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Rugby’s Six Nations Comes to Town

Rugby - fans 2Ian DuncanMembers of the Village Lions take refreshment.

Just in case it has escaped your attention, we are deep into rugby’s Six Nations tournament, an annual contest fought out by England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. No fancy ads, no halftime shows, just 30 burly, unhelmeted Europeans butting heads every weekend until March 19.

Even though the sport’s popularity with Americans has grown steadily in the last few years, for me – an Englishman new to the neighborhood – finding somewhere to watch the games took some sleuthing. The time difference with Europe, where the games take place at a more hangover-friendly hour in the afternoon, only makes things more difficult.

Luckily, on Google, I turned up Bret Costain, president of the Village Lions rugby club, and found that I wouldn’t have to go far. His friend and clubmate, Peter Cavanaugh, shows the games in full-HD, of course, on a screen above the smooth, pale wood bar at Dorian Gray, a saloon on East Fourth Street between Avenues A and B, which he opened on New Year’s Eve.

On Saturday, at the ungodly hour of 9:30 a.m., the earliest I’ve been up on a weekend since coming to New York, I walked through deserted East Village streets to join members of the club and Mr. Cavanaugh as Wales routed Scotland 24-6 in its first victory after eight straight losses. Read more…