Stem Cell’s World Cup

UnknownRugby is not an obvious futurepills topic but as the World Cup is upon us it is pushing my health and nostalgia buttons.
Sporting endeavour is daily source of fund-raising and there’s all sorts going on around the 2015 tournament.
But the UK Stem Cell Foundation ( is benefitting from a gentle form of the high impact game – table rugby. No flying boots involved in this indoor game which involves coins and a flat table. A ‘world cup’ of table rugby is being organised by to raise funds for stem cell research, which is worth supporting (
Stem Cell research is crucial part of the future of health and medicine and funds from this charity push will go to two projects including work by Professor Brendon Noble, of the University of St Mark and St John ( to derive bone and cartilage-forming cells from human embryonic stem cells and autologuous adult stem cells. The research could lead to new treatments for millions of people worldwide who are affected by conditions such as arthritis as well as having huge implications for cartilage sports injuries.
It’s just one part of a ‘bionic’ feature which is exciting when applied to corrosive conditions that cause misery and cost fortunes to treat.
That’s the health bit; the nostalgia? As a kid we played a game called matchbox rugby which provided hours (well, minutes) of fun back in the dark ages. It’s obviously V1 of table rugby but it had an extra dynamic. In the current Stem Cell Research-boosting new version a player shoves a coin across the table and if it rests over the edge, it’s a try which is followed by a flick over the opponents finger for the conversion.
Back in matchbox rugby days the try rules were the same but the conversion bit was the big fun. The opponent had to make rugby posts by pointing index fingers down on the table and position the thumbs together – the conversion came by angling the matchbox over one hand and finger flicking with the other; the force generated could be impressive and the intention, as well as scoring extra points by clearing the thumb crossbar, was to welly it into the opponents face…very popular pastime pre computer games. Not quite Grand Theft Auto in terms of thrills but it was cheap and cheerful.
I’m sure table rugby complies with health and safety but most important aspect is that its helping raise funds for a very important part of our future.
If you get a chance to have a tournament at work or among friends, you could find a new ‘sport’ that doesn’t involve bone-jarring jeopardy. Get playing!