`Football fan` Pope Francis hails rugby as metaphor for life

Johannesburg: Pope Francis, who is a self-confessed football fanatic, has expressed his admiration for rugby, saying that although it is hard to watch the rugby `scrums` play sometimes, playing the game is no `walk in the park` and that the game is a `metaphor for life`.

The Vatican is seeking to increase its ties with the world of sports in `new ways of bringing the Gospel` and it is seeking to draw parallels between sporting values and spiritual ones.

According to Sport24, the Argentine pontiff, a former basketball player in his youth, said as rugby is `no walk in the park`, it thus is useful to toughen the spirit and the will of the individuals, adding that rugby makes one think of life as in their entire lives, people are headed for a goal.

Hailing the sport`s `loyalty and respect`, the Pope also said that the players are the `famous scrums` who are sometimes hard to watch.

The report mentioned that since his election in March, the Pope has pushed for sports to take a more prominent place in the Church, championing team games as good for mind, body and soul and calling for more `spiritual athletes`

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