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Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Priestland?!




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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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Previous Threads
Rugby Union 2014 Thread
Rugby Union 2013 Thread
Rugby Union 2011 Thread
Let's All Watch The Rugby Football
Rugby Player Thread

Selected Viewing From Previous Seasons
Hurricanes vs Chiefs [Link] (2012 Super Rugby)
Wales vs England [Link] (2013 Six Nations)
Chiefs vs Brumbies [Link] (2013 Super Rugby Grand Final)
South Africa vs New Zealand [Link] (2013 Rugby Championship)
Ireland vs New Zealand [Part 1] [Part 2] (Autumn International)


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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 next World Cup will be held in England, which is not a functioning society. New Zealand will still win.

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 2015 title going to Ireland.

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. The current champions are Australia.. Somehow. I watched the whole thing, and I still don't understand how.

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 Highlanders.

Rugby Champions 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, Toulon win regardless.


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Who Is That Man In All Of The Avatars?

Remember that kid in school who was so bad at rugby he couldn't realistically play, but just had so much fun trying to do it, that you always let him play anyway, out of pity for the poor guy? Ok, now imagine that this kid was allowed to play for your national team.

Since Priestland's injury in the 2011 World Cup, his public identity has been transformed from 'lovable underdog' to 'terrible burden for any team that fields him'. In 2012, Priestland's decision-making under pressure leped him single-handedly throw almost all of Wales autumn fixtures. In 2013, The Millennium Stadium PA system politely asked Wales fans not to boo Rhys Priestland, as he came onto the pitch. In 2014, Priestland started attending a sports psychiatrist, in order to help manage the pressure of playing international rugby. In 2015, Priestland is STILL BEING SELECTED TO PLAY FOR WALES, despite there being 7 better Fly Halves available.

Selected Priestland highlights are that time he kicked the ball to Australia's best player in the last few seconds of a game he would otherwise have won, and almost certainly that time he made a stadium of 80,000 people laugh in unison.

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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?

There's the small matter of the RUGBY WORLD CUP, and it's happening RIGHT NOW.

Tyma fucked around with this message at Jan 31, 2016 around 22:57

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Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Priestland?!




This September, England play host to the 8th Rugby World Cup. The names of some countries were put into a sparkly top-hat, and came out in such a way that we can already proclaim the 2015 World Cup Winners to be New Zealand! If you want to watch the tournament anyway, to see how they win, then you can look forward to the following...


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Every sporting competition claims to have a 'Group Of Death', but thanks to some really big oversights on the seeding of the competition, this World Cup has the deadliest group in Rugby history. Three of the five favourites to win the tournament are in this group, and they're joined by a fourth team that can realistically beat any of them. I'd be really excited about watching this group, if my loving team wasn't in it.





England are the hosts of the World Cup, and it's therefore very likely that any World Cup coverage you watch will be produced by the English broadcasters. You will hear tales of hardships and bravery – stories of plucky English underdogs, standing up to their detractors, and bravely taking on the forces of the mighty southern hemisphere monsters, so that they can inspire the hearts of the lovable orphans back home in dear old Blighty.

If you avoid watching the English broadcast, it will become quite evident quite quickly that England are in-fact the biggest cunts in rugby.

In-spite of the English media's fascination with painting themselves as underdogs, England are 2/1 favourites to make it to the final, and will be looking to physically bully every side that they meet along the way. England have a powerful scrum and an incredibly versatile combination of half backs, but a relatively inexperienced back row. England's three wingers have only scored a total of 12 international tries between them, and while their fullback Mike Brown is easily one of the best players in the world right now, he was completely ignored by England management up until a year ago, and is under an awful lot of pressure, playing in a position which is literally the last line of defence.

The big talking point of England's team is ex-Rugby League player Sam Burgess, included in the World Cup team less than one year after his professional debut, and having played only a single game for England. Burgess is one of the most physically impressive players at the World Cup, but very few Rugby League players have ever successfully made the transition to Union at such a high level of play. If Burgess doesn't immediately crash and burn, then he may actually go on to be the greatest stinkyhole of them all.





Australia are traditionally regarded as the second best team in the world. They also have an unfortunate reputation as second easiest team to hate. After a huge sexism scandal last year, The Wallabies sacked manager Ewen McKenzie, and replaced him with Australian fashion designer Michael Cheika (this isn't a joke). Cheika had an immediate effect on the team, yelling at everyone to stop being jerks, and winning the 2015 Rugby Championship tournament.

Australia's star man is Quade Cooper, who's sort of a mix between a comic book villain and a pro wrestler. Cooper has all of the skill in the world, but a long history of terrible decisions. Quade had a good showing in the in the 2011 World Cup, before being injured, to the rapturous applause of the crowd. After returning from injury, Quade too a 'sabbatical' from Rugby, to pursue a professional career fighting in rigged boxing matches. After his Pay-Per-View debut, Cooper retired from boxing with an immaculate 1-0 record. His victory was over a man named Barry, who was a full time insurance salesman.

