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The Top 5 Little Men of World Rugby

And another question: was it Dominici or La Salle who marked Lomu in the '99 WC semi final? Both were excellent small players.

3 Weeks, 6 Days ago

The Top 5 Little Men of World Rugby

Just about everyone mentioned in the top five is a recent or active player. Five is too small a sample size. Gerald Davies (5'8" 12 stone), Phil Bennett (5'8" 12 stone), and Barry John (5'9" 11 stone) would have to be on anyone's best list with more than five players mentioned, like maybe the top 15 players regarded as "small." I'd add Gareth Edwards, who was only 5'8", but he had to have been at least 13 stone. So what does small mean? Is 12 stone a weight limit, and 5'9" a height limit?

3 Weeks, 6 Days ago

The Call of the Wallaby - Episode 1

So you are suggesting that newspapers and the media in general are more prone to cover league over union. I guess then that's just what has happened historically. League just has more of a fan base, especially in Sydney. Union still looked upon as a schools sport for the upper middle class. I got that from the documentary, regarding the single mom who has a kid going to St. Joseph's.
So winning two RWCs hasn't had the sort of knock-on effect that one would think would happen with that kind of success. Again I see some irony here too, because the union game in the last decade or two has changed so much as to have so many similarities to league. Maybe the average casual fan of rugby has it in his mind, in Australia, that with the two codes having become somewhat similar, why not just be focused on league, especially if coming from a family of league club supporters.
An uncle of mine who lived in Sydney was a Balmain Tigers fan back in the day. He died a few years back. Yet he always knew who was on the Wallabies, and certainly watched the internationals when they were on the TV.
Being an American, from California, I only will comment that rugby here in the States is never, ever going to be very popular, though it's past being a "cult" sport. There was some interest developed with the telecast of the 1995 RWC, but most games were on an night. Next year it will be interesting to see how much ESPN gives to its coverage on TV. My point is that interest is lower for rugby than soccer, which has recently peaked with the WC in Brazil. High school rugby is still rather spotty. It's been eclipsed by la crosse, as American boys have been attracted to playing that sport if they aren't into football, baseball, and basketball. Soccer is very popular with youth here. Ask Americans on the street if they've ever seen a rugby match, and most will still say no.

1 Month, 2 Days ago

The Call of the Wallaby - Episode 1

There is some irony in the fact that when rugby union was still amateur Australia got on top, as they were on the upswing in the 80's and on into the early 90's with the 1991 RWC championship. Sure, the 1999 RWC was in the new era, but since then, well into the professional era, Australia hasn't done as well as the other top rugby nations. So did League counter Union going professional, one-up it if you will? I'm really curious about this, as it seemed rugby union was really going well in Australia before this past decade. It's been nearly 30 years since I visited Down Under. This web site is one of the only ways I can keep up with what's going on, since I dropped my Fox Sports World subscription a dozen or more years ago, as they were showing less and less rugby, more and more soccer, at the time here in the USA, and it wasn't worth the money to keep it on my cable TV subscription.
Believe it, rugby on TV here in the States was much more available between 1995 and about 2002. It's now only on premium channels, and they aren't always showing games in pubs at really good times, and I'm not spending over $200/month just to see some rugby matches. Sometimes NBC Cable Sports has rugby, like some recent 7's and last months Japan/US and Canada/US matches. That's rare!

1 Month, 3 Days ago

Jonah Lomu wreaking havoc against Australia in 1995

I doubt he had or has a 28" waist. Maybe a 32 or 33 inch waist. I'd believe that. For comparison, an old American football player, Jim Brown, when he was playing in the 50's and 60's for the Cleveland Browns, had a 32 inch waist at 6'2". He was considered to be about the fittest player in professional American football at the time. Weight lifting was just starting as a training regime then.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Jonah Lomu wreaking havoc against Australia in 1995

Agree with you about the league influence. Hit and drag meant, overall, less concussions. Hit and wrestle: that's a lot of head to head contact.
The only area of the pitch where going back a yard or two makes a difference is on the goal line.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Jonah Lomu wreaking havoc against Australia in 1995

You have a good point about space. I wonder if Lomu would have made a really great international number 8. Wasn't that his position in school? His speed and size made him a battering ram on the wing who could also run around and away from tacklers, but when you think about it there's usually been one big player out on the wing for many national sides over the years: David Duckham was a slightly smaller version of Lomu, as was John Kerwin.
The irony is that a small wing on that French side, with two small wingers, took down New Zealand and Johah Lomu in 1999's RWC.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Jonah Lomu wreaking havoc against Australia in 1995

My negative memory of Johan Lomu is that game against France in the RWC of 1999. He was marked by a 12 stone 5'8" wing (was it La Salle?), but his weakness was exploited: kicks behind him that he had a bad time trying to cover.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

Jonah Lomu wreaking havoc against Australia in 1995

It was considered "bad form" then to swan dive when not needed to do so.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

The Top 5 Moments from the 2001 Super Rugby Season

I agree with your comment about TV. I does seem that laws have been changed so that the TV spectator can see what is considered a better game to spend time watching. Sure, those who governed rugby wanted to change the laws so that there would be less stoppages, and to encourage more try-scoring, but for those of us who played before these changes, the game isn't like what we played. It just doesn't seem right to me, how the game is played now. For instance, what was so bad about 22 drop outs that the laws were changed so they rarely happen anymore? Regarding lifting, the first law allowing it was better, because it still meant a jumper had to jump, and then be supported. And certainly professionalism has meant those bigger and stronger have all the time they need to train, as I assume they make enough money so as not to have a real job (which isn't true here in the US: our better players are playing club rugby in Britain for their coin).
Going back to the 22 drop out, I ref mostly 2nd division college games here in California. I called one this year when a ball kicked into the in-goal was touched down. The team dropping out had to sort out what they needed to do, and check with their coach on the sidelines. I asked the captain what was the problem, and he said they had only practiced it a few times before the season started, and it was the first time they had to do it all season, and this was near the end of the season.

1 Month, 1 Week ago

 
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