Sam Perkins takes you behind the scenes at Blackheath RFC…

Returning to Greenwich for University in September was a chance for a fresh start in the fitness department, what better than to get into a passionate rough sport? My first thought was Croquet, but I can’t be trusted with a wooden mallet, so Rugby was my next option. I’m not complaining, Rugby is my favourite game to play, there’s no other sport you can be so physical and yet still have a drink with your opposing number joking about the illegal eye pull he gave you in the scrum.

So Rugby it was. East London has a lot of lower league rugby clubs, with very good reputations, but no more than the oldest RFC in the country, Blackheath. In fact it is the oldest open rugby club in the world established 1858. Please visit to find out more history on the club.

The next thing was to train, and boy was I not prepared! I haven’t done any significant physical exercise since school, so three years on I am unfit, fast-food minded and looking for the quickest route anywhere, bus, car, jetpack… anything but walking. I turn up and 30 big, strapping, fit guys start a typical training session led by some clearly experienced veterans of the game. The best thing about rugby is it is an open game for everyone, if you don’t mind getting dirty. And although I’m quite unknown to it still with slight school experience and 1 weeks training session under my belt, it seems to be played by gentlemen. I was welcomed along with other newcomers into the game, and not slowly either. Sorry to quote you coach, “I’m not going to go easy on you. I’m going to make you pay this week.”

The next day I felt like Robocop with arthritis and a boomerang spine. Wait until the next blog where every other letter will be missing because I’ve had two fingers amputated.

“Football is a gentlemen’s game played by thugs, Rugby is a thugs game played by gentlemen.” Very old saying that my Dad always reminds me of.