I have not added to the blog over the past 2 weeks for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I have been travelling around the UK getting things in order for the launch of Rugby Box later this month. Secondly, and more importantly, there has not been much to write about in the Rugby world as teams prepare for the start of the European season.
On Saturday the 2018-19 season kicked off with the start of the Rugby Championship. New Zealand looked very 'New Zealand' after going in at half time 6-5 down in Sydney only to score 33 points in the second half and win the game 38-13. A good start to the world cup preparations and it could be an unprecedented hat trick of World Cups for the All Blacks.
I spent Saturday afternoon watching the Argentina v South Africa game with friends from both countries. Strangely it seemed the Argentina fans were the more confident pregame despite getting thrashed by Scotland at home in June. South Africa were coming off the back of a successful home series against England but this has not shaken the recent negative feeling around Springbok rugby.
In the end it was a thriller with the teams exchanging points and the lead until South Africa pulled away in the last 10 minutes or so. It looks like the Southern Hemisphere teams are timing it right with the world cup cycle again.
World Cup Qualifiers
Namibia became the 19th and penultimate qualifier for the RWC in Japan next year. They beat Kenya in the final of the African Gold Cup to secure a spot. This is Namibia's 6th World Cup and they are on an impressive 19-0 losing streak.
This means Kenya will compete in the Repechage Qualification tournament in Marseille in November alongside Canada, Hong Kong and Germany. It is the first time the final qualifying spot has been decided using a round robin tournament and I am planning on attending one of the weekends if anyone wants to join for the best of Tier 2 rugby. It will be a really interesting tournament seeing some very different styles and my guess is flights, accommodation and tickets will still be cheaper than a November international at Twickenham.
As I mentioned earlier. I spent the last couple of weeks travelling around getting things in place for the launch of Rugby Box later this month. Website is coming along nicely and should be Live in the next few weeks (watch this space) and our list of partners is growing every day.
We received our freshly printed boxes over the weekend and they look amazing. I will post a sneak preview on our socials this week.
After my last post about the change in the high tackle laws I received an email from a Sports teacher at a local school who shared with me some interesting statistics from a study carried out by the RFU and University of Bath. The study was on injuries to under 18's in the 2017/18 season. According to this study, 34% of Injuries occur in the process of tackling. 20% are to the tackled player and 15% occur in the ruck. Interesting statistics when World Rugby are so focused on protecting the tackled player.
Finally, preseason starts for us today after a very short summer break. I think a lot of the players were very happy to hear we are shortening our preseason this year. Andy Goode would love it here!
I was lucky enough to catch up with my old coach and ex pro Rugby League player Neil Harmon whilst I was in Leeds last weekend.