• A few new “ruckosphere” links … or “scrumosphere” …
•• I’m adding the Dallas Athletic Rugby Club, because Bloo is using the DARC blog as the team’s new website, but also blogging.
•• Julia at Ruck Pad blogs her thoughts away on politics and random rugbyness …
And I just accidentally hit the F11 key which blew up my screen and after randomly pressing buttons in the general area again, I’m back to normal. Hello, you sneaky F11.
• Last bit of rugbyness for today, interesting article on the Black Ferns being the Sports Leaders of the Year from the NZ Herald and how the live broadcast of their World Cup final match versus England
made some Kiwis sit up and take notice …
Sports Leaders of the year: Black Ferns
Saturday December 9, 2006
Anyone doubting the power of television to change perceptions should remember the women’s Rugby World Cup in September.
Having the final in Edmonton screened live adjusted perceptions and more than one rugby head was heard to mutter: “They’re not bad are they?”
Indeed, as captain Farah Palmerlifted the trophy above her head after beating England 25-17 to secure a third straight title, more than one voice was heard grumbling: “That’s better than the All Blacks.”
The techniques were generally sound, the skills highly impressive, as they rattled through pool games against Canada 66-7, Samoa 50-0 and Scotland 21-0, before rolling the French 40-10 in the semifinals.
England were tough opponents but, in scoring four tries to two, the Black Ferns were well worth the win.
The trick now is to get them more games.
Since winning the 2002 title, the players had nothing for a year and, between 2002 and now, only seven tests.
Yet, consider the record: 14 successive World Cup games won, one loss since 1991.
Palmer is the only player to have confirmed her retirement, after leading the Black Ferns in 31 of her 35 tests.
Coach Jed Rowlands is considering his future. Other players might decide to pack it in.
First five-eighths Anna Richards, 41, remained a key figure this year. She was one of five players in the starting 15 for the final to have won her third title since 1998, the others being flanker Rochelle Maretin, lock Monalisa Codling, second five-eighths Exis Edwards and hooker Palmer.
Richards summed up the most important element in retaining their title: “It was just hard yakka.”
As for the future, Palmer is optimistic. “It’s exciting. We’ve got youngsters coming through that have played rugby since they were 5 or 6; they have a broader range of skills and are instinctive in the way they play.”
And to those who’d query the strength of the event, don’t blame the Black Ferns. They can only beat whoever is in front of them and they’ve been doing that well for a long time.