Rugby is in a professional era now but one of the things I believe will always remain from the amateur era is the ‘initiation ceremony’.
There are legendary stories up and down the land of horrific occurrences for the poor new lad who has just played his first game for his new team.
Few sports have ones as tough as rugby.
A niggly injury has kept me from playing my first minutes in a London Irish shirt yet, so I await what is in store for me down here since my summer move from Leicester.
Most clubs have a song to sing on the bus, in front of everyone.
I like to think that whatever that may be, it cannot be any harder than the ones I had to endure after my debut for Wasps and then Leicester.
In fact, I held the dubious honour at Wasps of being the last person to do the run from the back of the bus to the front of it.
During my 10-metre run of terror, which was made easier by a few beers at the after-match social at Ascot Races, I got such a battering that new head of strength and conditioning Craig White banned them on the spot!
I remember Craig Dowd and Simon Shaw getting stuck into me and I also remember Lawrence Dallaglio jumping up from that bit where the stairs are before having his go.
Then, when I got to Leicester, it was a similar challenge but in reverse as I had to fight my way from the front to the back seat.
If I got past the rest of the bus, laying in wait on the back seat where the likes of Louis Deacon, Alesana Tuilagi and Julian White.
It was brutal and I took a right battering, probably made even worse because I was a Wasp who had just joined Leicester.
At least when you were tussling with the forwards, you knew what you were going to get. When the backs joined in, they would be sneaky and snidey and just give you sly digs in the kidneys – or other parts of the body!
In my two years at the club, I never saw anyone take the back seat from those boys.
Rugby turning professional has tamed things down a bit – but there are some traditions that will keep on going for ever in this sport of ours.
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