In the 19th century the very British game of rugby football was adopted successfully throughout her Dominions; by 1906, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were regularly beating us at our own game. In the years preceding the First World War, rugby tried to conquer territories closer to home with expeditionary forays into Continental Europe.
It has been well documented how the new competition will be formatted but to recap - there will be seven teams from the Pro12, six teams each from the Aviva Premiership and the French Top 14, with a seventh place available to one of them based on a play-off.
You can look at pretty much every student website and 'lad culture' will be mentioned in various contexts. What I wanted to question is, are university rugby teams perhaps deemed the main perpetrators of it?
Much recent writing on the Great War has veered between the highest-ranked and the humble: a determined rehabilitation of Haig at one end, with plain-spoken voices from the ranks at the other, whether individual Tommies who survived to tell their story, or whole battalions of 'Pals'. Lost in all this has been the story of the men arguably most responsible for British obduracy and eventual success - the officers of the line.
If Rugby Sevens continues to grow on this trajectory, we might even see more numbers from the host nation follow in the tradition of William Webb Ellis and pick up a ball and run with it, rather than kick it, by the time the Olympics comes back around.
So what do you do when you bump into Mickey Rourke in a bar? You become his good mate, visit him in his LA mansion and then you retire from your rugby career and follow your dream of becoming a film star. Not something that happens to many of us, but this is the lucky story of prop Keith Mason who has just recently retired from Rugby League.
University sports teams are everywhere. A firm believer in the healthy body, healthy mind mantra, I turned up at the sports freshers push with open arms only to be confronted by almost comical stereotypes. Boxing babes brandishing gloves, tennis totty trying to grab your attention, and water polo wonders in Speedos - that's enough.
If there's one certainty about the Six Nations it is that the emotional journey of Scottish fans will swing between despair and ecstasy and Scotland's 51-3 defeat to Wales last Saturday brought the curtain down on another campaign which ran the usual gambit of emotions...
It's St Patrick's weekend in Northern Ireland, and the lawnmowers are limbering up. For a week or two, now, the rainfall has slowed, the birds have been singing for nesting territory, and underpinning their chorus is that lower, guttural sound: the growling of the First Lawnmowers of Spring.
It does occur to me that maybe, just maybe taking to the social media airwaves in the lead up to any big bruising encounter isn't perhaps the best preparation they could get involved with, given that not everyone has positive things to say all the time.
One book I don't regret asking for last Christmas was the auto-biography of Ricky Hatton, War and Peace. Though not primarily for Boxing reasons, since his last book covered his fighting career all the way to the Mayweather fight, and since then he's only boxed four times.
I was fortunate enough to see Sam Burgess in action early on in his career. I first saw him as a wet behind the ears forward playing for Bradford Bulls in Super League and even at such a young age you could tell he was a man apart.
The All Black rugby player had been locked in his room for days, shutting out all contact with friends, family and fellow players. It was 4am when he finally picked up the phone to call a helpline. The reply at the other end was simple, "hello friend". It started a process that led to therapy that has been helping to change the life of Brent Pope for many years.
Alternate proposals to fill the void left by an absent European Cup have considerably more failings than any imperfections they were dreamt up to fix. Remember that the two main reasons for the current European shambles are a dissatisfaction with the lack of meritocracy, and a skewed distribution of remuneration.
Squash - just an old man's game, isn't it? That's the common refrain I get - or I sense people are thinking but too polite to say - when I mention that I play, watch or - as I'm now starting to do - report on the game.
For international football, the conclusion to be drawn from finding 11,809 people turning out to watch a cheap game featuring Gareth Bale in any way encouraging is not a promising one. With clubs long since deserting national sides and players following suit, even the fans have now begun to abandon it too.