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Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Canu'r dydd a canu'r nos




Rugby is without dispute the greatest sport in the history of forever. Invented in 1823 by a small boy who got tired of kicking in football, the game quickly evolved into the graceful, distinguished ballet we all know and love today. Rugby is played by two sides of 15 men (with reserve players on the bench in case of injury, exhaustion or being a bit poo poo), who proceed to spend 80 minutes pretending to be chasing an egg shaped ball around the field as an excuse for thudding into each other at high speed just to hear that cool smacking noise of the collision.

The rules are simple, you want to get the ball and get over the other team's line to score. The other team thinks this is total bullshit and will do everything they can to stop this, which mostly involves sending gigantic cubes of man-meat hurtling at great velocity at the scrappy little fly-half who is seriously reconsidering his life-choices as he zips towards them.

Teams are divided into forwards and backs though they are all on the field at the same time. Forwards are the first line of defense/offense for a team - they're traditionally carved out of stone or - if no stone is available - a bear is dragged out of hibernation, shaved, shoved into spiked boots and shoved bewildered out onto the field of play. Backs are the faster, more agile players who get all the glory, money and women that come part and parcel with the glamorous, sophisticated and highly dignified world of Professional Rugby. The backs are traditionally the players who zoom past the startled, exhausted forwards to get over the line, though they are also often the guys who kick the ball back to the other team in terror when they see a forward thundering towards them ready to devour them. The fullback is the greatest coward there is in Rugby, a man to be pitied and loathed, and never trusted.

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Upcoming Fixtures Of Great Interest

18 August – Australia vs New Zealand (Rugby Championship)
25 August – New Zealand vs Australia (Rugby Championship)

07 September – Ulster vs Munster (Irish Derby)
08 September – Australia vs South Africa (Rugby Championship)
15 September – Dragons vs Blues (East Wales Derby)
15 September – New Zealand vs South Africa (Rugby Championship)
21 September – Scarlets vs Ospreys (West Wales Derby)
29 September – South Africa vs Australia (Rugby Championship)

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Previous Threads
Rugby Union 2011 Thread
Let's All Watch The Rugby Football
Rugby Player Thread

Selected Viewing From The 2012 Season
Wales vs Australia (2nd Test, 2012)
Leinster vs Ospreys (2012 Rabodirect Pro 12 Final)
Hurricanes vs Cheetahs (Super Rugby Round 6)



Each team is trying to get control of the ball, and carry it across the opponent's Try Line to score points. Once the ball crosses the line, a player has to place the ball on the ground, in order to score a “try”. Once a try is scored, the scoring team gets 5 points, and a chance to take a shot at goal, which is worth an extra 2 points.

The team carrying the ball will try and run or push towards the goal line, and pass the ball between players. You can only pass the ball to players behind behind you, so the team with the ball will usually stand in a “V” formation, to help pass the ball to the wingers as efficiently as possible. The defending team will form a straight line across the pitch, and try to tackle the ball carrier.

When the player with the ball is tackled to the ground, both teams crowd around him and form a Big Pushing Contest, called a Ruck, where the attacking team will try and push defenders away from the ball long enough for the Scrum Half to safely pick it up. The defending team try and push themselves over the top of the the ball, so they can gain control of it.

Players are allowed to kick the ball forwards, to try and gain territory, or to score a goal. Each team will usually have one or two players dedicated to this role (The fly-half and the full-back). If the ball is kicked between the goal-posts, the attacking team score 3 points, although this is becoming more and more of a rarity. If the ball is kicked and goes out of play, then a bunch of complicated rules come into play, and everyone gets confused. When watching a game, you'll always want to see your team kick the ball a long distance, and for it to bounce on the ground before going out of play.

The ball will come back into play via a “Line-Out”. Each team forms a straight line at the side of the pitch and the ball is (theoretically) thrown in a straight line above the two teams,who each try to jump up and grab it.

If a player commits a foul, then the referee will award a “scrum” to the wronged team. This is a bigger, more organised Pushing Contest, with lots of rules I don't understand, and can't explain to you. If the foul is a very serious offence, then the wronged team will have the choice of being awarded either a Scrum, a Line-Out, a sot at goal (worth 3 points), or a chance to gain huge amounts of territory, by kicking the ball into touch. If the offence is super, super serious, the player will be given a Yellow Card, and have to leave the field to sit in the Sin Bin for 10 minutes. If the offence is super, super, super serious, the player will receive a Red Card, and gently caress off back to the dressing room for the duration of the game.

Whenever points are scored, the conceding team always kicks the ball back to the scorers. Because this gives the scoring team momentum, aggressive play is encouraged, and most teams will always try and kick penalty points wherever possible.

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Formations

Each team is made up of 15 guys, and they all have fairly specific offensive roles. When on the defence, everyone can and will make tackles, although they'll usually be tackling their opposing counterparts. The guys numbered 1-8 are the forwards, who's job it is to hold the line, and try to push the other team back. Whenever there's a Scrum, these are the 8 guys who take part, and they're usually the first to get involved in a Ruck or a Line-Out. All of these guys come in varying degrees of huge.

The #9 is the Scrum Half. He picks the ball off the ground during a Scrum or a Ruck. He's usually small, fast, and very good at passing the ball before he gets tackled by his opposing number. Because of the new rule changes for the 2013 season, every Scrum Half is going to be under more pressure than ever before, and will have a very short time frame in which to make vital decisions.

The #10 is the Fly-Half, which is sort-of-maybe like a Quarterback. The Fly-Half usually receives the ball from the Scrum Half, and has a relatively large amount of time between receiving the ball, and being tackled by his opposing counterpart. Because of this, the Fly-Half is able to look at the opponent's formation, and decide which plays to make. He also has the luxury of being able to kick the ball without the kick being charged down. The Fly-Half is usually the team's dedicated kicker.

Players #12 through #14 are the ball carriers (Centres and Wingers). They try to run around (or through) opposing players, or simply run into the opposition's defensive wall, so they can abort the current play, begin a Ruck, and carry on gaining territory with a different approach. The Wingers tend to score the majority of tries, and are usually the fastest runners on the field.

Player #15 is the Full Back, which means he's one of the bravest guys in the loving world. He plays at the very tip of the V-shaped formation, and is the last line of defence whenever something goes wrong. If the opposing team suddenly grab the ball and make a break for the line, he has to chase them to make the saving tackle, and if the opposing team makes a strategic kick down field, it's his job to run after the ball, pick it up, and boot it back down field, before a stampede of opposing players can run him down.

Because of Full-Back's unique position (and a ton of convoluted offside rules), he can make a play called a “Garryowen” (I'm not making this up), where he will pick up the loose ball, kick it down field over the 24 guys fighting in the middle of the pitch, run through them unopposed, and either catch his own kick or smash full-force into any opposing player who dares intercept it.

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Championships

The Rugby World (and by association, the real world) is split into the Northern and Southern hemispheres. For over a hundred years, the Southern Hemisphere have dominated the sport at international level, but as the game reaches professional status in more countries in Europe, the Northern Hemisphere are slowly starting to catch up. Inter-hemisphere matches are very frequent at an International level, but almost non-existent at Club level.

The Olympics
The reigning and completely undefeated Olympic champions are the USA. The last Olympic Rugby match was held in 1924, between the French national team, and a USA team made up of Gridiron players from Stanford University, who had never played Rugby in their lives. After roughing up and then seriously injuring French hero Adolphe Jaureguy, the American team triggered a full-scale riot, which resulted in the Olympic Committee declaring that Rugby was not compatible with the ideals of the Olympic spirit.

The World Cup
Every 4 years, the world of Rugby Union comes together for a grand tournament, in which New Zealand inevitably choke steamroll every other team. The 2011 World Cup was held in New Zealand itself, and since the country of New Zealand is still a functioning society, we can safely assume that they won.

