By Benny Harris
Today I spoke with a rugby coach. When asked about rugby’s place in the world, esp. the United States. He said though he’s glad rugby’s, officially, been declared an Olympic sport (and the US team will play in the next Olympics), it is still underrated and misunderstood. He clarified he didn’t want to offend anyone in the gay community, then said, “Too many Americans have this whole ‘rugby’s nothing but a smear the queer sport.’ Where I just think it’s too complex for most Americans to comprehend.”
After I explained the purpose of this blog, he said, even though Australia and New Zealand are major rugby hot-beds, the other country to keep an eye on is South Africa. By gumby, he’s right! Saturday, South Africa narrowly defeated Dublin 23 points to 21 in the rugby international at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
Well congratulations, South Africa! Let’s see what else there is to learn. The Springboks are the South African national rugby team. They are the current holders of the Rugby World Cup. Even better, there’s a Springboks The Springboks coach is team!Peter de Villers. In January 2008, he was appointed as the first non-white coach of the Springboks. This was significant in that the Sprinboks faced wide spread international boycotts during the apartheid era. They’d been accused of representing the white minority government and were excluded from two world rugby cup tournaments in 1987 and 1991. Unfortunately, the “boks” haven’t fared so well during their recent Tri-Nations matches. They lost to the All Blacks in Soweto and to The Wallabies in Bloemfontein. Still, the Springboks are definitely a team to keep an eye out for.
In other rugby news: Saturday, New Zealand beat England 26-16. Dan Carter kicked 16 points at the opening autumn international rugby match, leading them to victory. Yep, the All Blacks are still top ranked, despite losing 26-24 to Australia last week.