Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Enjoying the Rugby World Cup

To the detriment of just about everything else, I have been completely distracted by the Rugby World Cup. This is presently underway in New Zealand, featuring twenty national teams.

  Fifteen a side Rugby is a strange game played by people who you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. It's not that the players are bad, simply large!

Ninety three countries are listed on the world Rugby rankings, with Finland at 93 scoring a 27.7 ranking. This compares to New Zealand as present number one on 90.55 points. Needless to say, you won't hear much about Finnish Rugby!

Traditionally, the World Cup has been dominated by a small number of top teams. The so-called minnows who make it to the tournament through the qualifying process played in zones around the world - the top teams are automatically included - usually get demolished by the fully professional top group.

I have always enjoyed watching the minnows play. Even when defeated by huge margins, they often play entertaining Rugby. Playing each other, you get some fun Rugby as compared to the sometimes gritty and dour top performances.

This year, the performance so far by the minnows has been remarkably good. They haven't won against the top teams, but they have played some very good and entertaining Rugby.

Unlike League, the rival Rugby code, Union is a genuine international game. Underpinned by professional competitions in Europe and the Southern hemisphere, the IRB has been investing in spreading the game. This seems to be working.

Like so many international sports, Rugby began in England and then spread throughout the Empire and beyond. As an international sport, too, players originally from one country end up playing for another.

It's interesting with sport how genes dictate performance. Just as those of African or Caribbean ancestry dominate certain track events, so big boned Pacific Islanders are spreading throughout world rugby.

I have left the best to last. Eldest is taking me to New Zealand to watch Australia playing Ireland! We leave Thursday, back early Monday morning. I am really looking forward to it.              


Anonymous said...

Well that made me smile. Good for Eldest!

Hope you thoroughly enjoy it, never mind who wins.


Jim Belshaw said...

Absolutely, kvd!