NOTE: I will use "match" a lot to refer to games, but I know that rugby games are called "tests." Most of my research comes from Wikipedia. This is a VERY old blog post I had planned but never released. Evidence of this is in the fact there were old formatting codes I had used in the creation of this post.
--- Rugby at a Glance ---Let's talk rugby!
^ from: www.telegraph.co.uk - Get ready for fast-paced, hard-hitting football that only rugby can provide.
I was first introduced to rugby back in about... maybe 1999. My brother and I were watching FOX Sports World (now FOX Soccer Channel) when we would see matches involving some of the world's best rugby teams. I think I'd see a lot of New Zealand rugby.
Now when it comes to world rugby, I am most impartial to Tri-Nations Rugby. Tri-Nations Rugby has three of the finest clubs in the world: the South Africa Springboks, and of course- rivals Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All-Blacks. In fact, a lot of the South Pacific teams have some great rugby teams. Fiji comes to mind and even Tonga. Fiji is probably the only other South Pacific power in rugby besides New Zealand. One thing I always enjoy watching New Zealand rugby are the haka routines. The rivalry I most enjoy in rugby is the rivalry between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All-Blacks. From my research, what used to be Tri-Nations is now the Rugby Championship. The Rugby Championship is the South Africa Springboks, the Australia Wallabies, the New Zealand All-Blacks, and the Argentina Pumas.
As I began to learn more about other rugby teams worldwide. Watching YouTube videos and remembering certain other matches I've seen introduced me to other good rugby teams. They include (but are not limited to) England, Wales, and France among others. I think I have even seen Japan and Hong Kong in YouTube videos on rugby. As an American, I do cheer on America's rugby team. I would love to see the USA Rugby team become a power (or at least a contender) in the world rugby ranks.
College Rugby.Rugby is competitive even in the collegiate ranks. The men's championship has seen the Golden Bears of the University of California become a national power in men's rugby. The only other teams to be National Champions besides California include Texas A&M, Harvard, San Diego State, and Air Force. The women's side of collegiate rugby has mostly seen Stanford and Penn State as powerhouse programs. There are even championships in lower divisions for smaller schools.
The NCAA doesn't regulate rugby. It is instead regulated by the International Rugby Board, USA Rugby, and a handful of different unions.
Women's Rugby.Yes- there are female players not afraid to get physical on the rugby pitch! The ladies of rugby play about as hard as the men. How hard can girls play rugby? Here is a sample:
Ouch! Girls play just as hard as boys, you know!
--- Rugby Football vs. Gridiron Football ---Now comes the most common deal. What makes rugby different from traditional American football? Well, here are some of the biggest differences- no helmets, no pads, no first downs... everything is more on-the-fly and more fast-paced than a traditional game of gridiron football. There are also no plays, no timeouts, and you have two halves of play. You have two 40-minute halves in rugby compared to four 15-minute quarters. You have to be hockey player tough to play rugby. Basically, rugby is like basketball- fast-paced and physical.
Maybe you've seen a gridiron football game and heard of a pooch punt or a rugby punt. Such a punt (often also called a pooch punt in gridiron football) originated from rugby. It is a swift kick that sends the ball downfield from an athletic kicker. If you have seen an actual rugby test, you may see one team punt the ball to the other team even as they try to advance the ball.
Unlike the 11 players that take the field in gridiron football, rugby union features 15 players- eight forwards and seven backs that take the field at once. You don't have the usual offense, defense, and special teams like in gridiron football. And when it comes to possession, you are allowed six tackles as your team has possession in rugby league. Possession changes if you're tackled for a sixth time. There are lots of scrums in rugby to see who possesses the ball. Rugby usually allows you to have six tackles per possession much like you have four downs in gridiron football (or three downs for you Canadian Football League fans). There's only a scrum in gridiron football when there's a fumble.
In rugby, you have to down the ball in the end zone to score a try. You can either run into the end zone and put the ball down, slide into the end zone with the ball, or you can dive into the end zone with the ball. You just have to take the ball into the end zone and down it. Gridiron football just has you score a touchdown by possessing the ball or by crossing the plane. Try attempts can be reviewed from the booth much like in gridiron football. A try is worth five points. In gridiron football, you kick the ball from the opposing team's 3-yard line after a touchdown to score an extra point. In rugby, you can convert after a try to go for two more points. I am going to use answers.com to explain this because I am unsure how to explain conversions: conversions must be taken at least ten meters from the goal line and in a straight line from where the try was scored. The ball must be kicked between the uprights for the conversion to be successful. MUCH tougher than a simple extra point.
Oh, and if you want to know what rugby is like as far as hits are concerned, this video shows you the REAL difference between rugby football and gridiron football... ;)
And you think only American athletes hit hard? Think again! Remember- these guys don't wear helmets or pads. Got to love rugby! :D
I am not completely educated on rugby, so please feel free to correct me on things I get wrong. Do this for myself and for my many readers worldwide who visit John's Blog Space. Where are the loyal readers?
--- Rugby Sevens ---The way I understand sevens, it is seven-on-seven rugby with seven-minute halves. I read on Wikipedia that Sevens have 7-minute halves and a one-minute halftime. I have also read that the Sevens game originated in the Greenyards at Melrose in Scotland.
So this is VERY fast-paced. Here is a video sample of a Sevens match. It was a 2007 match between Fiji vs. New Zealand held in Hong Kong:
I guess for my fellow gridiron football fans, think of rugby sevens more like seven-on-seven football.
--- Rugby Football: Final Thoughts ---Rugby football is both gritty and exciting. Its fast pace and grueling nature make it exciting to watch. A good deal of physical prowess is needed to shine in rugby whether playing in Sevens or in a full rugby game. As an American, I do cheer on the USA Rugby team. I do want to see them become as fearful a team as most of the other powerful teams, such as New Zealand, Australia, England, Wales, France, and teams like that. Rugby football is really fun to watch from the passes and scrums to the tackles. So if you've never seen a game of rugby, you're in for something special. Trust me.
Resources.Here are some semi-random resources for you all in regards to rugby. Take a look:
• World Rugby and World Rugby Sevens Series
• World Rugby Shop
• USA Rugby and USA Women's Rugby
• USA College Rugby
• Rugby News on EuroSport
• Rugby Week
I will surely add more resources in edits. If there are any resources that you think my readers would benefit from with this topic, feel free to contact me online.
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