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Archive for the ‘Rugby’


Can Australia Reclaim Their Place at Rugby’s Top Table? 0

Posted on September 24, 2019 by David Hay

It’s been a strange few years for Australian rugby. Since reaching the World Cup final in 2015, where they lost out to New Zealand, the Wallabies have experienced something of a decline. Where once Australia were one of the most feared sides in world rugby, results have become more hit-and-miss, with every step forward seemingly being tempered by two steps back.

A recent victory over New Zealand in the Rugby Championship will have given hope to Aussie rugby fans that brighter times may lie on the horizon, but there could be a ways to go before we can consider Australia on the same level as New Zealand, South Africa, and Wales.

The upcoming World Cup offers Australia the perfect chance to reaffirm their traditional place as one of the top three or four teams in the world. The latest world rugby rankings have Australia in sixth position, but a strong showing in Japan could see the Wallabies rise up the ladder towards the top once again, even if the latest Rugby Union odds from Betfair cast the Aussies as outsiders.

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Breakdowns of the Teams in the 2019 Six Nations 0

Posted on January 03, 2019 by Jack Rose

6 nations-2England

England may go into the tournament with low confidence if their recent run of defeats continues. Despite that, they have a very strong squad and their admirably reliable kicker Owen Farrell provides outstanding leadership from anywhere on the pitch, be it in the centre or at fly half. Farrell will look to push his side to victory next spring after a disappointing outing in this year’s tournament with England finishing fifth overall.

Exciting duo Elliot Daly and Jonny May bring a touch of flair to the side and their form in the tournament, along with the team fixing their recent defensive frailties, will have a big impact on England’s success this time out. England rugby could use a lift after some disappointing results and the Six Nations is the perfect opportunity to return to the top.

Ireland

Irish rugby is in a healthy state at the moment as evidenced by some impressive performances recently, most notably a victory against New Zealand in a friendly, only their second ever win against the All Blacks. A glorious grand slam win of this year’s Six Nations, in which they defeated all five opponents, has resulted in them being the huge favourites in the next tournament. The Irish are currently ranked number two in the rankings.

Hugely experienced full back Rob Kearney has been imperative to that recent success. The most decorated player in Ireland’s history, Kearney has over 80 caps for his country and provides the experienced knowhow crucial to being a successful number 15. Read the rest of this entry →

Is Rugby on the Verge of Something Big? 2

Posted on August 31, 2017 by John Harris

One of the 10 most popular sports globally, rugby is gaining in popularity in the United States.

One of the 10 most popular sports globally, rugby is gaining in popularity in the United States.

Rugby is one of the world’s ten most popular sports but, until now, with a few exceptions, it has largely been dominated by countries from the Commonwealth.

That could be all set to change, though, as the US looks ready to embrace “the hooligan’s game played by gentlemen.”

Increasing popularity in the US

Rugby has long been established on this side of the Atlantic, with the men’s national team featuring in all but one of the Rugby World Cups held since the tournament’s establishment in 1987.

With record crowds attending international tournaments and a ten-fold increase in participation among college students over the past ten years, it’s clear that rugby has tapped into a new market in the US. But why is this, and can it break the “Big Four” monopoly over here?

The future of US rugby

American football, baseball and basketball are the traditional US sports that the majority of the country has an interest in, while ice hockey is popular in Canada and the northern states. Soccer, with the help of the 1994 World Cup, Major League Soccer, and the involvement of British stars such as David Beckham and Steven Gerrard, has joined them in recent years, and rugby could also be making a play to break into this top tier.

115,000 players are registered with US rugby – a significant player base to tap into considering the multitude of sports that are played. Compare that to Australia, traditionally one of the best sides in the world. Though the population is obviously much smaller, only 86,000 are registered Down Under. More and more clubs are being set up and, despite the demise of PRO Rugby (the first North American professional rugby league) in 2016, it’s surely only a matter of time until a successful domestic competition is established.

