Murphy's Misfits Captain: Everyone should try rugby

Photo: murphysmisfits.org

Perhaps, some people would be surprised that rugby is played in Bulgaria. But there are enthusiasts and athletes in this country, for whom rugby is a passion that deserves dedication. They do everything they can to promote the game and to get more people to experience the ellipsoid ball.

Rugby was born in England in the early 19th century, but the game was presented in Bulgaria a century later. In the 30s of the 20th century rugby progressed slowly in the country and the first championship was held in 1959. Today there are more than 40 rugby clubs in Bulgaria, as some are part of the Bulgarian Rugby Federation and others exist entirely on amateur basis. Despite the shortage of funds and fields, rugby continues its development in this country.

We learned more about this interesting game from Stefan Doychev - president of the Murphy's Misfits Rugby Club. He is also the captain of the men's team. The club was established in the spring of 2002 when in an Irish pub in Sofia, New Zealander Murray Te Huki offered a group of friends that they should play some rugby. He convinced them age did not matter. It all started almost as a joke, but soon new people were willing to join. Today, Murphy's Misfits is a serious club with a constitution, logo, etc. Over the years, the team included players from different parts of the world - people of various professions, living and working in Sofia. The core of the club now consists mainly of Bulgarians, but Murphy's Misfits remains an international team. It is not only a rugby club, but also a social club where friendship, respect and fun are an integral part of the atmosphere.

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We asked Stefan Doychev if Bulgarians were interested in the English game.

"Definitely when there is a big event like the Rugby World Cup or the Six Nations Championship, which includes the best European teams, there are more people showing interest in the sport. Accordingly, there are more wishing to participate in training. It is important for them to understand that this is not American football, as there are differences between the two sports. Another important thing is the existence of strict rules that protect the players. Rugby may seem aggressive or dangerous, but injuries are not more common in comparison to other sports. Children are also welcome and get easily used to the game. We have been working with a group of children; showing rugby to them. Everyone is welcome to try rugby, regardless of physique, age or gender. We even have a girl in the team."

The motto of Murphy's Misfits "Rugby is the Source" has its origins in the culture of surfers. The point is placing the given sport as basis for building timeless human values and qualities, ​​and using it as a source of friendship and respect. According to Murphy's Misfits, this philosophy largely applies to rugby. Team cohesion is one of the characteristics of the game that attracts loyal fans. This highly athletic sport helps in developing numerous qualities such as self-discipline, determination, team spirit and has an overall positive effect on body and mind.

Despite its long history, rugby has largely managed to preserve its non-commercial principles, particularly in Bulgaria. Across the world the sport was practiced at amateur level until 1995, and only after that rugby took the path of professional sports.

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In Olympic Games rugby was played in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924. This summer at the Olympics in Rio the game returned in the variant Rugby Sevens, which is a shorter and more dynamic version of the game with seven players in the team and 7-minute halves.

Millions of viewers worldwide have watched rugby at the Olympics and attractive matches have probably motivated someone in Bulgaria to visit a rugby training session for the first time. Stefan Doychev says no one would leave disappointed and without a smile on their face.

"Having the desire to play is the most important. You do not have to know anything about the game. It is good to like beer because it is part of rugby traditions. It is also important that one has fun. The team will take care of the rest. If someone comes with the desire to play rugby, they are given this opportunity. This is a basic principle in the ideology of Murphy's Misfits."

People who haven’t played rugby yet need to know about the so-called third half, which gives a team the chance to take revenge for a loss. This happens after the final whistle when opponents become good friends. Victory in the third half can be achieved with skills for fast beer drinking, loud singing, or in other games suitable for a bar.


English: Alexander Markov

Photos: Alexander Markov and murphysmisfits.org

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