The Rugby World Cup is coming up …

The rugby World Cup is fast approaching.

For any rugby fan, these are exciting times. Who will come out on top? Who will be this world cup’s biggest flops? So many questions that we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to find out the answers to.

But I’m not just a big rugby fan, I’m a sports fan of all shapes and sizes…especially football. One of things that has always fascinated me is the differences between rugby and football. Someone far cleverer than me once compared rugby and football by saying, “Football is a gentleman’s game played by thugs…rugby is a thugs game played by gentlemen!” I think there’s truth in that.

But there’s another difference that has always fascinated me more.


Have you ever thought or wondered why teams in Rugby always play with the same formation?

There are the set positions…and that’s it.

Not so in football.

You have the classic 4-4-2 of course…but what about wing-backs? What about the sweeper? What about the ‘Christmas tree formation’?!?

For some reason football lends itself to being far more fluid in it’s formations.

Some differences are disappearing though.

In ‘the good ol’ days’ for a player to be substituted in rugby he had to be genuinely injured. There were no tactical substitutions or substitutions for players who were getting tired. If you were picked then you’d have to slog out the 80mins, no get outs.

Football on the other hand, being the more fluid (tactically speaking) game has always allowed these kinds strategic substitutions, getting a new player on in order to make some thought out difference. Rugby has followed suit. The differences are lessening and now the answer to those questions I posed about the up coming rugby world cup might come down to the quality not just of the 15-men who take the field, but strength in-depth of the entire squad.

Truth is I like this new(-ish) development in rugby.

Sometimes, if someone isn’t up to the job, it’s really important and extremely useful to have the option to make a change, bring on a substitute. this is true in rugby, football, (cricket is still holding out) and even our spiritual lives.

Under performing

When it comes to getting right with God, on our own we are under performing…and that’s putting it lightly! if my pursuit of a relationship with God was an international sport I’d have been sent to the sin-bin a long time ago (no pun intended).


But, just like in football and now in rugby, there’s a substitution that can be made. Waiting in the wings is a perfect man who has lived and died in such a way that if he took my place I’d be right with God in an instant.Who could do such a thing?

Well he’s probably more familiar to you than you realise, his name is Jesus.

See … Jesus’ very reason for coming to earth (a truth we celebrate every Christmas) was to offer himself as a substitute for me and for you and for every man, woman and child that has ever walked the earth.

All we need to do is ‘sub him on’.


Sammy Davies is the new Assistant Pastor at Ammanford Evangelical Church and you can contact him on 01269 593182 or through their website at


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