The Six Nations
Every year, The Six Nations must each send a tribute of 15 young players to Twickenham, where they mercilessly slaughter each other for the amusement of the Rugby Hierarchy. Lately, the smaller nations have started rebelling, with the 2012 title (and Grand Slam) going to Wales.

The Rugby Championship
A tournament held once a year between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, who are coincidently the best 3 teams in the world. This year, Argentina have been added to the competition, in an attempt to order to boost awareness of the sport create a southern-hemisphere whipping boy. Australia were crowned the 2011 champions, narrowly beating New Zealand in the final game of the series.

Rabodirect Pro 12
Formerly the Celtic / Magners League, the Pro 12 is the Northern Hemisphere's international “Super League”, consisting of twelve teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy. Each team represents a region, and is free to field players from other professional teams in that region, as well as it's own contracted players.

Super Rugby
The Southern Hemisphere's equivalent of the Pro 12 operates on the same ideas, but uses a slightly different format. New Zealand, Australia and South Africa each field teams from 5 regions. They all play a home and away match against every other team in their country, and 8 matches against random opponents from the other countries. At the end of the season, the top team from each country is entered into a playoff tournament, along with a 4th team deemed by the league to have been the “least poo poo”. The current (although technically not the least poo poo) team are The Chiefs.

Heineken Cup
A mid-season competition where the Pro 12 teams compete against the top teams from England and France. Some teams treat this as a really big deal, while others will only field their B-teams. In the end, Leinster win regardless.

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Where can I find Rugby News?
Herald Sun
Planet Rugby
ESPN Scrum
Official Pro 12 Website
BBC News
Wales Online

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How Do Substitutions Work?

Each team starts with 15 players and 7 Substitutes. If a back row (#9 – 15) player is replaced with a substitute, he cannot return to the game later on. If a front row player (#1 - 8) is substituted, then he can only rejoin the game if another forward becomes injured, as forcing a player fron the Back Row to take the injured players' place in the Scrum would probably result in some sort of death.

If a player is bleeding, the referee can declare a “Blood Substitution”. The player is temporarily replaced by any player on the bench, and leaves the field so that he can inject himself with the blood of Jonah Lomu have the would sewn up. When the bleeding is stopped, the players can switch places again.

In 2009, the London Harlequins managed to abuse the system, asking their players to use blood capsules and feign injury, in order to bring substituted players back onto to the pitch.

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Did that dude just get sent off for nothing?

Some of the most serious fouls aren't very high-impact. Lifting a player so that his legs become parallel with his shoulders is always an instant yellow or red card offence, even if they manage to land safely. Arguing with a referee is usually a yellow card, and any player who kicks the ball away after committing a foul is deemed a big baby, and usually gets a yellow card.

Sometimes, a team will repeatedly do something that fucks up the flow of the game, like scrummaging incorrectly, throwing crooked line-outs, or abusing a technicality in the rules, to gain an advantage. If that team receives a warning from the referee, and still continues to gently caress up the flow of the game, then the referee will often yellow-card one of their players as a scapegoat, in order to penalise the team and force the game back on track.

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Where's The Best Place To Start?

The next big international contest is The Rugby Championship, which runs through August and September. That's followed by the Six Nations in February. At club level, the two major competitions we care about are the Pro 12 (September – May) and Super Rugby (February – August).

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Who Should I Support?!
If you want to see exciting matches : Ospreys or Ulster.
If you want to support the underdog : Dragons or Warriors.
If you want a drunken sing-along every week : Munster or Scarlets.
If you want to ride The Rugby Rollercoaster : Edinburgh or Blues.
If you like cuddly animals and don't mind losing all the time : Zebre or Connacht.
If you want to win absolutely everything : Leinster.

Tyma fucked around with this message at Aug 14, 2012 around 06:21

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Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Canu'r dydd a canu'r nos




Yes, it's that time of the year again. A time where you watch me slowly descend into madness, alcoholism and depression (depending on the scores. Hah, who am I kidding, right?)

Last year saw Wales as grand slam winners, Stuart Lancaster cement himself as England's saviour, Ireland lumber to 3rd, France choke to 4th, Italy ever try and Scotland forgetting how to play rugby.

So what's in store this year?

Teams:

Wales
Last year: Grand Slam Winners, 1st
Notes: Wales have had somewhat of a fall from grace. Injuries, a terrible test series and Gatland coaching the Lions has left Wales a shadow of its former self in little under a year. Dark times seem to be ahead for Wales; top players are running away to join French clubs, the league teams aren't performing well, numbers are down, budgets are off and to make matters worse, there are dark rumblings of Wales possibly having to get rid of one of the clubs. The national team meanwhile is suffering a plethora of injury worries and problems. Can Wales hope to retain their hold on the tourament? Can they get by on the stresses and strains and secure a good result? Will they EVER beat Australia? (No.) We'll find out!
My prediction: Likely 3rd or 4th, unless things go REALLY bad, in which case 5th.

England
Last year: 2nd
Notes: The days of being drunk, tossing dwarves, sticking your head in some girls breasts and turning up thinking you can just play whatever poo poo, seems to be a thing of the past. Stuart Lancaster, the interim - now full time - coach of last year, has swept in and brought a bit of self respect back into the English side. 2nd place and a great test series has left the English team feeling extremely motivated and they will be raring to become grand slam champions. But halt, yonder there! Scotland are the first team they face and although many expect them to get by fine since it's in Twickenham (Scotland haven't won there in 30 years), the edge of doubt exists due to Scotland's ability to play above level when underdogs.
My prediction: Will probably have a good tournament, likely 1st or 2nd. Grand slam a possibility.

Ireland
Last year: 3rd
Notes: 3rd seems like a fairly respectable position, but the Irish would tell you otherwise while bemoaning Delcan Kidney. There were some fun games last year, but Irish want more. And why not? With strong teams in the celtic league and brilliant results in the Heineken cup, perhaps this year will see Ireland rise to 1st!
My prediction: 2nd.

France
Last year: 4th
Notes: Where to begin. Technically France should pretty much always be up there, or thereabouts, every year. Reality though is cruel and France continue to underperform where they shouldn't. 4th place last year rather sums up a France who - much like almost every year now - seem to be brilliant one week and awful the next. Can they finally weather the storm and perform great every week?
My prediction: Likely 4th again.

Italy
Last year: 5th
Notes: Italy continue to be the team that people most readily go "They're definitely improving and becoming a good side" shortly after they've been beat 18-12 or something close like that. Every year they've "improved" and indeed can cause opposing teams to become extremely nervous. Their strong forwards pack one hell of a punch, but their inability to find a solid back line and a decent kicker has always left them short. They can be a dark horse, but generally the prediction is always 5th or 6th.
My prediction: 5th or 6th

Scotland
Last year: I'LL GIVE YOU A loving GUESS, gently caress!!
Notes: A terrible six nations last year, followed by equally poor autumn tests, has finally seen Robinson been given the push. His interim replacement is Scott Johnson, who was the assistant coach for Scotland when Townsend was........shifted....to Glasgow. Nobody knows what's going to happen. The Scottish media once again seem to be going for the cautious optimism that they use every year, no doubt before resorting back to utter depression. Scott Johnson meanwhile doesn't exactly have the most reputable of history as a coach for national teams. Though the players still seem to be working under the principle of complete and utter delusion (see: Matt Scott), Johnson has played down optimism by making apparent that they are underdogs, a good tactic perhaps given how well Scotland perform under such talk.
My prediction: Still a fight for 5th of 6th I reckon. Johnson probably replaced not long afterward.

Writeup-up by WMain00

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The Pro 12 is the Northern Hemisphere's international “Super League”, consisting of twelve teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy. Each team represents a region, and is free to field players from other professional teams in that region, as well as it's own contracted players.

