RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015 | The Craic Crusade

The Craic Crusade

As the Web Ellis Cup returns to its homeland, the representatives of twenty rugby nations gather on British soil. And where the players go, the fans follow: a lusty pack of patriots, with fire in their hearts and a liver full of liquor. They are the craic crusade, where the decibels do most of the damage, and the glass is never half empty. It's empty.

I am one of those fans. For the next 45 days, I will breathe rugby. From the shadows of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium to the birthplace of the sport; Rugby, Warwickshire. From London's Olympic Stadium to Newcastle upon Tyne, only a whisker away from the Scottish border – if Scotland beat Samoa on the 10th of October, I will hear the Scottish lion roar.

This series of articles will not be objective. It will not be littered with previews or reviews. It will focus on the minnows (Uruguay, Japan,...) before it debates the rugby giants (New Zealand, South Africa,...). It will be a first-person account by a couchsurfer/hitchhiker on the trail of rugby's showpiece event. It will be subject to tournament upsets, bursts of euphoria and hangovers, for there is no certitude in the world of sports, nor is there in journalism.

And like every good story, it will be about the people. Ultimately, this is the tale of William Webb Ellis, who picked up a ball and started running. Some two hundred years later the English have the chance to honor him by crowning themselves World Champions on home soil. The pressure is on.

(rb)