreadnought to have stopped him.

  12. @BiJ

    ‘Rugby school never played rugby against state schools in Warwickshire. That would have put them up against Coventry teams of working class blacks they couldn’t have beaten. Nonono!’

    Do me a favour. In my day I can assure you that Rugby had their own black kids – massive Nigerian princes, mostly – but they also had some fairly healthy white specimens. They would have absolutely creamed any Coventry school, with or without their black pupils, as a result of better training, better facilities and better skills. We’re talking 100-nil territory.

    They didn’t play State schools because they were busy playing public schools who could give them a game.

    Re Woodlands, I think you’ll find Leon Lloyd went there.

    Leon played for England, and he was plenty melanin-enhanced.

    He now works at one of the Leicestershire public schools – Oakham? – which suggests less of the toff racism exists than your paranoid mind might like to imagine.

    I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, but you’re just sounding like a mad old dickhead now, so fuck off. And I hope your back gets worse.

  13. @BF

    ‘I too have memories of precocious props in other school rugby teams. One in particular was like Jabba the Hutt but mobile (if slow) who was impossible for normal boys to deal with. We would have needed a harpoon and a dreadnought to have stopped him.’

    We all remember them. Massive at 13, getting their faces kicked in at 16. People develop at different speeds, don’t they?

  14. My public school rugby team had an entire back line made up of Nigerians. They’d lie about the age to get them into school, meaning you’d have 17 year olds playing under 15s. Two years difference at that age means a different size altogether, but the practice was overlooked because all the schools did it to some degree. They were wonderful to watch.

  15. Interested, BIJ has a point about Rugby in the 60’s, which up until the 80’s was overly full of yobs and GBH merchants.

    Oddly, going professional had the effect of gentrifying the sport .
    It’s very very different now.

  16. Bloke in Japan does sound bitter and twisted (perhaps literally). Couldn’t he just have collapsed the scrum/wriggled under the huge oppo/feigned injury? If you really don’t want to play, you don’t, do you?

    He may not be aware that the nasty racist snobby RFU people first chose a black man for the England XV in 1907. James Peters of Plymouth RFC played against Scotland and France. Sadly he went over to League, which really did make him an unperson.

    My point being if a working class black lad from Coventry really was that fearsome and talented, wanted to pursue it, put the effort in and could stand being surrounded by public school arseholes, he’d quite possibly have been picked. Mind you, touring South Africa would have been tricky.

  17. I’ve asked before whether there are any sports which really are “for the [potentially unwilling] participant’s own good”. Perhaps for learning teamwork or discipline or “character” some sort of argument can be made, but in terms of physical health and wellbeing I think rugby can be scratched off the list. I felt lucky to get through (compulsory, state school) rugby unscathed. BIJ has my sympathies.

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