Each team will play 22 matches (home and away against every other team), with the top 4 players at the end of Week 22 entering into a playoff tournament to determine the championship. In the league table, each win is worth 4 points, each draw is worth 1 point, and a Bonus Point is awarded if a team scores 4 tries in the same match, or loses a match by less than 7 points. If the Playoff final is a draw, then this happens, which is always amazing.

This years' Pro 12 is subject to some huge changes. The rules of rugby itself have changed in fairly significant ways, both Scottish teams have emerged from 2012 as serious contenders for a play-off spot, and although Wales have emerged as the clear #4 team in the world, all of it's clubs (including the reigning champions) will be struggling with a new cap on player salaries.

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Rule Changes

The rules of Rugby change on a regular basis, and the 2013 Pro 12 will be the first competition to be held under a controversial series of new rules, aimed at speeding up the game of rugby, and penalising Kahn Fotuali every time he touches the ball. Hilarity will ensue!

Once the ball becomes available at the back of a ruck, the Scrum-half must pick up or play the ball within 5 seconds, or a scrum is awarded to the opposing team.

The scrum has been shortened to 2 phases (Crouch and Touch). Once both teams are touching, the referee yells “Set!”, at which point the teams may collide and start pushing. Players no longer have to observe a pause, or collide on the referee's command.

Conversions must be completed within 90 seconds of the referee awarding a try.

The Video Referee is now allowed to rule on incidents which indirectly lead to the scoring of a try, and not just the legality of the try itself. The referee is also allowed to ask him a wider variety of questions.

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The Salary Cap

This season, the 4 Welsh clubs (Ospreys, Scarlets, Dragons and Blues) will operate under a £3,500,000 cap for player salaries. The reason for the cap is to try and claw the clubs out of debt, but also to increase interest and stability in regional rugby, by forcing clubs to spend less of their budget on wages, and more on other aspects of the club.

The cap technically only applies to the 38-man squad submitted to play in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Cup, so there are ways around it and it doesn't apply to players under developmental contracts, or regional players drafted into the squads during International competitions.

The results of the cap were immediately apparent, with most of the clubs' leftover budgets going on facilities and events to raise the popularity of Rugby in the region, and attempts to increase the attendance at matches. All four clubs seem to agree that the best reaction to the cap is to pack out their stadiums for every single match, and hope for a snowball effect to raise the popularity of sport in the region.

The obvious downside of the cap is that most star players are being paid less than previous seasons, and although the Welsh team has an official policy of not selecting International players unless they play for a welsh club, many players on the fringe of selection were immediately offered contracts with foreign clubs, worth three or four times the wages their current clubs could offer.

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Where To Watch

This year, a planned 80% of matches will be broadcast live on free TV. Air times can be found on the official fixture list.

BBC 2 Wales (Sky Channel 991)
The BBC broadcast a live match every Friday, which can usually be streamed, or found on iPlayer a few hours afterwards. The BBC are known for their great pre-game hype packages, and amusingly blunt commentary. They also run a weekly magazine show every Sunday night, which includes highlights of the 4 Welsh teams, and copious amounts of grown men gushing over Rhys Priestland. Both the live matches and magazine show are called “Scrum V”.

S4C (Sky Channel 134)
The BBC's Welsh Language channel airs at least one match every weekend, all of which are also streamed live on their website. The production values aren't as high as BBC 2, and pre-match coverage is always in Welsh, but match commentary is available in English via the Red Button. S4C seem to air the bulk of live matches, all of which appear as “Y Clwb Rygbi” in TV listings.

BBC Alba (Sky Channel 168)
Assuming they aren't being covered elsewhere, all Glasgow and Edinburgh matches are broadcast on the BBC's Gaelic-language channel. If the match isn't broadcast live, then it's usually broadcast on taped delay (in it's entirety) from 11pm. There's no English-language commentary available, but if it's 11pm, and you're watching Edinburgh trying to play Rugby, then you're probably too drunk to understand what's going on anyway.

BBC Northern Ireland (Sky Channel 973)
Although the rights to Pro 12 matches in Ireland are split between 3 broadcasters, the BBC will, in theory, broadcast a fair number of live matches involving the Irish teams.

TG4 / RTE Sport (Northern Ireland Only)
BBC Northern Ireland shares the Irish broadcast rights with TG4 and RTE. These channels aren't easily available on Sky, and although the majority of TG4 shows are streamed online, we don't yet know if this seasons' Pro 12 matches will be included in the stream. If you really care about watching these games, then it is possible to use Magical Trickery to pick up the signal on a UK Sky box. Most sports bars and Irish pubs have done so, and usually show the matches.

Sportitalia (Italy Only)
The new Italian broadcast partner is a free-to-air channel, which will broadcast every single one of Treviso and Zebre's home matches, and a large number of their away matches. I assume Magical Pub Trickery will allow dirty non-Italians to watch them.

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Widely dubbed “The Galacticos", for the ridiculous amount of international players held under contract (Some of whom were playing in the 6-nations, while not making the bench for The Ospreys), the club's biggest strength has turned out to be side's reserve team, coached by former player Steve Tandy.

During the World Cup, so many players were called into international duty, that The Pro 12 essentially became “The B-Team Championship”, resulting in Tandy's reserve team going on a 6-match winning streak, before eventually losing away to Glasgow. The Ospreys were the club most heavily affected by the Salary Cap, with most of their international players signing lucrative contracts with foreign clubs, Steve Tandy and his reserve team have now graduated to the senior squad, and inched out Leinster to win the 2012 title. Due to a tax scandal, The Ospreys didn't get to sign any new players during the off-season.

#10 - Dan Biggar (@dan_biggar)
Biggar burst into the Ospreys squad at the age of 18, and within 12 months had ousted James Hook from the perch of first-choice Fly-Half. Despite being the Pro 12's record points scorer, and possibly the most talented Fly-Half in the country, Biggar has a reputation as a cry-baby, and is routinely excluded from the national team, reportedly because he “isn't a traditional Welsh #10”, and in part because he still spends 80 minutes shouting at his own players. This culminated in Biggar being boo'd by his own supporters, and led to commentator Jonathan Davies ignoring play a crucial Ospreys match, to go on a 5-minute rant about Biggar's attitude.

#14 – Hanno Dirksen (@dirko31)
With the retirement of Shane Williams on the horizon last season, Dirksen made a huge impact by scoring “that try” against Edinburgh, before revealing that his ambition was to play for Wales. That's kind of a normal ambition, except Dirksen was born in South Africa, and grew up in the USA. It turns out that Dirksen was the USA's first-choice winger for the 2011 World Cup, but turned down an invitation to PLAY IN THE loving WORLD CUP, fearing for his loyalty to The Ospreys would somehow be brought into question. Dirkssen qualifies for Welsh selection at the end of this season.

#3 – Adam Jones (@adamjones3)
Adam Jones weighs 19 Stone, sports the finest neckbeard in all the land, and will routinely drink 8 pints of beer every night, before being paid large sums of money to stand on a field and try to push smaller people over. Jones recently turned down a 5-figure contract with Perpignan, because it meant he'd have to spent more than 2 days in France. Adam Jones is probably your role-model, and while you can never be Adam Jones, you can watch him play rugby. Possibly the only Pro 12 player to justify his own iPhone App.

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Leinster are the best rugby club in the world. In the past 12 months, they've posted a 31-5 win record, and came within minutes of becoming the first team to ever achieve the “Celtic Double”. Three of their five defeats in the past 12 months have been at the hands of The Ospreys, cultivating a fierce rivalry between the Dublin club, and the men who robbed them of the greatest accolade in Celtic sports.

If Leinster have a weakness, it's that they're said to spread their resources too thin, always chasing their dream of winning the double. Consider though that in the 2011 season, Leinster not only played a full Pro 12 and Heineken Cup campaign (including all of the playoff matches), but that 10 of their star players also played a World Cup campaign, as well as the annual Six Nations.

