One of the world’s most popular sports is currently holding its world cup in New Zealand, and it’s something many Americans are missing out on.
The Rugby World Cup kicked off last week in New Zealand, and Americans should tune in and give rugby a chance. There’s a reason it’s so popular. The Rugby World Cup is statistically the third-most popular sporting event, behind the FIFA World Cup (soccer) and the Olympics. It dominates the airwaves in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and England.
Here are some reasons why sports fans should check out the World Cup and give rugby a chance.
The USA is in it, and they won a match: The USA played its opening game against Russia, and won a close match that was filled with lots of tense, exciting moments. The USA eked out a narrow 13-6 win in its first match of the tournament.
It’s more flowing than football: One thing that I enjoy about rugby is the fact that it’s a more fluid game than football, or most American sports. There aren’t timeouts, and play doesn’t stop after every play. I like the fact that play continues through each half; it makes for an enjoyable game to sit down and just watch, instead of being bombarded with ads, commercials and timeouts.
New Zealand: If people know about rugby, they probably know that New Zealand is a perennial powerhouse. The All Blacks, as they’re called, are once again the favorites to win the World Cup. They play an exciting, attacking style of rugby and like to put points on the board. In their first two games, they scored a total of 129 points. If you want to see an exciting, fast-paced, high-scoring team, watch New Zealand play. They are sure to entertain.
Upsets and close games: Watching an underdog upset a bigger team is always something people like to watch. It is something that fans love to see, and it makes sporting events and tournaments exciting. Last week, in a close hard-fought match, Canada barely knocked off the favorite, Tonga.
In its first match of the tournament, Wales lost a one-point heartbreaker to world champion South Africa. Wales dominated much of the match, but lost in the final minutes of the match.
As the tournament progresses and gets into its later stages, there are sure to be many more close, exciting matches.
It’s gaining popularity in America: In the last few years, rugby has become more popular in the USA, especially at the college level. Weber State University has a rugby team, so local fans have an opportunity to watch live games and learn more about the game.
In the past few months, I’ve seen rugby on cable channels. When I was growing up, you only could watch games if you had a satellite, which, even then, you probably would have to pay extra money for. The sport is becoming more and more available, and now is a great time to start watching.
I hope that after reading this column, some of you will check out the Rugby World Cup. The games will be running from now until Oct. 23, so be sure to check out some games.