Quade is backed up by notable scum-bag Kurtley Beale, and general all-round awesome dude Israel Folau, who will hopefuly spend the majority of the tournament catching high balls, scoring tries, and smiling happily at everyone he meets. Unfortunately, Australia have chosen to drop Goon Favourite, Nick Cummins, who is pretty much the most lovable guy in rugby, and a genuine human interest story.

In the grand scheme of thing, Australia are one of the top 3 teams in the world right now, and while they're still jerks, they're one of the most fun teams to watch, regardless of whether you love them or hate them.





This whole drat mess is Wales' fault. Despite having a stellar run to the semi-finals in the last World Cup, Wales went on a sensational losing streak. After somehow playing against a losing to Australia five times in a single year, they went on to lose back to back games against Argentina, Samoa and Japan. At the tail end of this losing streak, the draw for the 2015 World Cup took place, placing Wales outside of the top 8 teams in the world, and into a group containing their century-long rivals, and that drat Australia team that they just can't beat. At this point, the star player of the 2011 World Cup is literally receiving therapy in order to help deal with his fall from grace.

Since 2012, Wales have changed a few things. George North has received so many concussions that every game in this World Cup could very easily be his last, while Wales' outside-half situation is now rugby's most talked about day-time soap opera. The main characters are Dan Biggar : A passionate perfectionist who often becomes frustrated with himself and screams at referees, and Rhys Priestland : The most incompetent man in Rugby. Both of these men fight are competing with each other for the right to be paired with the young and attractive Rhys Webb : A walking hulk of over-tanned muscles with a penchant for making completely unexpected solo plays, often leaving both his opponents and own team mates out of position and bewildered. This usually makes for some stunning solo tries, or 7 free points for the opposition. Either way, it makes Wales a very compelling team for neutrals to follow.

Late Edit : Rhys Webb is injured. Leigh Halfpenny is injured. Lava is falling from the sky. It is the end of Rugby, and Wales are abandoning all hope of winning the group, and reverting back to Plan A : 'Screw over England at all costs'.





While the above three teams would already make this the most interesting group in the history of the World Cup, the real combustible element is Fiji – a small island under military dictatorship, where rugby is taken VERY seriously. 8% of Fiji's entire population play on a rugby team and the exploits of the national team is a matter of national pride.

As important as rugby is to the people of Fiji, it receives little to no financial support from the current dictatorship. Only two members of Fiji's World Cup Squad actually player in Fiji, and each player has to pay for their own kit, hotels and airfare to attend the World Cup. As amateurish as this may seem, Fiji have some incredibly talented players, who play for and train with the biggest clubs in Europe.

Because of the disconnected nature of the team, Fiji are unpredictable and hard to scout. Vereniki Goneva is currently their hottest property, going into the World Cup as the English Premiership's 2014 player of the year. Nikola Matawalu, Leone Nakarawa and Akapusi Qera are also household names, despite being very, very hard to spell. Perhaps the one thing holding Fiji back is a lack of an experienced Fly Half. Those duties are likely to be shared between Waratahs full-back Ben Shankar, and Ospreys center Josh Matavesi. Shankar in particular is a very interesting player to follow, as he'll be moving to the Crusaders next season, as a potential replacement for Colin Slade.

In my mind, Fiji are the most interesting team in the tournament, because of what's at stake : national pride, and the chance to convince their government that sport is important to their national identity. To Fiji, The Group Of Death is almost a blessing, as it gives them three different opportunities to knock a top team out of the tournament, and make headlines around the world.





One of these teams is not like the other :{

Uruguay have never beaten England, Wales, Scotland or Fiji, but reached the World Cup through the most insane qualification process imaginable. In short, Uruguay 'beat' 19 other teams in the NACRA Rugby Championship, despite only playing 2 games. This earned them the right to challenge The USA for the chance to 'steal' America's guaranteed spot in the World Cup. Uruguay managed a draw, but heavily lost a re-match on US soil, which knocked them down into the Wild-Card tournament (at this point they've played four games and won 2 of them). Uruguay went on to beat Hong Kong, and finally Russia, to take the Wildcard spot in the tournament, and proudly earned the right to concede 400 points at this year's World Cup.


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This is what you came for, right? To find out whether the USA can play rugby, and to prove to yourself once and for all that Scotland can't. South Africa qualifying is a certainty, but the battle for second and third place is going to be pretty nuts. Scotland SHOULD qualify in second, but nobody believes that they will. Please don't let Vader's Jester watch the Scotland vs USA match on his own...