Leinster's 2013 team looks almost identical to the 2012 line-up, retaining their full starting line-up, and strengthening their squad with two Props from Leeds and The Hurricanes : Tom Denton and Michael Bent, as well as Quinn Roux from The Stormers. Leinster go into the season as odds-on favorites to make the final.

#10 – Jonathan Sexton
Depending on who you talk to, Sexton is either the current or future holder of the Ireland Fly-half jersey, creating a true rivalry with Munster's Ronan O'Gara over the spot. Within Leinster, Sexton's command of the game became unquestionable, after the team attributed his leadership as the sole catalyst for their 2011 comeback victory in the Heineken Cup final. While his leadership is top-notch, the consistancy of Sexton's kicking often comes into question, and although his kicking average is actually very high, his misses usually end up being more high-profile than his goals.

#13 – Brian O'Driscoll (@brianodriscoll)
How this man can play so much rugby is beyond me, but this will be O'Driscoll's 14th league campaign for Leinster. He's played in every single Celtic League since the inception of the league, has over 120 caps for Ireland, and ranks #7 on the IRB's list of leading international try scorers. He's the only man in the top 10 still playing at international level. Although all conceivable logic pointed to O'Driscoll's retirement after the 2012 season, he's vowed to play one final campaign, to try and earn his dream of captaining the British Lions' on this years' summer tour.

#1 – Cian Healy (@properchurch)
The Rugby alter-ego of trance legend DJ Church is softly-spoken prop Cian Healy. Healy spent the majority of the 2012 season as the heart of Ireland's World Cup squad, before coming home to bolster Leinster's successful Heineken Cup campaign, and raise money “to help kick the poo poo out of cancer”. Healy won the Man Of The Match award in Ireland's World Cup victory over Australia.

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Munster games are noted for their intimidating atmosphere and staunch supporters. Their fans are bested only by The Scarlets in terms of the noise they generate, but have a tradition of maintaining complete silence throughout the stadium during a spot-kick, most clubs also maintain this tradition out of respect, when playing host to Munster supporters.

Although Munster cemented their place as the #3 team in the league last year, they took a visceral beating in the semi-finals, following the announcement that their coach would be leaving for Australia at the end of the year. As well as their coaching staff, Munster have also lost first-choice Scrum Half Tomas O'Leary to London Irish, and several players to retirement, but managed bolster their side with two huge signings, in Casey Lualala and James Downey.

#10 - Ronan O'Gara (@ronanogara10)
I was going to talk about exciting young Fly-Half Ian Keatley, but since at least 5% of this thread has to be dedicated to cunts, here's Ronan O'Gara instead. Inbetween eye-gouging, excessive gambling, whining about his teammates, refusing to sign autographs for children, falling over dramatically at the slightest touch, alleged adultery, and refusing to shake hands with the Queen of England, Ronan O'Gara has received 124 caps for Ireland, and kicked a lot of goals.

#5 - Paul O'Connell (@paul_oconnell)
Captain of Ireland and scariest man in the world. Paulie O'Connell is the heart of the Munster team, and the epitome of their “Stand Up And Fight!” motto. O'Connell was injured late last season, and looks set to return early in the season, which may be a hidden blessing for Munster's Pro 12 campaign, as he looks unlikely to play in Ireland's autumn tours, and can focus his efforts on settling nerves at the club, and putting the loving fear of god into their opponents.

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There's something oddly appealing about supporting the kind of underdogs who have their official player photographs taken in a car park.

Glasgow were the big surprise of 2012. Coming off an abysmal 11th place in the previous season, they deservedly clawed into 4th place in the table, and somehow held on, despite having the toughest possible end to the season.

The off-season has seen a lot of re-balancing and a new coaching staff, headed by “World's Scariest Full Back”, Gregor Townsend. The Warriors' Star Player Richie Gray was lured away by the promise of dirty English money, but they made 8 new signings, including Canadian winger Taylor Paris, and exiled Scotsman Sean Lamont from Llanelli. The Warriors have also moved across the city to a smaller ground, hoping to create a sense of community around the club. Despite their history of mediocrity, Glasgow look to be serious contenders for a Top 4 place again this season.

#10 Duncan Weir (@duncan_weir)
Although many expected him to stay in the shadow of Ruaridh Jackson, Weir barely missed out on a spot in the Six Nations thanks to Dan Parks' stupidity, and finished the 2012 season as the league's second highest points scorer.

#9 - Chris Cusiter (@chriscusiter)
The new changes to the laws of the game are going to be a nightmare for most Scrum Halves, but not for qualified lawyer, Chris Cusiter! Hohoho, I've written so many of these loving things, I have to resort to Googling news articles to find interesting things to say. After a strong end to 2012, Cusiter is looking to earn a spot in Andy Robinson's (completely randomly generated) Six Nations team.

#14 - Sean Lamont
After seven years in exile, Scotland's first-choice Winger returns to Glasgow, to join his brother Rory. Scotland have long had a bizarre fascination with playing brothers together on the same team, so Lamont's signing is thought to be a political one : both an attempt to re-invigorate the imagination of the Scottish fans, and a move to try and encourage the majority of Scotland's rugby heroes to play their club rugby in Scotland.

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Like Glasgow, The Scarlets are also going through a huge mid-season shake-up. Amidst the panic caused by the announcement of the Salary Cap, The Scarlets were perfectly prepared to deal with the situation, tying all of their Welsh stars down to long-term contracts, and guaranteeing that squad would be unchanged for the 2013 season.

Off the pitch, manager Nigel Davies kept his word in securing the future of his players, and then shocked Welsh rugby by signing a lucrative contract with an English club. Since his departure, cracks have started to show in the reserve team, with a few players moving to other clubs, and suggesting that the decision to keep so many Welsh internationals at the club may have created a gulf between the wages of players.

Despite a few nerves, the club are still in great shape, and have focused on developing their traditional family-friendly atmosphere, and building a festival-like atmosphere around the match days. They are undoubtedly the most iconic and popular rugby club in Wales, but have never been as successful as their Swansea rivals. The Scarlets / Ospreys game is traditionally the hottest ticket of the Pro 12 season.

#14 - George North (@george_north)
You may know George North from his appearances playing for Wales. As of the 2013 season, he's actually played more International matches than he has for his club. Although taller than most players in the game, North grew up during the era of Jonah Lomu and was raised to be a try-scoring bulldozer, and shot to fame when he managed to score twice in his international debut against South Africa.

#10 - Rhys Priestland (@rhys_priestland)
Where do we loving start?.. Priestland shot to fame when he was inexplicably selected for the Welsh squad late last year, and had a great World Cup campaign, where he suffered a shoulder injury, which was so traumatic that he apparantly forgot how to play Rugby. His attempts to return to form have been so shockingly tragic that Priestland has surpassed the great Dan Parks as the most hated rugby player in SAS history. Priestland capped of his 2012 season by single-handedly threw away two back-to-back matches in Australia, and like Parks, seems completely oblivious to any mistakes he makes.

DickEmery posted:

Priestland : Literally worse than if he wasn't even there[/i]

#12 – Jonathan Davies
Not to be confused with legendary 1990s dual-code rugby player, commentator and talk-show host Jonathan Davies, the current Scarlets #12 is an english-born Centre, who somehow ended up signing for the Welsh-est team possible, and playing in the starting line-up for Wales' World Cup team. In last year's Six Nations, Davies officially switched nationality, by scoring the winning try in the match against England.

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I don't want to suggest that Ulster are in any way behind the other Irish teams, but they haven't taken a team photo this year, and one of the club's official sponsors is a plastic device that makes it easier to pour milk.

