Rugby For New Fans

Discussion in 'Rugby & Aussie Rules' started by Sykotyk, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Sykotyk

    Sykotyk Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Alright, I've been trying to learn as much as I can about rugby, since I finally got FSW this past year. I loved the World Cup, and understanding that is rather simple. Even the game. My problem, is understanding the exact competitions.

    1. I watched the NPC last year. Now, there's the Super 12 in the spring. The NPC is League, right? And the Super 12 is Union, correct?

    2. How is the NPC setup? I know they have pro-rel, but are they actually clubs, or a state-vs-state like tournament for New Zealand?

    3. Next, how exactly did the Super 12 come to be? I've watched some on TV and have gathered it's a mix of teams from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, but why no city names for the teams. The only teams that are identified, it seems, is ACT and NSW by initials only.

    4. Are there actual 'city/region nickname' names, or are they just simply, officially, The Blues, The Highlanders, The NSW Waratahs, and such...

    5. Next, is the Six Nations and Tri-Nations. Why the exclusivity. Obvious the Six Nations is namely Europe and the Tri-Nations is SA, AUS, and NZ, but why no inclusion of other areas?

    6. Is there lower levels to national tournaments? Is there any semblences of regions akin to soccer (UEFA, CONMEBOL,...) or is it basically just a bunch of national sides and then just regular tournaments.

    7. For the six nations and tri-nations, are they just 'table tournaments', are is there some sort of knockout round at the end for either?

    8. What are the other main Unions or Leagues in the world? I figure the Zurich Premiership is a big RFU in England, how exactly is it setup? Pro/Rel? A knockout round after the season, or just a table as well.

    9. How is the Sevens tournaments staged. They seem to have some sort of seasonal schedule that seems more like an auto-racing circuit than actual knockout competitions. Where you're scored per round, and then at the end the national sides are ranked by points accumulated.

    10. What are some of the major clubs in Rugby, union or league. It seems a little convoluted looking at rugby. You have the Six and Tri-Nations, and then you have the Super 12 that seems slightly between them, and then you have things such as the NPC, then other national unions and leagues.

    12. Other than Super 12 and NPC, is there any other rugby games (other than the NCAA game I see is scheduled next month), is there any of the other tournaments are leagues scheduled to be on FSW?

    13. And lastly, when checking out some of the rugby sites, there's tournaments such as the Heiniken Cup and Powergen Cup and Currie Cup. Anyone able to explain those to new fans? Especially since they don't appear to be on FSW at all. And, what exactly is the Barbarians and Lions.

    I've been wrapping my head around some of these questions, and think I have answers to most of them. But obviously sites that report these things to fans assume that the fans already know, and without being able to watch of actively follow these games (other than some Super 12 or NPC games) there isn't much to be able to learn.

    Thanks, in advance, for anyone who can help answer them.

    Sykotyk
     
  2. Craig the Aussie

    Craig the Aussie New Member

    May 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    1. No, both NPC and Super12 are Union. The NPC is the National Provincial Championship of New Zealand.

    2. The NPC teams are provinces (like states). Top Rugby players in NZ & SA don't play many games for their clubs - they play in the interprovincial competitions

    3. The Super 12 started as a 6 nations competition with NSW & Queensland from Australia, the top 3 teams from the previous years NZ NPC, and the champion Pacific Island team. When apartheid lifted, the SA teams were admitted. Along with the NZ teams they were still true provincial teams. ACT were also added. This format caused problems as (a) the SA & NZ teams were different each year - not good for marketing, and (b) top players from other provinces did not get to compete in Super12. So, artificial teams were created. That is why only the Australian teams (New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Queensland) are true state/provincial teams. The SA & NZ teams are amalgamations of a number of provinces.


    4. The teams are Queensland Reds, New South Wales Waratahs (the state flower of NSW), Australian Capital Territory Brumbies (the Australian term for a wild horse), The Sharks (based in Natal), The Stormers (based in Capetown), The Cats (based in Jo’burg I think) and The Bulls (Pretoria ?), The Blues (Auckland), The Hurricanes (Wellington), The Highlanders (Dunedin – Otago), The Chiefs (Hamilton – Waikato) and The Crusaders (Christchurch – Canterbury)

    5. The 6 Nations was for many years the 5 Nations, until Italy was added a few years ago. It is the most traditional international competition. The Tri-Nations was basically a marketing move to increase the amount of international matched for the SANZAR countries, and to provide content for cable TV. They do not want to include easy beat countries.

