Rugby - A thug's game played by gentlemen

Seems like most games are on CNBC in the US. I’m kind of surprised by that. I figured they’d all be on Peacock with the demise of NBC Sports and the Olympics going on but it really seems like even NBC doesn’t care about the Olympics this time around.

Eleima wrote:

Six Nations starting up again! Anyone else watching? :)

I had a nap while the England game was on so I guess that keeps up that tradtion (I then went on to finish Dragon Age Inquistation) It was fun to see them get beat again by Scotland though.

(Yes I know I'm English but as a Rugby League fan, I have a weird relationship with English RU and all the evil they represent in English society)

Eleima wrote:

Six Nations starting up again! Anyone else watching? :)

Oh yes very pleased with the result on Saturday for the second year running In all honesty though i think It will be between Ireland and France based on the weekends performances.

Oh for sure, I’m very anxious about that one, and it will be mandatory watching over here! I wasn’t too ecstatic with the Bleus’ performance (though they played in white), so the outcome of the next match is really anyone’s guess.

I’ve got to say… I think it’s the first time I felt reall, really, really sorry for Italy. Ouch. That was painful to watch. Some great rugby though weekend! I was pleased by France’s performance, the Bleus usually have trouble playing at Murray Field!

France played very well. If Hogg had scored just before half time it might have been different but I was impressed by the French. They must be looking forward to a home World Cup. I understand why the uncontested scrum rule exists but if I was Italian I would be raging. All in all the championship is shaping up nicely although I can’t see anyone denying les Bleus everyone is playing well in the run up to next year.

Ah, so the world cup is next year? Cool!

It kinda sucks as an American wanting to get into Rugby. No idea what leagues to watch or where to stream them. Basically I just watch the Six Nations and Three (plus Arg) Nations and World Cup whenever they're on...and I watch them on the whim of when a torrent of the game becomes available.

You don't watch club rugby union as a casual, you watch the Internationals so you are doing it just fine.

If you can find them the Heineken Cup European games are excellent (and ill start by suggesting the Glasgow Warriors are where its at :))

Oh all I watch is Six Nations and the international World Cup, Mwdowns. So you’re good. And yeah, I’m ecstatic, looking forward to hosting next year and I’m hoping to catch some matches. Provided I can find some friends to go with. I don’t want to go by myself, to be honest.

GO FRANCE GO!!!!!!

Eleima wrote:

GO FRANCE GO!!!!!! :D

Congratulations!!The best team definitely won the whole tournament and I will be fascinated to watch France develop towards next summer. All in all I ended up disappointed with Scotland's showing, once again we are on the verge of a good team but just aren't getting the quality in a consistent fashion.

It's probably worth an honorable mentioned for 'last ditch' Italy's win over Wales on Saturday afternoon.

Prior to the game, Italy hadn't won a 6 Nations game in seven years, and there'd been mutterings about their future in the tournament. I hope they can go on to build on this next season.

Italy's 6 Nations record is here.

I mean it was nice that they won and all but it is a failed experiment, they went 7 years without a win and are far more likely to go another 7 than to win 2 in one tournment. Although still have them over South Africa, which was one the options.

Congrats France! Was super fun watching them play. Big fan of the Dupont fella.

Looking into that Heineken Cup thing. Games coming up in April. Hopefully they'll be on ESPN+.

onewild wrote:

I mean it was nice that they won and all but it is a failed experiment, they went 7 years without a win and are far more likely to go another 7 than to win 2 in one tournment. Although still have them over South Africa, which was one the options.

Perhaps it is a failed experiment, but then international rugby as a whole is largely a failed experiment to grow a sport.

Since 1987, there have been nine rugby world cups. The winners were:

New Zealand - 3 times
South Africa - 3 times
Australia - twice
England - once

The only other team to participate in a final is France (twice losers). And only two other teams have ever made the semi-finals: Wales (twice), and; Argentina (twice)

Put more bluntly, rugby has spent more than 30 years trying and failing to become a World sport.

