Saturday, July 13, 2013

Le Choc

The great debate has raged since little Bill Webb Ellis caught a football mid game and set off downfield. Two factions have divided sport, each with their own opinions on who is the superior.

On one side of the chasm stands the diving, whinging, ref abusing, fairies of football. On the other is the egg chasing, eye gouging, thuggish brutes of rugby.

Well on the 17th of July at the Stade Felix Mayol in Toulon that chasm will be reduced to a thin strip of white wash as two teams of the rival sports stand either side of the halfway line ready to compete.
In an unprecedented match, football's Olympique Marseille will take on rugby's Toulon in what will literally be a game of two halves. One half of will consist of union refereed by former French coach Marc Lievremont. The other will be football, officiated by Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.

Quite how the contest will take place or how the scores will be kept over two very different games is unclear at best.

It's impossible to imagine uninitiated soccer players packing down in the scrum against the like of Carl Hayman or Andrew Sheridan. There is surely little chance of BenoƮt Cheyrou competing with Steffon Armitage at the breakdown, an area where even regular players and referees are finding themselves confused at times.
In the football half, all the players should at least know the rules and have a little experience, as long as Jonny Wilkinson remembers to put any penalties under the bar rather than over.
 
With the event being for a children's cancer charity, the chances are that European Champions Toulon will take it easy during the rugby half. Too many shoves at the scrum, rolling mauls or barrelling runs from any of several giant forwards would end any sort of spectacle and not at all live up to the billing; "Venez vivre... Le Choc!" In English, "Come and experience... The Shock!"
 
Lizzy Borden - The Shock

*Since the publishing of this piece it has been announced that the rugby half of 'Le Choc' will be touch rugby only.

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