    6. There is a Pacific Rim tournament involving Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Canada, USA. The World Cup and Tri Nations are relatively new. Before that the traditional format was tours, where for example Australia would travel around Britain & Ireland, playing 4 internationals and also games against the top club teams and regional combinations. There are a lot less tours now as the game is more professional.

    7. Just tables. The Australia v New Zealand games also count towards the Bledisloe Cup.

    8. In Australia the Super 12 players go back to their clubs and play in either the New South Wales or Queensland leagues. I don’t know much about other countries. In Australia we have leagues with playoffs at the end of the season. No pro/rel.

    9. Sevens are basically carnivals, although they have got a bit more serious over the last 5 or so years. No one in Australia at least takes much notice of them. Each tournament has pool games, then quarters, semis and finals

    10. The major union clubs in Australia are those that play in the NSW premiership – eg. Randwick, Sydney University, Manly, Eastern Suburbs, Parramatta and the Queensland premiership eg. Brothers, University, Southern Suburbs, GPS etc.

    At the elite level union is more of an interstate/provincial and international sport. League is more of a club based sport. Major league clubs in Australia are those in the National Rugby League (www.nrl.com.au)

    12. No idea

    13. The Heineken Cup is like the Champions League in soccer – all the top clubs in Europe compete. The Currie Cup is the South African version of the NPC – an interprovincial championship.

    Barbarians teams are invitational teams. Traditionally when a major country (Australia or NZ) tours Britain & Ireland, the last match of the tour is against the Barbarians who can invite any player in the world to play for them. They are usually very entertaining games because noone cares about the result – just having a good game. 2 of the most famous Barbarians games were against NZ in 1973 (GREAT match) and against Australia in 1984 (the year Australia won the “grand slam” by winning all 4 internationals). The Barbarians also play other matches during the season – often for charity.

    The Lions (officially the British & Irish Lions) is a combined representative team that can include players from any of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Traditionally these countries toures overseas very infrequently – most overseas tours were conducted as Lions tours. The uniform is also a mixture: red jersey (Wales), white shorts (England), blue socks (Scotland), green sock tops (Ireland)

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Andy TAUS

    Andy TAUS Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Sydney, AUS
    Rugby Union & Rugby League in Australia are also played at provincial, district, sub-district and town-based competition levels. So, the "clubs" are actually functioning at a much lower level than just the "premiership" level (eg in Sydney for NSW).

    All 4 codes of football ("Soccer", Rugby League, Rugby Union & Australian Rules) and other sports (eg cricket, swimming, basketball, etc) here, tend to reflect this same organisational / hierachial structure(s).
     
  4. OldFanatic

    OldFanatic Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Bay Area
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Also see:

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&postid=2155839#post2155839

    While it doesn't directly answer your questions, it includes a number of links. Once you get on those links, you could traverse other links there (and so on ad infinitum) and learn a lot in the process. I have to say though, the Rugby universe is too complicated and difficult to understand. I think this is mostly because it's still behind the curve on the commercial bandwagon compared to other major global sports. The worldwide Rugby websites are nowhere as refined compared to the association football ones. I've found a number of "official" websites to be slow in putting score updates etc.
    Not to mention the Union/League rift which totally confuses newcomers from non Rugby playing countries (and sucks up resources from each other too).
     
  5. Sykotyk

    Sykotyk Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks for your help, Craig, Andy, and Chandu.

    Much appreciated. I agree, Rugby (League or Union) is a much more complicated beast to decipher than even international soccer, which at least has a very strong governing body to regulate it into a neat 'flow chart' for tournaments, leagues, clubs, and national sides.

    Would the Rugby Union games such as the Tri Nations and Six Nations, as well as NPC and Super 12 all use the exact same rules as that in the World Cup, are is there variances?

    My question about those interstate/provincial tournaments, such as the NPC, how are the players determined. Like a national side (must be resident) or are they just like a club and can sign, trade, cut players by some set method?

