April 08, 2003

The University of California Berkeley rugby team dominates the sport.: They've won the National Collegiate Rugby Tournament championship 19 times since its inception in 1980. Their success is due to funding, training, and treating rubgy like a varsity sport, which opponents say is ruining the game's club tradition. [more inside]

posted by kirkaracha to general at 05:10 PM - 6 comments

Longtime rival Stanford University forfeited the 2001 Big Game (the two schools’ traditional annual meeting in rugby and other sports), sparking a heated e-email debate between the two teams’ coaches about the effect of Cal's program on the nature of the game:

Stanford: “Stanford playing Cal in rugby has reached this farcical stage, and Stanford Rugby wants to be no part of a farce.” Cal: “I am in awe of your ability to continually lower the setting of the bar for Stanford rugby, without being challenged.”
When the rivalry resumed in February 2003, Cal won 98–0. D'oh! We need a Rugby category.

posted by kirkaracha at 05:12 PM on April 08

I guess I don't really understand why the other teams would schedule Cal. They're club teams, they can do what they want. It's not like the conference is forcing them to play.

posted by Smackfu at 07:30 PM on April 08

I'm not a fan of rugby by any means, in fact I wasn't even aware that rugby was played at all in the USA, but that was an interesting article. Seems to me it's easy to have a go at Cal but what choice do they have? It ain't their fault they're the best team or take it more seriously than some of the other teams. It's not like they can join another more competitive league, as things stand. However, at the same time you have to feel for the poor mugs who get anihilated playing them. Perhaps what's needed is a change in league structure, as someone in the article suggested, with Cal only playing against other varsity teams. A kind of Premiership of rugby. Though I don't have the knowledge to say whether this would be technically feasible.

posted by squealy at 03:19 AM on April 09

That was an excellent read, just the sort of thing Sportsfilter is for. There are senior rugby leagues in the USA. Maybe UCB should join one of those, and play their 2nd XV against other college teams. This is a world cup year. USA will be there, providing they can beat Spain in a repecharge. Spain are having a bit of a bad time of it at the moment, so it should be a formality for the USA. At the world cup you will certainly see that top level rugby is all about the winning mentality. If the USA is ever to join the likes of Australia, New Zealand and England, more UCBs are required.

posted by salmacis at 04:23 AM on April 09

A really interesting article for a European rugby fan (ie me), but just so you know, you get five points for a TRY in rugby, not a touchdown. Oh, and, contrary to what it says on the last page, players can leave the field and return, if it's because they are bleeding.

posted by Patwallace at 03:55 PM on April 09

Sorry for double post, just thought of something - mismatches happen at international level, not just college level. The qualification matches for the 2003 Rugby World Cup, particularly those involving Ireland, got messy, while this test will go down in history..

posted by Patwallace at 03:59 PM on April 09

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