Ulster stepped up the professionalism this year, providing live coverage of their pre-season friendly against Bayonne, making one of the players on the bench post live commentary of the game on Twitter, as well as officially endorsing this fantastic song!

#14 - Tommy Bowe (@tommybowe14)
Although already a national hero, Bowe left Irish rugby in 2008, signing a contract with The Ospreys so that he could be paid in pounds, instead of Euros. The Ospreys sidelined him for most of 2012 for mysterious reasons, which later turned out to be a haematoma in his left kidney He was released by The Ospreys for World Cup and 6-Nations duty, and then went up for sale, prompting a bidding war between Munster and Ulster. Bowe eventually rejected a huge offer from Munster, to return to Ulster, when he started his professional career.

#9 - Ruan Pienaar
The 2011 Player Of The Year will miss the first quarter of Ulster's season, in order to play in the inaugural Rugby Championship. Ulster will likely miss their first-choice Scrum-Half, and then thank their lucky stars that he'll be at their disposal during the crucial 6-Nations window in February, while every other Scrum Half in the league is out away on duty, getting beaten up by French thugs.

#12 - Paddy Wallace (@paddywallace12)
Although a keen golfer, Paddy Wallace finds club membership fees “too expensive”, and so has to play International Rugby, instead. Wallace is a mainstay in both the Ulster and Ireland teams, and is one of those talented bastards who can play wherever the gently caress he wants, usually at Center or Fly-Half. Occasionally makes bizarre tweets about videogames.

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Cardiff are a club in crisis. Two years ago, they finished the season one point short of a playoff place, and became the first Welsh team to win a European trophy by beating Toulon in the finals of the European Challenge Cup. Two years later, only 4 of the players from that starting lineup remain in the team, and the club has had a hard time cutting their wage budget from 5 million, in order to make the Salary Cap.

After a trickle of players opted not to renew their contracts, the chairman of the club opened the floodgates, by casually mentioning in a newspaper interview that in addition to the upcoming wage cuts, Cardiff would not be able to pay players while they were on international duty. The deluge that followed resulted in 15 players leaving the club.

The charred corpse of the Cardiff Blues will play their 2013 matches at Cardiff Arms Park, after dwindling attendances convinced them to sever their 20-year contract with the Cardiff City Stadium. Cardiff have blamed their attendance problems on a lack of trys, a lack of exciting movement from the back-line, and a heavy focus on kicking out of hand.. They're literally blaming everything on Dan Parks.

After sensationally firing Gavin Henson in the middle of the season, and quietly firing Parks at the end of it, The Blues lost 15 players over the course of 6 months, averaging 100 caps each. Scrum-Half Richie Rees has transferred to Edinburgh with no obvious replacement, and the only notable signing is Fly-Half Jason Tovey. With Tovey in place, Cardiff actually have one of the best back lines in the world, but now have the task of re-writing the play book, to get the most out of them.

#15 - Leigh Halfpenny (@leighhalfpenny1)
Halfpenny has traditionally been Cardiff's “long-range specialist”, until Wales' opening Six Nations match of 2012, when Rhys Priestland's spectacular mid-match meltdown forced Halfpenny to step up and kick a match-winning penalty. Although he still plays at Half Back, Halfpenny has consistently kicked more spot-kicks over the past 12 months than Priestland, and Cardiff's own (terrible) fly-half, Dan Parks. He looks to remain as first-choice kicker for both Cardiff and Wales in the 2013 season.

#12 - Jamie Roberts (@jamiehuwroberts)
There's not much I need to say about Jamie Roberts, because he has the longest wikipedia page in the loving world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Roberts He's absolutely huge, makes devestating tackles and is most famously known as “That Guy Who Fractured His Skull In A Match Against Australia And Carried On Playing”. Inbetween beating up small Irish wingers, he's training to be a doctor.

#14 - Alex Cuthbert (@acuthbert11)
Shane Williams' Welsh successor is a 6”6, 230lb monster, who's hobbies include sipping Earl Grey tea and show jumping. Cuthbert stepped up to fill Williams' tiny Welsh boots while still under a developmental contract at Cardiff, and after months of speculation, turned down a huge offer from Toulon, to sign a full contract with The Blues.

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The Pro 12 whipping boys were given a huge boost last year, earning an 8th place finish thanks to the incompetence of Edinburgh, and the existence of Italy.

In spite of their low-scoring performances, Connacht's homeground is an absolute fortress, and the most terrifying away match of the season. The ground consists of 2 small stands, built on opposite ends of a wind tunnel, with one working floodlight. All Connacht matches seem to take place in complete darkness, and often result in moments of rugby hilarity.

Connacht signed Tongan centre Vainikolo late last season from The Highlanders, and snapped up New Zealand prop Nathan White and “world famous Scottish fly-half” Dan Parks in mid-season. Although Parks has been forever exiled from both Scotland and Wales, his spot-kicking against the elements is possibly the best in the league, making him the perfect signing for Connacht. If the team moulds itself around Parks' lethargic play-style, then Connacht could conceivably post a very good home record this year.

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Despite three consecutive top 3 finishes at the beginning of the league's lifespan, The Dragons suddenly nose-dived into 4 consecutive bottom-3 finishes, before firmly cementing their place as the worst club in Wales.

Because of the clubs' regional structure, The Dragons represent the smallest, and most rugby-starved region of Wales. With less talented youngsters graduating from The Dragons' feeder clubs, The club have started seeking out talented players languishing on the benches of larger clubs, or foreign players who don't have a big enough domestic league, and offering them relatively small contracts, for the chance to play top-flight rugby on a weekly basis.

In 2012, The Dragons' started some sort of bizarre “revolving-door” policy, as languishing winger Aled Brew officially became a superstar, and immediately left the club to sign a huge contract with Biarritz. The Dragons took a fair chunk of change, and made 3 huge signings, bringing in Prydie, Chavhanga and Daniel Evans, before releasing 7 reserve team players, to presumably pay off a large chunk of debt.

Despite their previous performance, The Dragons look to be one of the most exciting teams of 2012, and their stadium is a very intimidating place to visit. They will probably have a nervous start, but with so few current international players, they won't lose many players to international duty, and should have a few weeks of great results.

#11 – Tonderai Chavhanga (@tondichavhanga)
Tonderai "The fastest man in rugby" Chavhanga was a Super Rugby legend, set to make an impact on the Pro 12, before being injured playing against Shane “The fastest man in rugby” Williams. Chavhanga is racing (hohoho) to be fit for the start of the season, and his lack of international commitments are going to make him a huge loving deal at The Dragons this year.

#8 - Toby Faletau
The biggest success story to come out of The Dragons recruitment policy. Faletau was born in Tonga, and raised in South Wales, before moving to England to start a professional career. After being offered an opportunity to play a handful of games for The Dragons, Faletau was immediately offered a spot in the Welsh under-20 team, where he has played the majority of his rugby. After receiving so much exposure playing for both Newport and the Under-20 team, public demand gifted him a place in the National team of his newly-adopted country, starring in 17 games over the course of 18 months.

#15 – Tom Prydie (@tomprydie)
The secret-best signing of the 2012 season is Ospreys' seventh (seriously, 7th) choice winger, Tom Prydie. If you want an idea of how large The Ospreys squad was in 2010, consider that while Shane Williams, Tommy Bowe, Nikki Walker, Hanno Dirkssen, Eli Walker and Kristian Phillips were keeping Prydie out of the first-team selection process, he was still good enough to play for Wales. Not the youth team either, he got picked for motherfucking Wales at the age of 17, after playing only 2 games for The Ospreys. Prydie can pay either Full-back of Wing, and is likely to be the first-choice kicker for his new club.

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Treviso are an Italian side that I don't really know much about.