    Sykotyk
     
  6. Craig the Aussie

    Craig the Aussie New Member

    May 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    All competitions use the same rules as far as the game goes, although point allocations for league table purposes - use of bonus points etc varies from comp. to comp.

    Having said that, there are some differences in interpretations between Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere - the referees and controlling bodies in the North tend to be more "by the book" and traditional - in the South they tend to let more go, and the games tend to be higher scoring.

    Super 12 teams are like clubs - players can be signed from anywhere (although the Australian teams tend to restrict it to players who are available to play for Ausstralia internationally). For example, ACT is really a second NSW side - the ACT is basically the Australian equivalent of the District of Columbia - it has a small population and very few of the ACT players actually live there.

    I am not sure of the NPC and Currie Cup rules, but I believe you have to be a resident of the province that you represent.
     
  7. skipshady

    skipshady New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Orchard St, NYC
    Craig took this question, but 6 Nations was once 5 Nations, and before that, it was 4 Nations, just the 3 British nations and unified Ireland.

    It's important to keep in mind that international tournaments are a relatively new phenomenon for the most part. The World Cup didn't exist until 1987. Before that, international bragging rights were earned through Test Matches.

    Touring is a huge part of international rugby, though its glamor has worn off with the advent of the World Cup. But here's what would happen in a tour - England would schedule 3 matches against New Zealand, with matches against local sides played in between. But those 3 matches between England and the All Blacks essentially carried as much weight as a World Cup match does now.
    You can file this in the "Things You Didn't Know You Wanted To Learn, But Turns Out You Did" cabinet.

    In Japan, the highest level of rugby is the corporate league - as you may or may not know, corporations play a large role in Japanese peoples' lives even outside the workplace (though less so these days) and a company would offer activities for its employees. It's common for a large corporation to have a wide variety of sports activities, and one of them is rugby.

    Well, as you can imagine, this developed into a more serious endeavor, and instead of employees coming out for rugby, companies started recruiting collegiate rugby players to be their employees. The players would be employed like regular employees, but after work hours, they would train for rugby - think NCAA football or basketball (in fact, this is how Japanese soccer was until the early 90s, and almost all current J-League clubs have their roots in corporate soccer. Yokohama Marinos were Nissan, Urawa Reds were Mitsubishi, etc etc, but I digress).

    The annual national tournament is pretty well covered by the media - this is probably the third biggest team sports competition after baseball and soccer. And companies like Toyota and Kobe Steel would compete in a nationwide tourney.

    The curious thing is, after the corporate tournament is over, the champion plays the collegiate champion to determine the undisputed Japanese rugby champion. As you can imagine, the corporate champions win most of the time, but the college boys have been known to pull an upset from time to time.

    While rugby is far less glamorus than baseball or soccer, national tournaments at corporate, university and high school levels are all televised and top players are household names.
     
  8. Auxodium

    Auxodium New Member

    Apr 11, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    Union in Australia is played at a very local level. Ie in Perth there is a comp that has districts play in a comp then they go on to Super 12. Ther is no national competition like the NRL. But Perth do want a super 12's side as Union is followed strongly than compared to League. Perth Glory have spoken about having a partnership with the Super 12 side at their home ground. England, SA, NZ, Japan, France, Argentina & Italy run union at domestic level. NZ, SA & Australia have inter-club comps.

    the 6 nations is for Europe and the Trinations is for ASANZ-RA (rugby alliance) Argentina have now expressed their interest in joining making it 4 nations. And Japan also.

    But International competitions are very new in the Rugby world. For Australia to tour Britan and Fance and Italy would be like the World Cup! And throw in the club sides!
     
  9. BhoysFC1995

    BhoysFC1995 New Member

    Nov 30, 1999
    NYC
    Rugby league question-

    there has been alot of talk about the gold coast getting a team in '06. my question is what led to the failure of the seagulls, and what makes this team different? the one difference i know is that the new team would play in carerra.

    also any thoughts on a pacific islanders team in NZ, or sydney (as there have been talks)?
     