I think I would like to see a promotion and relegation system to the 6 Nations. Georgia for the last few years have probably been the strongest of the teams outside the 6 nations in the geographical area and they should have been given a shot. I think it would also give those teams a good competitive tournament to play in with a genuine outcome and make for fewer dead rubbers in the 6 nations itself.

bbk1980 wrote:

I think I would like to see a promotion and relegation system to the 6 Nations. Georgia for the last few years have probably been the strongest of the teams outside the 6 nations in the geographical area and they should have been given a shot. I think it would also give those teams a good competitive tournament to play in with a genuine outcome and make for fewer dead rubbers in the 6 nations itself.

This sounds like a great idea. Would be cool to see something similar with the 3 Nations (and Arg)...though that tournament must be hell on travel. Something like Japan, Somoa, Arg play-in tournament. I don't know...I'm just being selfish in wanting to watch more international rugby.

bbk1980 wrote:

I think I would like to see a promotion and relegation system to the 6 Nations. Georgia for the last few years have probably been the strongest of the teams outside the 6 nations in the geographical area and they should have been given a shot. I think it would also give those teams a good competitive tournament to play in with a genuine outcome and make for fewer dead rubbers in the 6 nations itself.

I'm no (yet) persuaded that promotion to/relegation from the 6 Nations good idea. Since I've been a follower of the game, I've seen Romania, then Italy and now Georgie touted as deserving of a place in the tournament, but I'm not so sure.

Do we know what - if anything - is the gap between Italy and Georgia?
Does Georgia have sufficient resources to field a full side of 23 that can weather 6 Nations matches?
Does Georgia have the correct structures to deliver a steady pipeline of players to the national side? We've seen that Italy have had to look pretty far and wide to do this.

The risk is that Georgia and Italy simply swap 'leagues' every two years. Or, if there's a playoff, then Italy simply beat Georgia every year to retain their place in the top tier.

I

detroit20 wrote:
bbk1980 wrote:

I think I would like to see a promotion and relegation system to the 6 Nations. Georgia for the last few years have probably been the strongest of the teams outside the 6 nations in the geographical area and they should have been given a shot. I think it would also give those teams a good competitive tournament to play in with a genuine outcome and make for fewer dead rubbers in the 6 nations itself.

I'm no (yet) persuaded that promotion to/relegation from the 6 Nations good idea. Since I've been a follower of the game, I've seen Romania, then Italy and now Georgie touted as deserving of a place in the tournament, but I'm not so sure.

Do we know what - if anything - is the gap between Italy and Georgia?
Does Georgia have sufficient resources to field a full side of 23 that can weather 6 Nations matches?
Does Georgia have the correct structures to deliver a steady pipeline of players to the national side? We've seen that Italy have had to look pretty far and wide to do this.

The risk is that Georgia and Italy simply swap 'leagues' every two years. Or, if there's a playoff, then Italy simply beat Georgia every year to retain their place in the top tier.

Its a tricky one, I think they have only played directly twice in the last decade and not since 2018. That forms part of the problem because if second string teams cant get competitive games they will never improve or increase interest in the sport.

I 100% agree though there isn't much point in them being whipping boys yo yoing up and down.

I would just like to see a genuine attempt to grow the sport in these countries and make the top tier seem accessible to these countries, Argentina competing in the Rugby Championship has really improved their game and I think it could help other nations .

bbk1980 wrote:

... I would just like to see a genuine attempt to grow the sport in these countries and make the top tier seem accessible to these countries, Argentina competing in the Rugby Championship has really improved their game and I think it could help other nations .

The word 'genuine' is having to do a lot of work in that sentence.

The problem, as always, is money. Rugby's financial 'cake' simply isn't big enough to support the development of the Tier 2 nations.

You need a lot of investment to build the kinds of structures that introduce players to the game, identify and develop (AND pay) the best talent, and then create a consistently competitive national side. But there's barely enough to keep the established Tier 1 nations going.

Last year, of course, the New Zealand RFU flogged off a stake in the All Blacks commercial arm. And it's well-known how important Lions tours are both to the host Union and the host country.

Argentina's steady improvement have been a welcome bright spot. But, if anything, I think the global game is going backwards. Look at the waning of Samoa, Fiji and Tonga as forces in the 15-a-side game. Personally, I can't remember the last time that those sides consistently delivered upset results. And the USA remains a potential future force that never delivers its potential.