#3 - Bees Roux
I don't really want to touch this with a 12-foot pole, but in addition to having a silly name, Roux is a convicted murderer from South Africa. Although the case is fogged in layers of controversy and cultural differences, the fact is that Roux has killed a policeman with his bare hands, and is hard as loving nails. Since the details of Roux's case weren't printed in Celtic newspapers, it'll be interesting to see what kind of treatment he gets in his new Italian home, and also at various away venues. Roux's first away match will infact feature the most intimidating crowd of all – Munster.

#9 - Tobias Botes
Born in South Africa, Botes qualified to play for the Italian national team this year, and is looking to use the 2013 Pro 12 season to cement his place in the starting team. Botes is best known for being told off like a child by Nigel Davies.

#10 - James Ambrosini
Following their policy of signing young southern-hemisphere players who might maybe want to play for Italy some day, Ambrosini is touted to be Treviso's first-choice Fly-Half, and has committed himself to the region, in the hopes of developing a spot in the Italian national team.

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Edinburgh's 11th place finish last year is a bit misleading. The gunners sent more players to the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup than almost any other club, and while they were abroad getting hammered by bigger, better rugby players, their reserves were hammered even harder by slightly less bigger, slightly less harder players.

Edinburgh's greatest only superstar is Dutchman Tim Visser, who had no international commitments whatsoever, and used his free time to score 17 tries in one season. After a terrible start to the 2012 season, Edinburgh gave up completely on the Pro 12, and focused all of their efforts on the Heineken Cup. After a ridiculous 48-47 score against Racing Metro, and a victory over a London Irish team who really, really didn't want to have to be in the Heineken Cup, Edinburgh spent a ridiculous ammount of money advertising, hyping, and eventually giving away free tickets to the home semi-final match against Toulouse. Edinburgh won, and celebrating the biggest victory in the history of the club by immediately getting knocked out by Munster.

Despite both Scotland and Edinburgh being terrible at the game, there is a lot of money in Scottish rugby, and due to the collapse of the Rangers football team, the Scottish Rugby Union are making a huge push to get Rugby instated as the country's new National Sport. Thanks to funding from the SRU, Edinburgh have managed to sign 9 new players for 2013, with their only losses being Scrum-Half Mike Blair and 86-year old Fly-Half Chris Patterson, who finally retires.

#11 - Tim Visser (@timbovisser)
Holland's first (and only) professional rugby player is also the Pro 12's most prolific try scorer. Since joining Edinburgh in 2009, Visser has played 3 seasons of Celtic League, ending all 3 as the league's leading try scorer. Despite playing for The Barbarians, Visser's nationality has prevented him from being able to play in the International stage, until late June 2012, when the IRB ruled that after putting up with 3 years of living in Edinburh, he may as well be Scottish. After years of waiting, Visser made his international debut for Scotland in July, and scored two tries.

#12 - Nick De Luca
Despite a solid 2012 season, De Luca hit the headlines in the worst way possible, being sent off in Wales six-nations match against Wales. With his flamboyant attitude, and the recent retirement of Dan “the most hated player in Scotland” Parks, De Luca became an instant target for the frustration of Scottish rugby fans, receiving so much abuse from the Scottish public that he had to de-list himself from social network sites, and delete his (incredibly awesome) Twitter account. Although his spot in the Scottish squad is guaranteed for a long time, De Luca has a lot to prove to the Scottish fanbase, and this season will likely make or break his career at Edinburgh.

#9 – Richie Rees (@richierees)
In an attempt to rely less on Scotland's international players, Welsh Scum-Half Rees is a big-money signing from Cardiff Blues. Having fallen out of contention in the Welsh squad, Edinburgh are looking to build their back line around Rees, who's lack of International duty is likely to see him start every match.

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It's a cliche, but some of the best sports teams are named after animals of prey. The Cheetahs, Sharks, Ospreys, Jaguars, Eagles and Panthers are all fine football teams, so when it comes to naming Italy's newest sports powerhouse, you have to go with the biggest, baddest pack animal of them all : The Zebra!

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking “will they play in a jersey that make them look like Zebras”. The answer is yes.

Following a terrible season for Aironi, the Italian Ruby Union revoked their license to play in the Celtic League, and instead decided to build a new franchise from the ground up. The squad is made up of members of the former Aironi team, and a large number of Italy's youth squad. The purpose of the team isn't to be competitive, but to give Italian players a chance to play against the best players in the world, in hopes of strengthening the country's National team.

#12 - Mauro Bergamasco (@maurobergamasco)
Lovingly christened a “complete clown” by commentator Jonathan Davies, Bergamasco is a silly man who wears wooly gloves, and shouts at people. Bergamasco's greatest rugby achievements include scoring a winning try in Italy's 2007 defeat of Wales, only to receive a 4 week ban for punching Steven Jones earlier in the match. He topped this the next year by scoring a 13 week ban for eye gouging! In 2009, his favorite commentator nominated him for “the worst performance by an international player.

#9 - Tito Tebaldi
The former Italian Scrum-Half has recently fallen out of favour with the National team, and has been handed a lifeline by Zebre, after the collapse of Aironi. He's a great poacher of loose balls, and has a huge kicking range.

#10 - Daniel Halangahu
One of only 4 Zebre players from outside Italy, Halangahu was a very late addition to the squad, tasked with structuring the team's back line, and attacking plays. Halangahu played 6 years at The Waratahs, as second-string Fly-Half. A Waratah is a type of shrub, and Zebras eat shrubs, so his move to Italy is clearly a huge step up the food chain!

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Fantasy League

It's 'Fantasy Football' format. Choose either Dan Biggar or Duncan Weir, and then 14 other guys to make up a team.

http://www.fantasy12.com/

League : Goons
Password : 3d1949a4

Tyma fucked around with this message at Jan 28, 2013 around 18:24

Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Canu'r dydd a canu'r nos




The Autumn Test Series is Rugby event based around the annual tradition going to the pub at 7am every weekend, to watch rugby. This year, the “big four” Southern Hemisphere teams will all travel north, to play a month of exhibition matches against their Northern Hemisphere counterparts.

Week 11
England vs Fiji
Wales vs Argentina
Ireland vs South Africa
France vs Australia
Scotland vs New Zealand

Week 12
Wales vs Samoa
Italy vs New Zealand
England vs Australia
Scotland vs South Africa
France vs Argentina

Week 13
Ireland vs Argentina
Italy vs Australia
England vs South Africa
Scotland vs Tonga
Wales vs New Zealand

Week 14
Wales vs Australia
England vs New Zealand



Although there's no formal tournament structure to speak of, the outcome of each Test Match will affect each team's IRB 'World Ranking', which will determine which countries get seeded in the next Rugby World Cup. The cut-off date for seeding is December 3rd, and whichever teams are sitting in the Top 4 on that day will get a much more favourable draw than the teams below them.

Right now England, Wales, France and South Africa are realistically fighting over 2 spots. Although these teams won't actually play against each other, a win over any team will push them up the ladder, and a loss against any team will slide them down the ladder. Beating New Zealand will award any team enough points for an almost guaranteed top 4 finish, while losing to a lower team like Scotland or Fiji this close to the cutoff could seriously damage anyone's World Cup chances.

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The Northern Hemisphere



In 1905 a young Fritz Lang saw the New Zealand rugby union team toured Britain, and served as the inspiration for the Moloch Machine in his 1927 film "Metropolis". A terrifying machine that eats up strong young men who approach its gaping maw - the All Blacks seemingly exist only to strike terror into the hearts of the opposition and to make it so their parents can never REALLY be truly proud of them. The All Blacks are powered by a series of grumpy fat men - their greatest failures have come when coached by relatively young and healthy men like John Mitchell and Robbie Deans.

All Black Captains are generally built out of "nofuckYOUinium", as evidenced by Buck "it's only a popped testicle" Shelford, Sean "Scrumfucker" Fitzpatrick and Richie "Cheating Bastard" McCaw. Since 1996, fullbacks in the All Blacks have traditonally been racehorses stuffed into human costumes. When asked if this was really fair, the NZRU is on record as replying,"Neigh."