  10. pc4th

    pc4th New Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    North Poll
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Sorry for the interuption but I just remembered something. IT was one of the first time if not the first time I seen rugby. IT was in an anime (Japanese cartoon). One of the funniest episode I ever seen. (yeah, my first viewing of rugby is through cartoon, but now i have FSW, yeahhh!)

    To get your hand on it (totally Free) go to this thread: Click toward the end about 6 posts down. Oh, you need a fast internet connection to download it.
    Highly recommended:

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&postid=2188213#post2188213

    I am not sure, but I believe it was episode 6, 7 or 8 or 9. But all the episodes are great, very funny. You will definately like it.

    Basic summary: A school rugby club will be shut down if it doesn't win its "pre-season" game against a rival school (one of the best in the country). However, the rugby club, is what should I say, 'pacific, girly, friendly' resembling anything but rugby more like a 'tea-flower' club. They even refuse to tackle because they don't believe in violence and pray for a peaceful, 'no-body' get hurt kind of game. However, enter the main character, who agreed to coach them into 'real' men. It's halarious. Oh, the main character is also a player and when the game took place, (nah, I don't want to ruin it for you). PLEASE check it out, for your own SAKE.

    It's free (for the time being, if it's licensed and will soon, it will be taken off-line) so if you have the time, I highly advise you to click on the link above.
    Oh, remember to read the part about BitTorrent in that link because you need to install it to download the avi file.

    p.s. Is there any rugby movies? Because there are several soccer movies out there. Lot of baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and even golf (Happy Gilmore), bowling even. Just wondering if there is any rugby movie out there.

    I learned "Cricket" by watching Latana: Once upon a Time in India. An Amazing film.
     
  11. OldFanatic

    OldFanatic Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Bay Area
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, it's "Lagaan". In Hindi, the word means "Tax". It's an interesting and completely fictional movie, although it is presented as if it's a true story.
     
  12. Maczebus

    Maczebus New Member

    Jun 15, 2002
    It might be, but it's not a great source for getting to know cricket.
    They don't bowl like that - for starters.
     
  13. Craig the Aussie

    Craig the Aussie New Member

    May 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Probably the most famous rugby movie (although it was rugby league) was This Sporting Life - black & white made in the late 50's I think - set in the north of England. Can't think of any others at the moment - although there have been a few "made for TV" ones.

    There have been a few Aussie Rules ones - The Club (great), A Salute to the Great McCarthy (dreadful), Aussie Rules (great - but more a comment on race relations in a country town than about the game)
     
  14. Craig the Aussie

    Craig the Aussie New Member

    May 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Firstly, the Pacific Islands team would be Union - in the Super 12 (or Super 14 as it would become, as another Australian team - probably Perth or Melbourne would also come in).

    I can't see it happening, but I am probably wrong. There is a precedent. When the Super 12 started (as the South Pacific Championship), the top Island team from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga participated.

    As for the Gold Coast - there have been 2 attempts to get teams going there. First the Giants (renamed the Seagulls), and later the Chargers. There were a lot of reasons behind them falling over - and I think any new team will again.

    The Gold Coast is death valley for sports teams. As well as the 2 league teams, Gold Coast basketball & baseballl franchises died, and the Brisbane Bears Aussie Rules team struggled, until they moved into Brisbane proper.
     
  15. counterattack

    counterattack New Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Looking for a comment.

    Having grown up in the US, Rugby was always looked upon as a recreation, like bowling. At a certain level it is professional, but for the most part it is just for fun. The aftergame beer being the main attraction.

    Because of Fox Sport World I started to watch International and Professional rugby in earnest. It didn't take long to see that it is the most exciting of all of the field sports. It may also be the most grueling, demanding end to end play, both on offense and defense. Many a rugby match I have watched was won or lost in the last minutes where conditioning and determination are the difference.

    Here is my question for the Rugby experts: One of the real benefits I got from watching rugby was a renewed appreciation of the Canadian American game we call football. Because NFL/CFL football's roots are in rugby, watching the importance of the forwards and central play, in scrums, rucks and the like, trained me to watch our game of football from the down linemen out. I don't follow the ball as much as I watch the formations, and the individual play along the line of scrimage (scrumage, as it was once called). If you have the chance to watch NFL or CFL Canadian American football. what are your impressions of it? Does watching it change the way you view rugby? What do you like about North American game, and what do you not like? I would be quite interested to know.