The problem, of course, is that it's a 'chicken and egg' situation. TV and sponsorship revenues won't be drawn in until the product is good (i.e. consistently, competitive), but the product won't be good until there are sizeable revenues.

Easy to diagnose. Hard to resolve. Rugby's been working on the problem for 27 years...

All fair points. If we could just redistribute a portion of the English RFU income which is huge compared to everywhere else and stop countries nicking the best south sea islanders we could get somewhere.

In all seriousness it is very difficult and living in as football centric city as Glasgow I see it more than most and maybe rugby will always be a smaller sport. I’ll still love it all the same.

detroit20 wrote:

And the USA remains a potential future force that never delivers its potential.

Relatively new rugby fan (and American) here who stumbled on the Premiership a few years ago (I still wonder how the Saries more or less got away with completely stomping on the salary cap) and have become obsessed by the Six Nations, Italy's futility (until the Wales game - what a finish!), Marcus Smith's hair, Owen Farrell's dickishness and the number of Barretts who play for the All Blacks. Also Antoine Dupont.

Anyhoo, there seems to be no interest in domestic rugby in the US beyond a couple of my neighbors who went to the WC in England a few years back. Oh, sure, rugby is played at some colleges, and there are rumors that a pro league exists, but all of the full-contact sports talent in this country goes to (American) football at an early age. The developmental track for football (high school to college to the pros) is much like the rugby track. Yeah, the US has some talent at 7s, but it's a different sport and even more of a niche than rugby league.

The best parallel to rugby gaining US interest might be the other football -- aka soccer. It was touted for years as the Next Big Sport in the US. Hell, I was hearing that crap as a child of the '70s. But soccer didn't really seem to take off until the Premier League started being televised here (and all the old farts who didn't view soccer as a serious sport died). Then soccer was cool! It also helped that live games were aired on Saturday and Sunday mornings on the East Coast, which meant it wasn't competing with college or pro football.

I think the only way rugby takes off in the US is if folks get to see regularly the good rugby that's played in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere and not the knock-off domestic version.

I can't help you with the rest of the world. Maybe the new national team switching laws will help the Samoas and the Tongas of the world?

So the 2031 World Cup is going to the USA and moving to earlier in the summer to avoid the NFL season. It will be interesting to see if this makes any dents in developing a new market.

In other news if you haven't seen this;

It is well worth your time. I have seen Arundell play a few times now and am currently figuring out how to persuade him to play for Scotland given his ancestry.

bbk1980 wrote:

So the 2031 World Cup is going to the USA and moving to earlier in the summer to avoid the NFL season. It will be interesting to see if this makes any dents in developing a new market.

In other news if you haven't seen this;

[video of a superb try] ...

There were a ton of great tries last weekend, two of them from the Racing game alone.

As for the World Cup announcement, it barely made a dent in the US sporting world. The biggest sports news of the day? Release of the 2022 NFL schedule, I kid you not.

As for the dates, ESPN is reporting that the US event probably will be held in the traditional Oct-Nov window, which puts it up against NFL and college football (which could be a problem) and the World Series (which isn't because baseball is fast becoming a niche sport). It's honestly hard to schedule around the NFL, which is essentially a year-round operation these days. But if they try to hold the WC games in July-August-September in the southern US, a bunch of places (Texas, Florida, ATL, Charlotte, even DC) will be too miserable for rugby.

Enix wrote:

As for the World Cup announcement, it barely made a dent in the US sporting world. The biggest sports news of the day? Release of the 2022 NFL schedule, I kid you not.

As for the dates, ESPN is reporting that the US event probably will be held in the traditional Oct-Nov window, which puts it up against NFL and college football (which could be a problem) and the World Series (which isn't because baseball is fast becoming a niche sport). It's honestly hard to schedule around the NFL, which is essentially a year-round operation these days. But if they try to hold the WC games in July-August-September in the southern US, a bunch of places (Texas, Florida, ATL, Charlotte, even DC) will be too miserable for rugby.

That’s quite depressing I really hope the authorities manage to land this well but I’m not confident. There are lessons to be learned from footballs growth in the states but it’s looking like an uphill struggle. At least if I start saving for travel now I might be able to get tickets for a few games!

So, what is this from? Like a tournament? What rugby can I watch now?