Did you know that the World Cup has a theme song? It's called World In Union, and it's about how the people of the world will come together, no matter who they support, and no matter how much they hate Quade Cooper, so that they can focus on one single, solitary wish : We all want the USA to do really loving cool at this years' tournament.

Rugby is not “a thing” in America. They happen to be the reigning Olympic champions, and it has more active players than most countries in the world, but it's definitely not “a thing”. In the past year, NBC and USA Rugby have very much tried to make it “a thing”, and it would benefit everyone in the sport of rugby if The Eagles can somehow make national headlines at the World Cup, and bolster interest in the sport in their (obviously massive) home country. Literally everbody in the thread will be cheering for The USA. Except Appolodrus, he loves Canada.

The USA sort of, kind of had a little bit of controversy in the lead-up to the World Cup, where they sacked their captain (and best player), and named one of the youngest teams in the tournament. Their best player is the confusingly-named Samu Mamoa : a #8 with an incredible try-scoring record, who has recently signed for the richest club in the world. America's captain is Chris Wyles, who looks an awful lot like Captain America.. Which is convenient, I guess. Wyles is an attacking full-back, with a lot of experience in Sevens Rugby, and 10 years of professional experience in the English Premiership.

As far as USA's actual chances go, they may be the worst team in the group, but a win over Japan or Scotland is realistically possible, and two wins is the best the team can possibly hope for. This would actually be a huge achievement, as both of those teams receive significantly more funding than The Eagles. If they can somehow get close to upsetting Samoa, and keep the score count low enough in their game against South Afirca, then enough stars could align to see them possible sneaking into the quarter-finals, which would, of course flip the world of Rugby on it's head.





Before watching Rugby, you may think of South Africans as being humble and polite people, with charming voices. After watching Rugby, you will re-assess your opinion of South Africans as hard-worn, battle-scarred, ball-carrying murder machines.. With charming voices.

The Springboks are entering the tournament as second favourites, and very often proove to be an unassailable obstacle for the Northern-Hemisphere teams. The South Africans are a strong, physical team that can punish teams that rely on kicking to relieve pressure, and can bully their opponents into exhaustion. Whichever team makes it through the gruelling Group A in second place will be dreading a match against South Africa, who will no doubt take full advantage of any weariness their opponents' dare show them.

With a first place spot in the group almost assured, it'll be interesting to see if 21 year old Handre Pollard gets a chance to make his mark on the tournament. Pollard was the highlight of last years' South African Super Rugby conference, and although he was completely out-played by Jonny Sexton in their World Cup warm-up game, he can almost certainly light up the pitch against his World Cup competition.

An honorary mention goes to Eben Etzebth. He is 23. He is a tank. He can bench press 28 stone. Gos bless you, Eben.





Samoa are a small team, with a lot of pride. To put “small” into perspective, 10% of Samoa's entire World Cup squad come from the same household. Of the three Pisi brothers, Ken and George are proven try scorers (George scored that awesome try where he somersaulted over Rhys Priestland), while their older brother Tusiata Pisi is a seasoned general of World Cups past, and the archetect of many of Samoa's victories over top-tier teams.

As a small country, Samoa are both blessed and cursed with talent. Kahn Fotualii is probably the best Scrum Half in the world, and Tim Nanai Williams is an established Super Rugby talking point. Samoa's biggest weakness is that with none of their players actually playing rugby anywhere near the isle of Samoa, and half of the entire square playing for English clubs who are notoriously stubborn about releasing players, Samoa have the least preparation and training of any of the World Cup teams.





If you're considering which teams to support at the World Cup, you should skip this bit.

Seriously. Do not watch Scotland. Do not support Scotland.

It will ruin you.



Gone?

Ok, good.

Supporting Scottish rugby is the most miserable thing in the loving world. Any other country in the world would kill to have players like Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell in their squads. How many times in a generation do players with the potential of David Denton or Mark Bennett? Yet for some unknown reason, these players happen to be born in Scotland. The Scots even manage to convince people like Sean Maitland and Tim Visser to play for them, even though they aren't even remotely related to Scotland in any way, and even THOSE players manage to lose every game in a Scottish shirt.

When I moved to Scotland, I was young and starry-eyed, and wondered 'Hey, why does everyone here hate rugby? Why don't they all cheer up and support their national team'. Now I've watched enough rugby to understand why they all hate it – supporting Scotland is a living hell.





A few years ago, we found a Manga comic about rugby. It made rugby look very exciting, but I didn't understand why all of the characters got naked and had sex with other after the match :{

I like to think this is most westerners' view of Japanese rugby. Japan don't seem to play any sort of big international sports, but when they do show up to a Rugby World Cup, or an olympic soccer tournament, they actually do look really exciting... Then it all sort of falls apart, and ITV's coverage switches to coverage of Austin Healey verbally wanking off the England team, while Japan presumably saunter back to the dressing room and wank off each oth..

