Everyday is a day for rugby union on The Roar, where the sport is celebrated and analysed and, above all, cherished by the faithful.
But this Saturday, March 26, the wider rugby community is being urged to come together online or with mates to celebrate their passion for the game on A Day in Union.
The celebration day is the brainchild of former coach and director of NSW Positive Rugby, Greg Mumm, along with friends who decided they’d had enough of the portrayal of rugby in Australia.
Mumm joined Brett McKay and Harry Jones on The Roar Rugby Podcast this week to talk about the initiative. You can stream it here or listen on the usual podcast apps.
“It’s a group of guys getting together who were all a little bit over the negativity in rugby a few years ago and deciding why don’t we get together on the same day and tell everyone how good rugby is,” Mumm said.
“I’ve been involved in a fundraising capacity through the NSW Positive Rugby Foundation so was talking to a lot of people about what was good about rugby, what maybe was not so good, and a lot of those people in those circles said with all the negativity in the game why don’t we get everyone to talk about what’s great about the game, all on the same day.”
Along with John Anderson, head of the rugby clubs in Victoria , and Peter Murphy replaced Mumm at NSW Positive Rugby, they decided to focus on the game’s positives.
“With the Wallabies and Super Rugby and Sevens and November tours and club rugby there are so many things in rugby where it’s so easy for people to talk about the differences, yet when to get down to the core of it and ask what they love about rugby it’s the camerarderie, it’s the inclusiveness,” said Mumm.
“It’s not the separation or disunity it’s the fact that it tends to bring people together wherever they are around the world and for whatever reason. In Australia we seemed to forget that for a while.”
Mumm said rugby’s many strands meant they didn’t have an AFL or NRL style Grand Final day where their game could focus celebrations. Instead they chose March 26 as a time when juniors and clubbies were starting to get pumped about their seasons, while Super Rugby was in full flow.
“When we first got the idea was when Covid was starting and we were worried about how was rugby going to get through this and get people back together and what role could rugby play in bringing people back together after Covid,” said Mumm.
Mumm wants the rugby community to use the day to share their passion for the game, and The Roar would love you to use the comments section here to tell us how you fell in love with the sport. What’s your rugby origin story?
“For me as a boy the rugby pitch was the most beautiful place in the school,” said Harry Jones.
“It was the most applause, the most attention (I love attention).
“Rugby was one of those things that was almost a miracle. You could run on the pitch the parents were there, Saturday morning as a teenager I liked the fact you could smash guys and it was legal.
“You were loved for doing the same things you were getting cuts with bamboo for at school.”
Mumm said rugby has given him an extended family.
“When I was training and coaching as well it was about the mates,” he said. “I coached for a long time to belong to something and my wedding had five people on my grooms party all of whom I played rugby with.
“The guys that still check in now to see how things are going, the first to ring me when I had my children are the guys I played rugby with.
“Other times when I did get ruled out of footy and went through a dark time trying to work out what it was I did after sport often it was rugby that kept you on the straight and narrow.,
“Rugby asks you to be the best version of yourself whether it’s player, coach fan or parent. The game calibrates people through the values of game to be the best version of themselves. That’s been important, not only in my life and hopefully, will have the same role in my kids’ life.
“This is why I got involved in the foundation because I want rugby to be around for my kids the way it was for me.
“That’s the shared value. You can put your boots in your bag go anywhere in the world and find a rugby club and find a family because you have that shared value and shared language – t’s a passport to travel, friendships, and good times.”
What does rugby mean to you? Give the podcast a listen and let us know in the comments.