World Cup, 3 Days Away

Rugby World Cup starts this Friday and it could be a good way for American Rugby to step up not only in the world’s view, but the amount of attention the game will get state side. RWC is the third most watched sporting event in the World only behind the Olympics and Soccer. Many Americans have been catching Clever Fever, as Todd Clever is the only USA Eagle to be featured in a Universal Sports Commercial. It’s very exciting that Universal Sports will be showing the games and you won’t have to hope to find a bar in the city that carries Setanta in order to watch. I think wit the current growth of the game, the World Cup commercial that has been airing the only Eagle shown is Clever, the rest of the game highlights show the All Blacks, Wallabies, England, but not a single clip of the USA Team playing. Still I am glad that there is any press at all about the games and it’s not being shown only on a sub-HD channel that doesn’t get ratings.
The United States is ranked 18th in this years game and their first game is on September 11th, against Ireland. The last games USA played against Ireland had the same score and were 27 IRE- 10 USA. Previous games Ireland blew away the US team with more than a 50 point margin. I was able to speak with USA Eagle’s Center Andrew Suniula, who also plays here in Chicago with the Griffins, before he left for Nations and World Cup. He said that the USA team is realistic and know they will not be placing first but that any win in these games would really turn heads and bring attention that the games need in order for the sport to grow and develop. Since Americans do not play on professional leagues like over seas, and USA Rugby has limited sponsorship and funding Suniula also added that it makes it more of a challenge, with only one training camp this summer the team really depends on the pre-Cup matches to learn how to work together and were extra support is needed. Andrew Suniula’s brother Roland will also be playing in this years World Cup. Another thing to understand about America's top players is that they sacrafice everything to get to these games. Like many Tier Two teams in the Cup, people give up their jobs, put thier lives on hold, and pretty much go broke traveling to camps to prove to their selectors that they should be on the team.
I am excited to check out not only how our team does but to see some of the new talent that will be at the games. This year Wales’ Sam Warburton will the teams youngest World Cup Captain ever at the age of 22. In 2009 you might have caught him at the Churchhill Cup Games at Toyota Park. He’ll be flanking in these games and his coach has said that he has a shrewd rugby brain and has strong leadership. I’m also looking forward to watching Australia’s Will Genia, who plays scrumhalf for the team who played a huge part in the Super 15 and has people calling him the best scrumhalf in world rugby.
I have also been looking into apps to follow the games. I have the Official RWC app as well as two different rugby sport news apps, I will be following the games online, as well as through papers, and checking out some games at my favorite rugby pub. I am not sure if USA is going to be using their UStream channel during the games for interviews but more than likely will give it a check too.
With that said how are you going to be following the games and which teams are you excited to watch? Are you taking a mini vacation to check out the games in New Zealand or know someone who is? What players are you looking forward to checking out? I am sure all of the CARFU teams will hope Suniula has good luck at the games.

Leave a comment