Last year, Soldier Field in Chicago played host to Ireland v New Zealand, a historic game that saw the Boys in Green defeat the All Blacks for the first time in their history. The attendance was over 60,000 – a sure sign that rugby now has a significant audience in the US. Read the rest of this entry →

5 Once In A Lifetime Sporting Experiences To Tick Off 2

Posted on June 01, 2017 by John Harris

5-Experiences-1Being a sports fan comes with passion, dedication, heartbreak, and ecstasy. It is a lifestyle littered with the unpredictable. But no matter who you support or what sport you play, there is one thing all sports fans can agree on; live events always offer up the best experiences you’ll ever be apart of. That’s why we have compiled a list of some absolutely must-have experiences every sports nut should soak up in person, with your own eyes; your heart beating so hard you can see it through your shirt.

5-Experiences-2The Kentucky Derby

Being in the infield at the Kentucky Derby is one of those rare experiences that you are likely to never forget, and yet may not remember either. The atmosphere, the booze, the suave suits and crazy hats and the big bucks get thrown down. It is electric. Yes, there is something nice and fancy about being in a suite, but nothing beats being in the middle of drunken horse-racing fans, cheering and jeering their horse with the dreams of leaving a little richer. Read the rest of this entry →

British and Irish Lions – Then and Now 0

Posted on May 08, 2017 by John Harris

British and Irish LionsThe British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team that comprises players from any of the Home Nations, i.e. England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. With their 2017 New Zealand tour coming up, we’ve decided to take a walk down memory lane and uncover some of the key moments in this Test side’s history.

1950 – The team became known as the British Lions rather than the British Isles. This was the first time in 14 years that the Lions had toured and lasted nearly 8 months.

1955 – During the 1955 season, the Lions went up against the South African Springboks in a rare shared series. This year, the Lions made history by featuring Irish winger Tony O’Reilly, the team’s youngest test player at the age of 19 years and 91 days.

1959 – The Australian tour as straightforward from the beginning, but since the League was a far bigger game than the Union games; the team lost the series to New Zealand.

1962 – During this tour the Lions visited Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya after losing to the South African Springboks.

1966 – This was the last year the Lions played against two nations on one trip, namely Australia and New Zealand.

1968 – This was a disappointing tour for the Lions. First, they lost to South Africa, and then many of its members left the team to play Rugby League professionally once they returned home.

1971 – This was a glorious year for the Lions as Coach Carwin James inspired the team to their only series win in New Zealand.

1974 – This was one of the most successful tours in Lions’ history, but a disallowed Fergus Slattery try in the final minute resulted in a loss for the side.

1977 – The team was plagued with injuries and homesickness during the 1977 tour. Things got so bad that the Lions even lost to Fiji on their way home. Read the rest of this entry →

Sports Betting History Examined- Now and Then 0

Posted on March 07, 2017 by Beth Casey

gladiators-1The Early History of Sports Betting

Sports betting is thought to be a very old practice: the first evidence of its existence is over 2 000 years old. The first nation to be believed to indulge in this pastime were the Greeks, famous for their love of sporting activities, who used to place bets on a variety of athletic events.

The Romans then went on to usurp this Grecian habit, taking it further by rendering it a more commercial activity. They even assigned it a legal status, and bet on events like the Gladiator games. Even when this event ceased to be practiced, the gambling aspect of it survived, and went on to thrive in the various kingdoms the Romans established.

The Medieval Wagering Practices

In medieval times, some leaders frowned upon the practice of betting, and attempts were made to make laws forbidding it. This, however, only resulted in sports betting going underground, where it persisted, and underwent major evolutionary steps as new athletic activities were introduced.

Sporting Betting in England and Surrounds

Eventually gambling took off in England, with people there particularly fond of betting on horse racing events. The English took this love of gambling with them when they populated the rest of the planet, particularly the United States of America, and it was incredibly common with the inhabitants of the New World. Legal issues once again plagued the practice, however, a problematic situation that continues for American sports bettors today. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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