My all-time favorite rugby match. Wales vs. New Zealand 2003 World Cup
If you only ever watch one rugby match, watch this one. From the national anthems and the haka to the wonderful play this video has everything that makes rugby the greatest of games.
Wales and New Zealand (the All Blacks) were in the same pool and both stood at 3-0 having beaten Italy, Canada & Tonga. So both teams were headed for the quarter finals but the loser would play England. New Zealand had breezed through their pool play and needed a tougher match to tune up the starters. Wales, on the other hand, had a much more difficult time and needed to rest some players. Wales were criticized for making ten changes and were accused of 'throwing' the match. Nothing could be further from the truth, as you will see.
Six nations are England, Ireland (unified north & south), Wales, Scotland, France and Italy. It is an annual competition and is the highest level of rugby in the northern hemisphere.
This first clip is a promo for the 2013 competition. If you like hype you'll go for this. The others are entertaining rather than educational and set to music. PS. Dump tackles, as shown, are strictly illegal and will result in a red card ejection and usually a 30 day ban from the game. A dump tackle, also called tip or spear, is where the tackled player lands on his shoulders, neck or head.
Sale is ahead 15 - 10 over the Ospreys, closing minutes of the match. Ospreys have a line-out and gain possession. They demonstrate great patience and, although within striking distance of goal, wait for their chances to go forward. Error free ball handling and great running to stay in support allows them to keep the ball in play.
Note that a Sale player gets a leg cramp and the trainers are allowed to run on and assist him. Play goes on around him as he is attended to. The referee would only stop play if the injury was serious or he was in danger from the play.
These guys are some of my favorite players. OK, so most of them are fast guys with moves. And I think I have an All Black bias. Not ashamed of it but my favorite under dog will always be Wales even when they are the Six Nations champs.
Shane Williams. Welsh winger.
I freely admit that Shane Williams is at the top of my favorite player list. However he doesn't rank just because he scores tries with amazing speed and footwork. He earns my admiration as a complete rugby player who is always working and always finding a way to be where the ball is. Wingers take note: If you're not getting the ball it's your job to go find it!
OK, not "great". But he is quick. Carlin Isles is a convert to rugby (7s only at this point) from track and is making a name for himself on the international circuit. Not hugely skilled yet, but fun to watch. Isles parlayed his rugby exposure into a contract with the Detroit Lions. Hope he does well just as he did well for USA Rugby
These interviews support a common opinion that playing rugby will enhance the skills needed for football. It starts with a High School football coach telling about the dramatic improvement in his team after they started playing rugby in the off-season.