    Thanks for your time, I hope to hear from you soon.
     
  16. OldFanatic

    OldFanatic Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Bay Area
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    After having discovered Rugby Union sometime around 1994-95, I have had no desire to watch (North) American Football. I followed the NFL for about 8 years before that.

    A one-word description of my impression of that sport now is: tedious.

    OK, getting to the specifics. I won't quote the tired cliches such as excessive padding and protective gear, (TV) timeouts/commercials (wait, I just did! :) ). Seriously, I can't stand that it has micro-specialized player positions and something called special team. I can't stand that there are separate offence and defence teams that hardly interact with each other. I can't stand that all these teams go back and forth from the field to the bench when possession changes. Imagine watching a basketball game in which separate offence and defence teams switched everytime the ball switched possession? How absurd does that sound? That's how absurd I find American Football now after following Rugby Union. The flow in the sport is pretty much non-existant. It is too discrete and I feel it takes the strategy element to an extreme. The individual players might as well be replaced with android robots and played with a remote control, or move the sport to be some Gladiators style event.

    OK, there is another completely different sport called Rugby League. It is more similar to American Football, except that it doesn't suffer from many of the problems I mention above. (No excessive padding, no separate offence/defence, no timeouts). But surprisingly, this sport has very little strategy element and seems far more physical than Rugby Union. After 6 tackles, if a try isn't scored the ball must be punted. In another thread, I recently mentioned that I find it very difficult to watch it. But if I had a choice of watching between American Football and Rugby League, I would choose Rugby League.

    Here is how I rank my personal preference for the various tackle football codes:

    Rugby Union
    Australian Football
    Rugby League
    American/Canadian Football

    I know next to nothing about Gaelic Football. If you don't know much about Australian Football, it is like a hybrid sport between Rugby Union and basketball.

    BTW, I prefer watching AsSOCiation Football over any tackle football code (including Rugby Union).
     
  17. prk166

    prk166 BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 8, 2000
    Med City
    Mostly because they are the rugby countries that really matter. For example, England doesn't stand to gain much by playing Canada or the US in terms of their very best improving their level of play.

    Waikato!!! :)
     
  18. prk166

    prk166 BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 8, 2000
    Med City
    AMEN!!!

    Personally, I would just as well stick my tongue on a stop sign in the middle of winter than watch either league or the NFL.
     
  19. OldFanatic

    OldFanatic Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Bay Area
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That sounds like lyrics to a Weird Al Yankovic song and/or classic sig material. ;)
     
  20. PVancouver

    PVancouver Member

    Apr 1, 1999
    When there is a foul in rugby union or rugby league, is any indication given to the players or the fans on exactly what foul is being called?
     
  21. OldFanatic

    OldFanatic Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Bay Area
    Club:
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Don't know much about League. But in Union (at least what I've watched: Tri-Nations, Super-12 and World Cups) the referee is fitted with a microphone over which you can clearly hear him speaking with the players. During majority of the stoppages such as penalties, scrums, sin-bin yellow cards, even lineout calls etc you can hear the referee's explanations to the player(s). I would expect the same for six-nations and other international test-matches as well. It's probably an IRB (Union's equivalent for FIFA or ICC) requirement, although I'm not sure on that.
     
  22. Spartacus

    Spartacus Member

    May 20, 2001
    The NO SOCCER Zone
    In the NFL you're right. They've become dreadfully gladitorial to the point of absurdity. That's why I prefer American football on the university level (at least they allow a little passion for the game at that level), Canadian football (a little more wide-open, creative and free-flowing to the extent that gridiron football can be), and Arena football (Chandu, this is where the old "two-platoon" football is passe...of the 8 players on the field for either team, 6 of them must play both offense and defense, only 2 "specialists" are allowed).

    I'm still trying to figure out League and Union...the action, while more free-flowing than American gridiron, still has operates with too many fits-and-starts for my taste. Give me AFL any day.

    Disclaimer: This has been written by a native-born US citizen who has never played any of these games at any organized level.
     

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