The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Existentialist flanker wondering whether he should even bother engaging with ruck

The ruck being pondered about by Jackson

Posted April 2008

Andrew Jackson, a twenty-nine year-old flanker for Sully Plastics 3rd XV, is at present undecided if he will comply with the expectations of his team-mates and the duties of his role as back row forward and engage with the ruck currently taking place approximately eight yards in front of him.

As of press time the ball and the ruck is controlled by Jackson’s team but a counter rucking movement just launched by the opponents is threatening to force a turnover.

“I suppose I could engage into this ruck taking place in front of me,” said the blindside flanker. “But after partaking in what would probably be rigorous physical contact and risking the possibility of much suffering and violence - we would then face the inevitable end of the ruck – whether by accident, design or whistle - and, more than likely, face another ruck just moments later. If, as I am expected to by my peers, I get involved in that subsequent ruck it’s unavoidable I will be asked to perform the same duties, in the same manner with the same risks, in almost all the other rucks that shall follow. At the end of the day, what am I ultimately gaining here?”

Sully Plastics’ scrum-half, Jonathan Williams, however, holds a contrasting view to Jackson regarding the ongoing ruck: “Get the bloody hell in there and secure that f***ing ball.”

However, despite the forceful protestations of his number nine, Jackson is still debating the validity of the whole exercise.

“Indeed,” continued the number six, “It’s the uncertainty of what could happen in this ruck, and the various outcomes, that make me question the value of the whole sport of rugby union. It is not absurd to consider that, in the wider scheme of things, this game has any relevant bearings on who we are as either rugby players, athletes or even human beings? Who will remember this ruck tomorrow? Who ultimately cares about the game we are playing? The thing is to find a truth which is true for me. I need to find the ruck for which I can live and die. I’m not fully sure this ruck is it.”

This is not the first time that Jackson has expressed such dilemmas on the rugby field. Last season, during a league match, he missed a vital tackle as he debated whether the repeated tackles he was forced to make as a back row forward was in someway comparable to the ordeal of Sisyphus in pushing his rock up a hill for all eternity.