Australia is known as the "lucky country" because of its enormous natural resources, located primarily in areas where nobody lives or gives a poo poo about incredibly deep and heavy mining (except maybe a few members of the local flora and fauna). They're also defined by being more successful at everything in the world than New Zealand, a fact that is deeply cared about by New Zealand and not at all by Australia. 

The exception that proves the rule is in rugby union, where New Zealand wins more often than not against Australia. In true Australian fashion though, Australia has found a way around this one little thorn in its paw - by trolling the gently caress out of New Zealand Rugby. In the past this "Spirit of Trolling" was encapsulated in the form of a needling little bastard called George Gregan, or represented by John Eales kicking a field goal in sudden death to win the Rugby World Cup, or by agreeing to co-host the Rugby World Cup with New Zealand, then laughing in their faces and doing it all by themselves.

New Zealand's counter to this was to send NZ coach Robbie Deans to Australia to be their current national coach. Deans is completely devoted to making Australia as successful as possible, and the Australian team is completely devoted to being the best team they can be for him - but the natural urge to troll a New Zealander has caused them to play horribly, bring Quade Cooper into the team, suffer an enormous run of injuries to vital players, barely outscore lesser ranked teams and essentially drive Robbie Deans to suicide. 

Despite all this, Australia has continued to hold its ranking as the second best rugby team in the world, behind only New Zealand. Despite a heavy run of injuries, Australia has a lot of prospective players to fill in the spots, and so long as they're not playing New Zealand, they still seem to be able to win games no matter how bad they might be playing.



South Africa has the odd distinction of being the only rugby team to have a movie made about them by an Oscar winning director, detailing those heady days in the mid-90s when Apartheid ended and Morgan Freeman became President. For many years, South Africa was in the rugby wilderness due to apartheid - they were like the invisible President in a chair of World Rugby. Many great players never had a chance to take on the best of the best despite the best efforts of New Zealand to not give a gently caress about black people so long as they got to watch a rugby game. 

After finally returning to the international stage, South Africa jumped straight to the very top as they won the Rugby World Cup. As detailed in Invictus, the World Cup and South Africa's victory was used as a huge propoganda coup for the "new" South Africa. The formerly "white only" team took on black players and eventually learned that all colors are capable of being terrifyingly huge men.

So in the mid-90s, the world found itself facing South Africa re-emerging like some kind of primal throwback. Huge slabs of meat for forwards, galloping gazelles for backs, and the ageless Percy Montgomery showing off his pearly whites much to the appreciation of the trembling thighs of young South African women.

While their form has risen and dipped heavily across the years since their return, they have managed to mostly maintain a presence in the top three of the IRB's World Rankings, and like Australia and New Zealand they have twice been World Cup Champions. Their Rugby Championship season this year was not the best but nobody goes up against a South African Rugby team without knowing that - win or lose - they're going to be bruised to hell by the end of it.



In 1995, rugby union went professional, and Argentina wasn't having any of that bullshit! In 2012, Argentinian rugby is still mostly an amateur affair, with the only nod to the professional era being that players who now play professionally overseas are allowed to play for the national team. It's difficult to be an amateur player in this day and age - rugby is an incredibly physically demanding sport that can destroy the human body, and when you're not making a six figure salary it makes it a little less appealing than most professions. So why did Argentinian players play amateur for so long before being allowed to travel overseas and play professionally as well? Was it for love of the game? For love of the country? Well maybe, but it's probably mostly because Argentina has a loving amazing national anthem and everybody wants to take every opportunity they can to hear it in the biggest venue possible with the most people around. Also because their nickname is "Los Pumas" and who doesn't want to be in a team called Los Pumas? Nobody, that's who!

Currently ranked 8th in the world, Argentina has has a number of "shock" wins over the years, as well as a famous draw against New Zealand. From 2012 they've been included in the Rugby Championship, winning no games so far but putting up surprisingly quality efforts against the top three ranked teams in the world. With World Cup winning coach Graham "what is a smile?" Henry on the coaching staff, constant exposure/play against the top ranked teams in the world, a growing acceptance of the professional era and one hell of a jaunty national anthem - Argentina is a team to watch and a fun underdog to back.

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The Northern Hemisphere



Deep in the Northern Hemisphere, tucked away between The Land of Scots, and The Land of Good TV Royalties, there exists a kingdom where dragons and wizards still live. Where magic roams free, and Timelords frequently recruit young maidens for episodic adventures.

For the past five years, Wales has been prospered under the rule of the fair and wise King Gatland.. But a terrible accident has left the king encumbered, and the country at the mercy of his dastardly son, Prince Robert Howley.

Howley's reign of terror has brought chaos to the land. The Rugby Kingdom is in shambles, with villainous individuals Rhys Priestland and Sam Warburton appointed in positions of great power and such brave warriors as Dan Biggar and Justin Tiupuric have gone missing, perhaps locked away in the tower, so as not to interfere with Howley's rotten plans.

Will Dan Biggar escape from the tower in time to kick the winning penalty? Will good King Gatland return to the throne? Will the country's legendary hero, Sir Henson vanquish evil King Howley, and once again win the fair hand of Lady Church? Find out live, only on rygbi ar y es pedwar ec!



Ah ken tha numpty fowk say oor Scootlund are shite at te rugbae, but Ah ken noo prove ya otherwise.

Fur a start, ah dunnae kinn if ye watch tha fitba, but we've aye bin bad at it, but if Celitc did beat Barcelona, 'en surely Scootlund can rite murda New Zealand onie day! Ah ken ye hink Richie Gray be hurtin, but we given heem a new wee leg an a bottle ay Bucky, sae he's gud as new, an he cannae feel the pain anymair.

These yer oor folk foond thes fest laddie called Tim Visser. he isnae scottish, but we gie heem lots ay tha bunsens, an he scores lots ay tha tries. Ah dunnae ken if New Zealand ur good, but they dornt hae Tim Visser, dae they?

When we gie thee refferendum an' kick away tha sassenach fowk, we're all gonnae be rich, coz we've got aw tha oil, an away tha watter o' life, an en we'll see fa hosts th warld cup when tha sassenache ladies cannae even av an economy. Didja see tha bark on tha tellie? Celtic beat Barcelona at tha fitba, sae we're boond ta win tha rugbae.



I don't know much about Ireland's current fortunes, but if the internet's to be believed (and it is), then they'll absolute;y white-wash every single Southern Hemisphere team, as long as the rest of the rugby world is cool with waiting a couple of months for their entire front line to heal, or to develop Paul O'Connell a pair of robotic legs.




Plucky Brit, help! Put text here!

Tyma fucked around with this message at Nov 9, 2012 around 06:17

Mister Chief
Jun 6, 2011

Darling, if it's for your sake, wherever you may go...


Do you have a template for the team banners that I could use?

ColtMcAsskick
Nov 7, 2010


Wallabies v. All Blacks should be a good game, here's hoping Pocock does all the work again (although everyone is catching onto him)

Vagabundo
Mar 20, 2007

Pon farr is never logical, Mr. Spock

Awesome set of OPs, Tyma. Tears are flowing right now.

Also, espnscrum is a good source of rugby news for the OP.

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


Holy poo poo this OP.

Simply beautiful.

Plucky Brit
Nov 7, 2009


Amazing OP, but what happened to the "thug's game played by gentleman, watched by cunts" line?

The Clit Avoider
Aug 11, 2002

El Profesional


Ref'd by drunks too.


I supposed I could be persuaded to write up an SA section for super rugby, but it's a bit pointless to do so right now. Let's at least wait until the Currie Cup is over.

WMain00
Oct 7, 2008

You can't cut back posting! YOU WILL REGRET THIS!


Awesome OP, well done.



The future of Glasgow will be very much dependent on whether or not Townsend completely and totally fucks the place up. His reputation as the attack coach for Scotland is dire to say the least and he has earned the ire of Glasgow because he replaced Sean Lineen, who was doing so good a job in 2011/2012 that he was sacked (I wish I was joking).

That he has kept Kellock as captain is a good sign, since Kellock is the equivalent of the guy out of 300; rallying his troops and shouting "THIS IS GLASGOW!" at Welshmen whenever they come up to Scotland.

Scotstoun Stadium's capacity is slightly smaller than that of Firhill, however its training facilities are way more advanced and this is the first time Glasgow can officially claim a home ground (again, I'm not joking. See SRU policy on any team that isn't Edinburgh). For that reason Scotstoun is a massive boost for Glasgow rugby.

EDIT: Glasgow's slogan/song thing by the way is "I belong to Glasgow" sang off key and inebriated.

WMain00 fucked around with this message at Aug 14, 2012 around 18:15

elTeddy
Jun 19, 2004
Where boys fear to tread

RUUGGGGBBBBYYYYY

Great write up on the northern hemisphere.

whoa HANG ON THERE

"Leinster are the best rugby club in the world."

Canterbury want a chat with you, now.

The Clit Avoider
Aug 11, 2002

El Profesional


Pierre Spies has been ruled out of the rugby championship due to an injury to his ring finger.

My atheism is being sorely tested just typing that.

hamza
Mar 3, 2007


Best OP! Thanks for doing this! Excited to see the Super Rugby post.

Mister Chief
Jun 6, 2011

Darling, if it's for your sake, wherever you may go...


The Clit Avoider posted:

Pierre Spies has been ruled out of the rugby championship due to an injury to his ring finger.

My atheism is being sorely tested just typing that.

I knew you'd be pleased.

2ndclasscitizen
Jan 2, 2009

by Y Kant Ozma Post


Pretty excited for the test on Saturday. Wallabies are gonna get dicked, but the big games are always good fun. Also being a proper inner-city rugby snob by going to a 3-course, all-you-can drink lunch before.

butros
Aug 2, 2007


The Clit Avoider posted:

Pierre Spies has been ruled out of the rugby championship due to an injury to his ring finger.

My atheism is being sorely tested just typing that.

Even better news:
http://www.sarugby.co.za/article.as...boks&id=1534141

Trading Liebenberg for Chiliboy would be the best possible move for the Springboks.

elTeddy
Jun 19, 2004
Where boys fear to tread

hell yeah Liebenburg is a total boss and is also my favourite south african jew!

not sure if i'd be able to handle an all you can drink lunch before the game... considering it kicks off at 10pm NZ time. Well, i could do, and would have to time it nicely to get up for a replay of the match on Sunday.

Use Words Like Rad
Jun 24, 2010



gently caress my blind that's one masterful OP.

So now that stupid world cup is out of the way will New Zealand be planning on butt loving Australia for them taking the Tri-Nations last year?

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


Lions out, replaced by Kings.

Bring back the Cats!!!

edit:



quote:

The mastermind of New Zealand's World Cup triumph last year says he's "pleased" the Wallabies have omitted enigmatic fly half Quade Cooper for Saturday night's Bledisloe Cup opener against All Blacks.

Sir Graham Henry, who has been highly-critical of Cooper after the 24-year-old's poor showing in the World Cup last season, said selecting the more conservative Berrick Barnes at fly half for Saturday night's match at ANZ Stadium was a mistake.

While maintaining Cooper's disappointing performance was a large contributor to Australia's World Cup exit, Henry said he should be playing this weekend.

"Quade Cooper's a talent and I'm pleased he's not playing on the weekend, quite frankly" Henry said in an exclusive interview with The Rugby Club on Fox Sports.

http://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/t...c-1226452116931

LordPants fucked around with this message at Aug 16, 2012 around 13:23

Mister Chief
Jun 6, 2011

Darling, if it's for your sake, wherever you may go...


Reality of Reality says… posted:

Henry took 6 years and two goes to get the best team in the world to win the Cup. Quade took two seasons to take the Reds to the Super 15 title from rock bottom. Who's really a winner

Quade Cooper > Graham Henry.

Plucky Brit
Nov 7, 2009


LordPants posted:

Lions out, replaced by Kings.

Bring back the Cats!!!

edit:




http://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/t...c-1226452116931

There was that great line about England being the world champions of wasting talent. I suppose he would know, considering the 2001 Lions tour.

elTeddy
Jun 19, 2004
Where boys fear to tread

Mister Chief posted:

Quade Cooper > Graham Henry.

and Quade Cooper has been consistently schooled in the Wallabies Jersey by the ABs since he first put it on. He's now not even in the Wallabies.

GH was on reunion the other night, drat it was a good interview. the guy is a complete legend, totally genuine, and his comments on SBW were spot on. He'll do a stint in league, then come back to union and by the age of 31 will be a dual code legend second to only Brad Thorn, if not more famous and admired. DEAL WITH IT.

Lacklustre Hero
Jan 4, 2012

"I watch Rugby League for only one man."

Team Anasta


The Wallabies probably could have accommodated both Quade Cooper and Berrick Barnes tonight, by putting Barnes at inside instead of Anthony Faingaa. Faingaa and Rob Horne are basically the same player - both defensive centres, and Barnes is competent in both defence and attack.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.



It's a shame the Argentina/South Africa game is on at such a bad time for me, I think it'll be a more interesting match that New Zealand/Australia, even if the quality isn't likely to be as high. Maybe I just like an underdog too much, go Pumas!

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


Footy time!

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.



ABs make a forward pass directly in front of the goalposts in the opening minute of the game

Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Canu'r dydd a canu'r nos


What is this "crouch - touch - pause - engage" bullshit? Games played last week were using "crouch - set"

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.



Tyma posted:

What is this "crouch - touch - pause - engage" bullshit? Games played last week were using "crouch - set"

Isn't there some weird thing where rule changes in one hemisphere take a season to get to the other hemisphere? I seem to recall this being an issue a couple of years or so ago?

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


Jerusalem posted:

Isn't there some weird thing where rule changes in one hemisphere take a season to get to the other hemisphere? I seem to recall this being an issue a couple of years or so ago?

No, that was rules being trialled in the SH and then being introduced for reals a year later in the NH, or the other way around.

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.



LordPants posted:

No, that was rules being trialled in the SH and then being introduced for reals a year later in the NH, or the other way around.

That makes far more sense than what I said, now that I re-read it.

Surprisingly messy game so far, in terms of keeping their hands on the ball.

Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Canu'r dydd a canu'r nos


So right now, the Southern Hemisphere has White Cards, and the Northrn Hemisphere has 5-second rucks, and Allain Rowland and Nigel Owens are refereeing both?

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


Tyma posted:

What is this "crouch - touch - pause - engage" bullshit? Games played last week were using "crouch - set"

Okay the answer is that the rules are being trialled at ITM cup level in the SH.

edit: Rules will be in at international level in the SH in January.

LordPants fucked around with this message at Aug 18, 2012 around 10:19

Mister Chief
Jun 6, 2011

Darling, if it's for your sake, wherever you may go...


Liam Messam is so poo poo.

pizzaman5000
Sep 20, 2004

hiya~


ABs are starting slow it seems

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.



Mister Chief posted:

Liam Messam is so poo poo.

Israel Dagg, however, is not! That's a try to New Zealand!

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


pizzaman5000
Sep 20, 2004

hiya~


What a step

Jerusalem
May 20, 2004

Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way or another.



What the hell is Australia doing?

LordPants
Mar 5, 2011

Four more years boys, four more years.


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pizzaman5000
Sep 20, 2004

hiya~


Ahahaha what the gently caress

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