JAPAN HAVE SOME REALLY EXCITING YOUNG PLAYERS LIKE YOSHIKAZU FUJITA AND THAT GUY WHO PLAYS FOR THE CHIEFS. I don't think they'll get any further in the tournament than I spent reading through that rugby Manga, but it sure is fun watching a team of agile players trying to run around South Africa!


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This group provides the food break you'll need, when trying to watch 4 games of rugby in a day. That said, there are four games in which New Zealand will almost certainly destroy their opponents. Do NOT play drinking games during any of the New Zealand games. It will become expensive and unhealthy. Why not go outside for a walk, and watch replays of the 12 tries when you get back?





The All Blacks are the favourites to win this World Cup, and the one true dynasty of international sport. It's hard to convey just how much better New Zealand are than everyone else in the world. Imagine they're The Harlem Globetrotters, and Argentina are The Generals. Now consider that Argentina are actually quite good in the grand scheme of things, and that the other three teams in the group are much, much worse than Argentina. Can you imagine if The Harlem Globetrotters played World Cup matches against 3 teams that were literally 25% as good as The Generals?

New Zealand have too many star players for me to even bother listing them, but goon favourites are : Sonny-Bill Williams (The only 'celebrity' rugby player that isn't a stinkyhole), Richie McCaw (Responsible captain who occasionaly grows ridiculous moustaches) and Beauden Barrett (Young farm boy who The Hurricanes realised is ungodly good at kicking footballs. Is literally the Luke Skywalker of rugby).

The only (ONLY!) hope the rest of the world has is that New Zealand have in fact been the best team in the world for longer than any of us have been alive, and yet they've only won the Rugby World Cup twice, suffering chokes against South Africa, Australi and.. uh.. France. On three occasions, New Zealand have managed to score over 100 points in a World Cup match, including a
score of 145 against Japan.

Whether New Zealand win their group or not isn't in question – the interesting story is whether they go all-out, and try to break their own record against Namibia or Georgia, or whether they (urgh!) look after the fitness and well-being of their players.





Los Pumas are slowly becoming a big deal in World Rugby. After joining the annual Rugby Championship as whipping boys in 2011, the harsh lessons learnt from playing against New Zealand, Australia and South Africa every year has not only toughened them up, but raised the profile of Rugby in the country enough to supply the kind of sponsorship and training required to compete at the top.

Argentina rugby teams traditionally consist of one wall of solid muscle, with most of their points coming from penalties and drop-goals. They're a bit like the northern-hemisphere teams, but without any of that 'kick the ball to your opponents' nonsense.

Although somehow always considered to be minnows, Argentina have reached a World Cup semi-final, and have scalped France, Australia and South Africa in the past 12 months. They also have the benefit of not being able to play against New Zealand during the knockout stages, making Argentina surprisingly realistic contenders for the final.





Tonga are the smallest country in the Rugby World Cup, and so they get the smallest write-up.

They aren't very good at rugby, but they have the best pre-match dance.

Vainikolo is pretty good for a winger.





Georgia are in a bit of an unfortunate spot. They aren't included in the Six Nations, but consistantly run riot over every other team in Europe. They've just won the second-tier European championship 5 years in a row, and the financial boost of playing in a major championship is possibly the only thing holding them back from being a competitive team.

Georgia's star man is Davit Zirakashvili, the best prop in the world, and former professional wrestler. I tried really hard to find his pro wrestling name, but I couldn't. I did find lots of videos of him pushing 250lb guys to the ground with just one hand, though. He's absolutely terrifying.

Playing behind Davit is flanker Mamuka Gorgodze. In Georgia, he is affectionately known as 'Gulliver'... If that doesn't already paint a mention image for you, it's because he's almost seven feet tall, and spends every game stepping all over his tiny opponents! He used to play international basketball, before he got bored, and decided to switch to a game that DOES allow you to pick up your opponents, and throw them to the ground.

Georgia are absolutely terrifying to play against. They won't win, but they'll make you suffer through the most painful 80 minutes of your life.





Although this is Namibia's 5th appearance in a row, they've yet to even come close to winning a single match at The Rugby World Cup match. As is always the case in underdog movies, Namibia actually have one of the best players in the world - Flanker, Jacques Burger : A tough tackler who can somehow create turnovers out of thin air. They also have a manager in a wheelchair, which goes the extra mile in creating the Movie Underdog image.

Since England loves underdogs so much, they're likely to actually get a lot of support, especially since they get to play two games back to back in Exeter's home ground – Namibia's home for the next two months.


-



This group is actually pretty mental. Nobody is certain of qualification, and two of the seeded teams are incredibly volatile. This group has the chance to provide some huge upsets, and an Italy vs France match which is bound to be insane.





