Irish language

The Bluffer rucks and mauls in the world of rugby terminology

An t-úd úd: Ireland's Jacob Stockdale (centre) scores his side's first try past Wales' Leigh Halfpenny (left) during the RBS Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Pic: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. 
Robert McMIllen

GO mbeannaí Dia daoibh, hello to soccer dogs, GAA fans and rugby types. 

Its four years since The Bluffer wrote about the game of rugbaí - rugby, but it was a good day on Saturday for the countries where Gaeilge and Gàidhlig are spoken with Ireland beating Wales and Scotland beating England. Yeeha.

Now, while the tactics of rugby are beyond the Bluffer’s grey matter, he does enjoy watching the game when the national team is in action and stands up for the Ultaigh - the Ulstermen (and the South Africans) on occasion but don’t ask him what the difference between a rucáil - a ruck and a crágáil - maul.

The rules for awarding a clibirt - a scrum are becoming more clear to the Bluffer although he likes the leathchúlaí clibirte - scrum half because they are the same diminutive size and direct things and don’t get clobbered by yetis as much.

The Bluffer has often wondered how he would fare on a rugby pitch - not very long, he imagines.

At five feet six inches in his céilí dancing pumps, the idea of Jacob Stockdale hurtling towards him, nostrils flaring, is the stuff of nightmares.

Or the combined weight of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Andrew Porter lying on top of him leaves him breathless just thinking about it.

There is no position on a Rugby Union team the Bluffer could fill without ending up in dianchúram - intensive care. He’s not even sure what rugby

positions are, in English or Irish.

What is a frapa scaoilte? Not a cocktail you’d get in Bundoran but a loosehead prop.

Rugby union is indeed a mysterious game but there are some who wouldn’t watch it because it is too English. An chéad chumann rugbaí in Éirinn - the first rugby club in Ireland was formed in 1854 at Dublin University, whose students had first learnt the game while at English Public Schools.

Hiss! Boo!

A rumour that the so-called inventor of rugby, William Webb Ellis modelled the game of rugby when he saw the Irish game of caid -football (it’s still called that in Kerry) when his father was stationed here with the Dragoon Guards. It’s unlikely though. 

Anyway, rugger has been in Ireland for a long time and no matter what its origins are, the whole country (all 32 counties) will be supporting the boys in green to victory in Comórtas na Sé Náisiún - the Six Nations. To win in rugby, you can score in different ways. Úd - is a try (5 points) as in scóráil sé dhá úd -he scored two tries, for example.

Slánú is the word for a conversion, the free kick you get after a try for which you get two further points.

Some games have no tries but all the points are scored by ciceanna pionóis - penalties, each of which gets you 3 points.

The last way to score is through a preabchúl - a drop goal scored via a dropchic - a dropkick!

To win, you need wee fat guys - who are actually all muscle - and tall skinny fellas to run like the blazes past the wee fatties an liathróid a thalmhú - to ground the ball.

The were lots of the above against An Bhreatain Bheag - Wales with the Irish looking particularly impressive although they were playing against a vastly under-performing - Wales. Next up is Scotland in 12 days time.


rugbaí (rugbee) - rugby

Ultaigh (ultee) - the Ulstermen

rucáil (rucaal) - a ruck  

crágáil (craagaal) - a maul

clibirt (clibirtch) - a scrum 

leathchúlaí clibirte (leh-khoolee clibirtcha) - scrum-half 

dianchúram (jeeankhooram) - intensive care

frapa scaoilte (frapa skeeltcha) - a loosehead prop

An chéad chumann rugbaí in Éirinn (un cayd khuman rugbee in yerin) - the first rugby club in Ireland

caid (cadge) - football

Comórtas na Sé Náisiún (comortiss na shay naashoon) - the Six Nations

úd (ood) - a try

scóráil sé dhá úd (scoraal shay gaa ood) - he scored two tries

slánú (slaanoo) - a conversion

ciceanna pionóis (cikana peenosh) - penalties

preabchúl (prabkhool) - a drop goal

dropchic (dropcik) - a dropkick

an liathróid a thalmhú (un leeahryodge a halwoo) - to ground the ball

An Bhreatain Bheag (un vrataan veg) - Wales

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Irish language

Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: