Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective
Ahhh, the dog days of summer. Not a whole heck of alot going on in the rugby world these days. Certainly not much to report on. I watched a great South Africa/All Blacks match this weekend. Their first meeting of the Tri Nations did little to backup the validity of the new ELV’s, but this match certainly had a different look to it. As I watched each team take their quick taps and push the tempo of the watch, I couldn’t help but wonder if the SANZAR Officials gave them a direct order to do so. Another plodding match and the Northern Hemishpere Unions would have some extra firepower in the war against the ELV’s.
The scant few ELV’s that we’ll be playing with in a few weeks are just window dressing. Outside of the 5 meter rule at the scrums, they’ll have little effect on what we do. Although the 5 meters at the scrum will be exploited by savvy clubs. When the quick tap penalties hit our shores, then the game will be transformed. I’m still fairly torn on them as well. I’m not certain they are the way forward, but I’m not entirely against them either. One thing I am worried about is watching monstrous scorelines as out of shape clubs are ran off the pitch by more opportunistic and fit opponents. I guess that there is no need to worry about that until the full set of ELV’s are approved though. For now, we’ll make do with the ones we have.
On the US front, the next two rounds of the NA4 are set to play this week in British Columbia (Tuesday & Saturday). I’m looking to see how much the Hawks and Falcons improve upon their first outing. My home PC seems to struggle with the online video through the NA4 website, so I’ve only gotton to watch spotty patches of the match last week between the two US sides. I expect both to improve and would not be surprised to see both clubs come away with at least one win this week. A winless week and the hounds will be out for them. Not here though. I’m going to stay behind them 100% even though I can’t buy any of their merchandise (hint… hint). I’m staggered by how much slag the clubs have gotten online from all of the armchair flyhalves. The US finally picks some young guys, in what looks much more like developemental squads, and they still get the stick. Win or lose, I’m just happy to see some young talent getting a look. I really had no interest in watching another set of older players in the NA4.
Let’s see… what else? A bunch of 7’s action going on around the nation, but I just don’t get charged about 7’s. It’s fun to play and I even enjoy watching it a bit, but 15’s is what does it for me.
I heard the latest issue of Rugby World has some bits on the future of Super Rugby and how the USA fits into the puzzle. I’ll have to swing by Border’s this week and see if I can pick it up. If there’s anything that sparks a flame in my head, I’ll be sure to post it here.