Canada made headlines around the world in the 2011 World Cup, by playing a man with a really large beard.

In the four years that have passed, Adam Kleeberger has unfortunately dropped off the face of the earth, replaced by new captain Tyler Ardron : a fantastic ball carrying flanker from the Rugby 7s circuit, who takes the captain's helm at the impressively young age of 20. He lines up besides Clermont legend Jamie Cudmore and Glasgow's DTH Van De Merwe (hereby shortened to 3 letters for the rest of the tournament). Jeff Hassler rounds out Canada's collection of' 'players who went to Europe and then came back amazing', and uh.. That's where it ends.

Although they have a solid backbone of European rugby stars, Canada's front row is held together by sticks and duct tape. Aaron Carpenter is a #8 posing as makeshift hooker (In a rugby sense!), and could line up between two props that have just 17 caps between them.

Despite their weaknesses, Canada are a great team to watch. They're honest, hard-working, and play attacking, attractive rugby. They've made the strange (and sadly necessary) decision to field as many Rugby 7s players as Rugby Union players, so many of the team will be using the World Cup to prepare for the Olympics next year. They realistically don't have a chance of beating anyone except Romania, but they have the possibility of putting up a fight against Italy, and who knows what the gently caress France will do on any given day, so a Canadian upset at the tournament isn't out of question, and they're bound to have at least two really fun matches.





Everyone has a little bit of Irish blood in their family line somewhere, right? When your country inevitably gets knocked out in the pool stages, I high suggest switching to Ireland, because they're really, really good at playing Rugby.

Ireland are heading into the World Cup with the perfect mix of seasoned veterans, and young men hitting their prime. Captain Paul O'Connell will lead his team into his fifth World Cup, while acclaimed winger Simon Zebo will make his World Cup debut, after having already played for the British & Irish Lions, and risen to Youtube fame, for setting up one of the most insane tries of all time (Google it, seriously).

Unlike France, Ireland have never really reached their potential in a World Cup. With Rhys Webb injured, Ireland undoubtably have the best half-back combination in the world, and if Johnny Sexton is allowed to control the game, Ireland are not only tough to beat, but fun to watch.





Ahh.. France.. But WHICH France? The French are possibly the most inconsistent team in international sport. Under new manager Philippe Saint-Andre, team are seemingly generated by pulling names out of a hat, and France manage to enter each Six Nations tournament with equal chances of winning the tournament, and finishing last.

When it comes down to it though, France are a 'big match' team, and always seem to reach their potential in a World Cup – they've never won a final, but they've appeared in more finals than any other team.

As random as France are, they have at least one constant – Thierry Dusautoir dragged his team kicking and screaming through to a World Cup Final in 2011, and although they didn't win, he walked away as Man Of The Match, Player Of The Tournament and 2011 Player Of The Year. Although no two French teams are ever the same, Dusautoir is a rock, and some of the other names that can come out of the hat. We're sort of hoping Bastareaud gets plenty of game time, but who the gently caress knows. France.





You know who France hate to play against? Italy! Since joining the Six Nations in 2000, Italy have upset France on more than one occasion, sparking a rivalry between the two teams that

Unfortunaely for ALL OF US, the fantastic Sergio Parisse is a doubt for Italy's match against France, having been injured in the recent Wales vs Italy blood-letting, that decimated the world's population of professional rugby players, in the space of 80 minutes.

Italy have a soft spot in the hearts of all goons, thanks to Mastin Castrogiovanni – a big hairy italian man who was ousted from his contract at Leicester Tigers, because the English Rugby Union politely asked the team to field an Englishman in his place. Although he wanted to remain with the team, Castrogiovanni was forced to buy his way out of the Leicester contract, signed an immediate deal with the richest club in Europe, and then conducted a series of eloquent media interviews, all of which included the his new catchphrase : “Richard Cockerill is a stinkyhole”.

If results fall the right way, and Canada manage to keep the points total low in their games with Ireland and France, then Italy can certainly qualify out of the group in place of France. In the grand scheme of things, Italy's game against France could actually be the most exciting and most important fixture of the tournament.





Romania are a country in Europe that have a rugby team. Does anyone even read all of these things? Please mention it in the thread, because doing twenty of them is a hell of a lot. They have a rugby team who like to play rugby by picking up the ball and running with it towards the try line.

Romania's star man is Catalin Fercu, who's is pronounced exactly as you imagine it would be. Fercu is Romania's primary (and only) try scoring threat, and leaves Romania after the World Cup to play full-back at Saracens. Most of Romania's tries come from rolling mauls and other wars of attrition. Mihai Macovei and Horatiu Pungea are both strong in attack, but not so hot defensively.

