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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Counting Down to the Rugby World Cup

Are you ready for some Rugby?

The NFL season will kick-off on September 6 when the New Orleans Saints travel to Indiana to take on the Indianapolis Colts. A day later, roughly 34 days from now, France will host Argentina at Saint-Denis to open the Rugby World Cup.

The USA finds itself right smack in the middle of the cliche "Group of Death." We'll call it the pool of depth, alongside England, Samoa, Tonga and South Africa.

World rankings have South Africa (#4), England (#7) and Samoa (#10) while Tonga comes in at (#14) and the USA at (#15). So, check that previous comment to be "right smack at the bottom' of the pool.

Rugby ranks behind soccer/football, lacrosse and X Games in the pecking order of sports that reach the American sporting psyche. Why? I do not know.

The sport, like Australian rules football, has all the elements to attract sporting fans. And, for rugby's sake, they attract fans of every nation but the USA, much like soccer.

So, the intangible is the 'fabric' of the sport within society. Do we grow up with the sport? How do we relate to it? Did our mather/father play and pass along the virtues of the sport? Did our older siblings play and do the same? If we didn't actually play the sport, were there great memories in our household from days gone by?

Baseball- yes.
NFL - yes
NBA and college hoops - yes
NCAA football -yes
Olympic Games - yes

For some, add the likes of NASCAR, Horse Racing, gymnastics or skating (Olympic time, usually), a growing number of Lacrosse families are now in their prime and maybe some golf or tennis in some households. After that...probably not.

So, let's see what the Rugby World Cup does to crack the scene. They will score great audiences in France and Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England will have followings galore. In the USA, there will be little to no TV coverage - unless you have DISH Network or Direct TV.

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