Rugby is not a game I watched growing up. Living in France I watched it from time to time – usually when the national team was playing in a tournament. But France wasn’t exactly the powerhouse that some of the other countries were.

But then we lived in Kenya and my son started playing at school. When kids play a game it is often reduced to its bare elements. In the case of rugby, it is the three main elements: running, passing and tackling. And kids are usually fast and not great at tackling so there’s a lot of scoring. My own son was small but has that little kid’s slippery quickness that meant he could evade tackles and score.

But the team at the French school was no match for the powerhouses of the English and Kenyan academies and in the tournaments the quick kids would get tackled hard. And their little bodies didn’t have the mass to stop anyone it seemed.

So we put rugby aside until coming to Montpellier where we have a team that plays a few minutes away and, possibly because a: it’s rugby and not football and b: well the team’s not very good, the tickets are available and pretty cheap.

So we go to a game. The only other game I had been to was at this stadium years ago and Montpellier lost a slog of a game in the cold and rain. This time it was bright and sunny and although the team was ranked 13 out of 14 the opponent, Bayonne, was not much better.

And so the two teams went at it and scored plenty of tries (points). Bayonne went on a run and took the lead but Montpellier came back for a satisfying win. The whole affair took barely 2 hours – with only a brief pause at halftime, and we left happy.

But was it exciting? Well yes. The whole game is centered on the teams lining up and slowly moving the ball forward – a couple steps and then falls in a tackle, giving the ball to another guy and repeat. And it plods on until, for a brief moment, a player breaks through the line and runs forward. And maybe he’s tackled from behind, but maybe he’s able to pass to another guy and then they score. Cheers. That’s it. A simple joy of watching a guy run fast. It’s universal. It’s sports.