Romania probably are unexciting, but proficient at moving forward with the ball. They can score tries, but are likely to be blown open defensively by all four of their World Cup opponents.

Tyma fucked around with this message at Sep 11, 2015 around 03:33

Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Priestland?!




All times are in British Summer Time (BST). This is not the same as GMT, as England operates Daylight Saving. Please check local broadcasters before you watch or stream a game, as I've seen a ton of confusion about what time games are going to actually start.

Games which look important or interesting on paper are marked with a siren. The tournament will take a one week break, and return on Saturday 17th October, for the knockout stages.

Friday 18 September
England v Fiji (8pm)

Saturday 19 September
Tonga v Georgia (12pm)
Ireland v Canada (2.30pm)
South Africa v Japan (4.45pm)
France v Italy (8pm)

Sunday 20 September
Samoa v USA (12pm)
Wales v Uruguay (2.30pm)
New Zealand v Argentina (4.45pm)

Wednesday 23 September
Scotland v Japan (2.30pm)
Australia v Fiji (4.45pm)
France v Romania (8pm)

Thursday 24 September
New Zealand v Namibia (8pm)

Friday 25 September
Argentina v Georgia (4.45pm)

Saturday 26 September
Italy v Canada (2.30pm)
South Africa v Samoa (4.45pm)
England v Wales (8pm)

Sunday 27 September
Australia v Uruguay (12pm)
Scotland v United States (2.30pm)
Ireland v Romania (4.45pm)

Tuesday 29 September
Tonga v Namibia (4.45pm)

Thursday 1 October
Wales v Fiji (4.45pm)
France v Canada (8pm)

Friday 2 October
New Zealand v Georgia (8pm)

Saturday 3 October
Samoa v Japan (2.30pm)
South Africa v Scotland (4.45pm)
England v Australia (8pm)

Sunday 4 October
Argentina v Tonga (2.30pm)
Ireland v Italy (4.45pm)

Tuesday 6 October
Canada v Romania (4.45pm)
Uruguay v Fiji (8pm)

Wednesday 7 October
South Africa v United States (4.45pm)
Namibia v Georgia (8pm)

Friday 9 October
New Zealand v Tonga (8pm)

Saturday 10 October
Samoa v Scotland (2.30pm)
Australia v Wales (4.45pm)
England v Uruguay (8pm)

Sunday 11 October
Argentina v Namibia (12pm)
Italy v Romania (2.30pm,)
France v Ireland (4.45pm) :siren:
United States v Japan (8pm) :siren:



-



With 20 countries involved, it may be hard to find a team to support in the World Cup. There are an overwhelming amount of players and statistics involved, and since New Zealand are going to win anyway, there's no point even reading any of them.

What sets rugby apart from all lesser forms of football is that before kick-off, each team gets a minute to do a little dance. This can be a little jiggle, or an interperative dance, but it's generally almost always 23 gigantic men performing their nation's ancient war dance, that they used to scare the gently caress out of any British people who ever thought about daring to invade their land.

-

New Zealand

The Kapa o Pango is probably the most famous war dance in the world, performed by The All Blacks, before they smash puny northern hemisphere rugby teams into the ground. This Haka is such a sacred spectacle that opposing teams will often 'challenge' New Zealand during The Haka, by ignoring the ritual, or getting in the faces of the New Zealand players, as they perform it. Teams that do this usually get fined some meaningless amount for disrespecting the pre-match ritual, and absolutely always proceed to get completely loving destroyed by a very pissed-off New Zealand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Gbj_ig09WQ

This is our land that rumbles. It's out time!
It's our moment!
This defines us as The all Blacks

-

Fiji

For many years, Fiji performed a wardance called The Cibi. After the last World Cup, the dance was deemed inappropriate, as it was a chant of celebration, as opposed to a direct threat to murder the opposition team. Thankfully, Fiji went about fixing this small oversight, and now beform 'The Bole', which involves spears,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M37JdJX9P_k

I'm challenging you to be uprooted, yes, it will be done, let's turn them upside down.
I'm ready, you think I'm afraid of you, you can't break my defence.
You're only a hen, I'm the rooster, let's fight and you'll see. I don't sleep and will watch you.

-

Tonga

Whatever Tonga may lack on the pitch, they make up for by having the best War Dance. The Sipi Tau involves pointing angrily at your opponents, powering up like Goku, before punching the ground and making a slitting motion across your throat. Do not gently caress with Tonga.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyZEUeAoFKE

O Tonga! Behold, we make our entrance
All of us, as one, stomping in unison
I will journey into battle

-

Samoa

The Siva Tau is the traditional dance of the WWE Tag Team Champions, The Uso Brothers. Although the Samoan rugby team are slightly more imposing than the professional wrestlers, this is probably the weakest of the five dances competing at this year's World Cup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYmiRL9wCE0&t=1m05s

The Manu Samoa
The Manu Samoa
The Manu Samoa reigns from Samoa.

Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Priestland?!




In the USA, all matches will be availible on PPV, internet streaming, and in sports bars. The following matches will also be broadcast live on Universal Sports Network. The following kick-off times are EST. NBC will also broadcast the finals, and one of the semi-finals.

Friday 18 September
England v Fiji (3pm EST)

Sunday 20 September
Samoa v USA (7am EST)

Sunday 27 September
Scotland v United States (9:30am EST)

Wednesday 7 October
South Africa v United States (11:45am EST)

Sunday 11 October
United States v Japan (3pm EST)


-



I've created an ESPN Fantasy League for the world cup. you can sign up here.

http://fantasyrugby.espn.co.uk/

and the Pin for the League is 1157482-12650

I'll throw in a Forum Upgrade or Avatar of your choice to the person coming first, their choice.

Tyma fucked around with this message at Sep 16, 2015 around 13:19

Vaders Jester
Sep 9, 2009

Welcome to fucking Scotland.


This is amazing mate, great job.

Spot on with the Scotland part too

poly and open-minded
Nov 22, 2006

In BOD we trust



How dare you say France has a bad national anthem

TRISHY
Apr 12, 2005



Tyma posted:


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. The current champions are Australia.. Somehow. I watched the whole thing, and I still don't understand how.


Argentina joined the Rugby Champs in 2012. *Edit* I remember that cause they beat the Wallabies last year

In 2016 Japan and Argentina are joining Super Rugby.

TRISHY fucked around with this message at Sep 11, 2015 around 05:47

hooman
Oct 11, 2007

This guy seems legit.


TRISHY posted:

Argentina joined the Rugby Champs in 2012. *Edit* I remember that cause they beat the Wallabies last year

In 2016 Japan and Argentina are joining Super Rugby.

I am so excited for this.

Vagabundo
Mar 20, 2007

SWING LOW
SWEET CHARIOT


So basically Rhys Priestland is like Stephen Donald except he'll never have that moment of redemption that becomes legendary like Beaver did.

fallingdownjoe
Mar 16, 2007

Please love me


Pork Pro

This is a great OP, thanks Tyma. Really nice to have something new.

And I see in the list of good matches to watch that there's a couple I've not seen! Looks like I'll be unproductive today!

algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011



Lipstick Apathy

Lmao, yes I did read all the bios and especially loved the small nations, thanks for the write up.

HappyCamperGL
May 18, 2014



quote:

Uruguay have never beaten ... Scotland

And that will definitely not be changing in the quarter-finals!

quote:

As far as USA's actual chances go, they may be the worst team in the group, but a win over...Scotland is realistically possible

Scotland may be bad; but let's not be silly.

Aramoro
Jun 1, 2012



HappyCamperGL posted:

Scotland may be bad; but let's not be silly.

Scotland are not bad, but they have a talent of playing slgithly worse than their opponents, they can be slightly worse than New Zealand and slightly worse than Italy in the same year. Whilst I hope we do crush those colonial lackey's I can easily see us playing slightly worse than them.

Apollodorus
Feb 13, 2010

TEST YOUR MIGHT


Chris Robshaw would probably not appreciate being confused with Chris Ashton. Just saying.

But seriously, GREAT writeup. Spot on about everything. Glad the USA Eagles of America are getting their due

ColtMcAsskick
Nov 7, 2010


I can't wait to froth over rugby for month and a bit. World Cup years are seriously the best years

meat CRime
Jun 12, 2010

ham, turkey, roast beef, cold cuts, North Carolina, vienna sausage


Grimey Drawer

Fantastic OP, cant wait for this.

MysticalMachineGun
Apr 5, 2005




Great OP Tyma - put me down as another one who read it all. And now I know about Priestland my world is a little brighter.

Diet Crack
Jan 15, 2001

Tesselcats are WOAH!!

OOOH, AHH, SA-MOA.


Go Wallabies! The loving Pools are atrocious though - NZ basically gets a few practice matches leading into the meat of it.

WMain00
Oct 7, 2008

Check out this low energy post! Sad!


Aramoro posted:

Scotland are not bad, but they have a talent of playing slgithly worse than their opponents, they can be slightly worse than New Zealand and slightly worse than Italy in the same year. Whilst I hope we do crush those colonial lackey's I can easily see us playing slightly worse than them.

This.

It is a source of utter amazement that Scotland can be slightly worse than NZ - who are effectively invincible - then proceed to be slightly worse than Italy.

You can watch Scotland, but you will never understand Scotland.

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.


Yeah, you've shortchanged La Marseillaise there. A French crowd singing it a cappella is a great thing. It never gets played at the right speed though, like most of the anthems. A whole bunch would work much better if they got rid of the professional singer. Hell, the Scots can even do their dirge justice when they don't have a mezzo-soprano getting in the way.

