Rugby has often in the past had to share the talents of her players with their other interests and skills in life.
Rugby has had doctors, lawyers, accountants, models and businessmen. No engineers that I can think of which is a point to ponder over a few beers sometime.
But I digress. The Eastendlife reports on my teammate Ben Smith at my rugby club and his other “special” talent. Just to show we can do more than grunt around the pitch. Some great piss-takes in there too.
AUSSIE Ben Smith normally spends his weekend’s playing for Millwall Rugby Club but the Easter break meant he could indulge his other passion – marbles.
The 27-year-old Millwall back represented Australia in the 2008 marbles Championship in Tinsley Green, West Sussex, in the less than glamorous surrounds of a pub car park.
Interest in the tournament was high and the Australians made a bright start.
They eased past CBBC 6-1 before coming up against reigning champions and three-times winners 1st MC Erzgebirge, from Germany.
Despite their obvious enthusiasm, the Australians were no match for their more experienced opponents and were knocked out in the second round.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Aussies though, as Smith came sixth out of more than 100 marbathletes, from 21 countries, in the individual final.
Smith, who arrived in London in 2004 and works for the NHS as an echocardiographer, has played 45 matches for the Isle of Dogs side and is hoping to finish the season strongly as Millwall’s first team need two victories from their final two games to confirm their place in Essex 1 for next season.
Now he hopes his marble heroics can spill over to the rugby field.
“There were over 20 teams in this tournament and the standard of play and showmanship was outstanding,” he said.
Marbles might not carry the same prestige playing at Twickenham would, but Smith said he was immensely proud to don the green and gold like many of his heroes.
“To be able to be mentioned in the same breath as John Eales, George Gregan, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh is very satisfying,” he joked.
“Being ranked in the top ten in the world is one of the highest honours I’ve ever achieved,” said the Tower Hamlets resident.
Smith’s marbles teammate Brendan Done, another Millwall player, has now represented his country at two sports having played rugby league for the Australian Universities.Tweet