Tuesday, 2 October 2007

USA! USA!


I think Mamiko is sick of rugby. But she knows by now that I'm the kind of person who can watch seven matches over two afternoons like I did at the weekend and still want more, so it's tough luck.

Anyway, it was a great world cup weekend, with Fiji scraping through 38-34 against Wales in possibly the best game I've ever seen, Scotland triumphing in an 18-16 nailbiter against Italy, and pandemonium in Paris as Argentina spanked the Irish 30-15. But spare a thought for the USA, who lost to South Africa 15-64 in Montpelier and leave the world cup without a win, but with heads held high after great performances against England and Samoa.

I have to say, I have a real liking for the USA rugby team. Partly it's because only seven of the squad are professionals (journeymen plying their trade in the English, Irish and French leagues), and yet they're still one of the most passionate, spirited and entertaining squads - proving again and again that the best sporting spectacles are not necessarily the most technically accomplished. It's also because they so clearly relish playing for their country, and are always visibly moved when they hear their national anthem before each game.

But mostly, it's just refreshing to see men who absolutely love the game they're playing - you can see it positively ooze out of them - in defiance of the fact that their country doesn't care much about it and probably mostly don't even know they're playing. Along with Portugal, who experience the same thing, the USA are the most life-affirming team in world rugby.

I know some Americans read this blog: you should all get behind your rugby team. The tournament's over, but I'm hoping in 2011 that the USA Eagles can turn up and manage some surprises.

Anyway, England v. Australia next Saturday. God, how I love England v. Australia. The rivalry with Argentina might have more sheer hatred, and England v. Germany (in football) might have more history, but there's no better feeling for an Englishman than watching the national team beat the Australians in any sport, and rugby's no exception. Roll on the weekend.

6 comments:

zero_zero_one said...

What time is that match? Maybe I could come by and watch it - as someone who doesn't really care about it we could make some notes/commentary from opposing views...

Alternatively we could just try to enjoy it.

Andrew Fry said...

I admit, I didn't even know the USA had a team, let alone were playing. Thanks for the link. I will join late in this game and give a rousing "wait 'til next year!".

Bilbo said...

We don't seem to be seeing the same thing oozing out of rugby players. I've usually just seen blood.

mattiecore said...

You know, I have never actually watched a rugby match...

Amanda said...

I'm in Australia now and ALL THE TALK is about England vs Australia.

Andrew Fry said...

In my class here in the US yesterday I asked if anyone had watched any programming via the web over the weekend. A couple of students raised their hands, and when I asked one of them what it was they were watching, a movie maybe, or television, he answered that we was watching the Rugby World Cup.