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Rugby lad culture needs to stop

My adventure at university is continuing and, whilst it’s full on, with many lectures and extra work, I’m loving it.

Greg Devine


People playing rugby

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My adventure at university is continuing and, whilst it’s full on, with many lectures and extra work, I’m loving it.

Going to university means meeting new people I wouldn’t necessarily encounter. Coming from a working-class town in Yorkshire, the ‘posh rugby lad’ is a type I’ve not met until now—I wish I never had.

Arrogant, entitled, privileged young men, unfortunately, ruin the experience of university somewhat. It’s not every posh boy, but it does seem that the majority carry a distain for working class people—they don’t even try to hide their disrespectful opinions. They think they’re better than most other university students because Daddy paid their tuition fees.

Posh Kids having a drink

With the greatest of respect, we’re all at the same Russell group university. We all achieved the required grades to get there. Just because I’ve been loaned the tuition fees does not make me any less entitled to a place on my course. Luckily, because I’ve chosen to study computer science, the rugby lads aren’t constantly around me. Had I been on an engineering or economics course, however, my lecture theatre would’ve been full of Schöffel jackets, signet rings and mullets.

Is this a generalisation? Yes. But generalisations are usually correct!

This isn’t a depiction of every ‘rugby lad’, of course. I’ve met some rugby players who are genuine, kind, respectful people—but I do feel they’re in the minority. The consequence of the ‘posh boy’ culture means that some freshers, who would’ve liked to have played rugby at university, have become disengaged; they’ve looked elsewhere for something to do in their downtime. Some have turned to American Football, which appears to perpetuate a positive culture that allows for fun and banter whilst still remaining respectful. In other words: normalcy.

Playing American Football

The disrespect these posh rugby lads give women is of particular concern to me. Whilst it isn’t obvious at first, should you find yourself in a pub with a group of them, watch how they treat girls. Whilst their behaviour isn’t abusive, they appear to project a sense of ownership. They often throw their arms around females’ necks, in what I consider an almost aggressive manner, in order to assert their dominance. What infuriates me is how those around them accept their actions. The women they mix with don’t seem to have an issue with it— probably because they’re used to it—but when a rugby lad tries to do the same with a girl from a working-class background, she, quite rightly, reprimands their pathetic behaviour.

I’m not alone in my opinion. As I write, I’m surrounded by my flatmates who are working hard on their many different courses; they all agree that most rugby lads are disrespectful, or at the very least, irritating. Alcohol is definitely a factor in determining the level of respect these young men are able to show. Whilst sober, they can appear normal, and I can actually enjoy having a conversation with them. When drunk, however, their Dutch courage is far too high, and their sense of entitlement becomes intolerable. It’s a shame, as I really enjoy watching rugby, but as soon as a drop of booze hits these guys’ bloodstreams, I don’t want to be in their company, as they simply resort to disrespecting or belittling anyone who’s not one of them.

I’ll conclude by again reiterating that there are exceptions to every rule. Whilst ‘posh rugby lads’ are not my favourite type of person, that doesn’t make them awful human beings. It’s just a case of different upbringings—and this is why university is so good. It brings people together from all walks of life.

Learning how to accommodate and appreciate others is one of the greatest lessons available at university…it’s just not on the curriculum.

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