It has been great to have schoolboy rugby back and on Saturday my son played his first game of the season for his under-16 school side. Parents are unfortunately not allowed to go and watch the games (yet we can gather at a pub to watch the live streaming together) and with all of the streams on offer I am watching plenty of rugby.
Now I would never bet seriously on schoolboy matches but I couldn’t resist offering my punting mates a fun interest in the game. I had Robs team at (-4.5) favourites and set the points line at 43.5. One of the shrewdest punters out there, ThoughtsOnSports on Twitter played along and nibbled at the under 43.5 points. He, like all other punters worth their salt on Saturday was watching Super Rugby, but of course I had other interests and was locked into the TV at the coffee shop.
As it happened I had misjudged the handicap totally and my son’s team was in control pretty much from start to finish. With 5 minutes to go the score was 38-5 in their favour meaning there were 43 points exactly in the game. I was thinking about the points line and the fact that I needed another score when his side won a penalty on the 22.
Now when you are 33 points up with 5 minutes to play you generally give the ball some air, but the skipper amazingly pointed to the posts and the flyhalf duly slotted the 3 points. I smiled, wondering how I was going to explain this, as no doubt if a decision like that had taken place in a Provincial or International Rugby, cries of match fixing would surely have rung out.
Click here to watch the posts call ay 38-5
Click here to watch my son seal the deal with a try after the hooter
The scorers initially forgot to add the 3 points though so coming into the last minute it still showed as 38-5 and I began to doubt whether the penalty had landed. At that moment my son took it upon himself to break out of a maul and steamed away to score the final try of the game and ensuring for certain that his dad would not have to pay out unders punters.
Much as I love my Super Rugby nothing beats watching my son play and I can only hope that common sense will prevail and that schoolboy rugby will be allowed to continue.
This article was written for the CitiGaming supplement of the Citizen Newspaper and was published on the 20 May 2021.