Also, I have just realised that my friends' wedding is on the 10th of October. Welp.

fallingdownjoe
Mar 16, 2007

Please love me


Pork Pro

I had to have a very difficult conversation with a friend of mine whilst I explained that I couldn't get back from Twickenham for her 50th birthday party on the 10th because a) I would be watching England and hoping they don't rack up too many points against Uruguay, and b) if Wales do win I would be completely ratted.

fallingdownjoe fucked around with this message at Sep 11, 2015 around 22:10

Plucky Brit
Nov 7, 2009

Swing low, sweet chariot


goatface posted:

Yeah, you've shortchanged La Marseillaise there. A French crowd singing it a cappella is a great thing. It never gets played at the right speed though, like most of the anthems. A whole bunch would work much better if they got rid of the professional singer. Hell, the Scots can even do their dirge justice when they don't have a mezzo-soprano getting in the way.

Also, I have just realised that my friends' wedding is on the 10th of October. Welp.

Flower of Scotland at Twickenham this year was incredible; the band did it in a three-four waltz.

Anyway, France has the best national anthem, nothing else comes close.

Otherwise, awesome write-up Tyma.

Apollodorus
Feb 13, 2010

TEST YOUR MIGHT


goatface posted:



Also, I have just realised that my friends' wedding is on the 10th of October. Welp.

How do you know my sister?

julian assflange
Jul 29, 2010

She's offering me a ride....

Italy has the best anthem by miles

Apollodorus
Feb 13, 2010

TEST YOUR MIGHT


I dunno, a lot of Italians I've asked aren't all that crazy about it.

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.


Are they doing concurrent war dances this year? I can't remember the last time I saw that.

Vagabundo
Mar 20, 2007

SWING LOW
SWEET CHARIOT


goatface posted:

Are they doing concurrent war dances this year? I can't remember the last time I saw that.

War dance teams (i.e. ABs, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji) tend to do them one at a time, almost consecutively. The Samoa v. ABs game earlier this year had the visitors doing theirs first, then the home team doing theirs, immediately after.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYmiRL9wCE0

Smorgasbord
Jun 18, 2004

HEY
HEY
YORICK
HEY

GET THAT SHIT HORATIO

I still prefer Ka Mate to the new one. It might have more meaning to the team but for the outsider it's way more awkward and stilted performance wise.

goatface
Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.


I'm sure I remember seeing a tournament where they did them at the same time, shouting each other down.

Mister Chief
Jun 6, 2011



Tonga vs New Zealand 2003?

GuardianOfAsgaard
Feb 1, 2012

Their steel shines red
With enemy blood
It sings of victory
Granted by the Gods


Yeah '03 they did and it was awesome:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eGCsEQ15L4

meat CRime
Jun 12, 2010

ham, turkey, roast beef, cold cuts, North Carolina, vienna sausage


Grimey Drawer

The US will beat Scotland OR South Africa, but not both

The Clit Avoider
Aug 11, 2002

El Profesional


Since Group A will probably revert to this, it's a good idea to remind us what rugby is really all about.

Oh and let's all remember no team has ever won the 3N (now Rugby Championship) and RWC the same year. Well done Wobs.

ColtMcAsskick
Nov 7, 2010


The Clit Avoider posted:

Oh and let's all remember no team has ever won the 3N (now Rugby Championship) and RWC the same year. Well done Wobs.

It is a true honour that the wallabies are the ones to pop this particular cherry then

puchu
Sep 20, 2004

hiya~


All Blacks fan here checking in and ready to melt down when we lose in the semi finals or whatever

bigfoot again
Apr 24, 2007



Good OP, except a back row is not a back line and Priestland did nothing wrong in that Australia game

The Clit Avoider
Aug 11, 2002

El Profesional


puchu posted:

All Blacks fan here checking in and ready to melt down when we lose in the semi finals or whatever

A quarter final against France in Cardiff is entirely possible.

Wayne Barnes is polishing his whistle...

StraightFace
Feb 9, 2014


meat CRime posted:

The US will beat Scotland OR South Africa, but not both

Lol if you think the US will come within 20 points of South Africa

Vagabundo
Mar 20, 2007

SWING LOW
SWEET CHARIOT


The USA may give the Scots a bit of a hurry-up, but there's no chance they'll beat them either. The Scots will finish with a fairly comfortable scoreline.

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Tyma
Dec 22, 2004

Priestland?!


Vagabundo posted:

The USA may give the Scots a bit of a hurry-up, but there's no chance they'll beat them either. The Scots will finish with a fairly comfortable scoreline.

Are you confident enough to bet a picture of Kirk bumming Spock against a naked picture of Sean Lamont?

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