Sunday, July 1, 2012

History Making Weekend for USA Rugby

One weekend after the USA Eagles played in front of the largest ever home crowd for international rugby in the United States of America, in a test match vs Italy in Houston, Texas the future of the sport in the country has recieved two massive boosts. The first comes from the global rugby authority, the IRB which has inducted the USA Rugby Olympic teams from the Antwerp 1920 and Paris 1924 Olympic Games into the IRB Hall of Fame. The induction marks the 53rd entry overall and is a reminder that the United States of America is the reigning Olympic Champion. The USA won the Gold Medal in 1920 after defeating France 8-0 while four years latter the USA won Gold thanks to a 17-3 victory also against France. The two-time winning Gold Medalists were joined by the USA Womens side in 1991 as the USA Womens team won the 1991 Womens Rugby World Cup. 

The USA Olympic Gold Medal teams were inducted by IRB Council Member and President of the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA), Bob Latham in Salt Lake City, Utah during the halftime break of the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy Final in which the USA and Japan were contesting the right to be crowned champion. Latham presented a ceremonial cap and gold pin to the Director of the Olympic Club of San Francisco, Mike Strain and the President of the Northern California Rugby Club, John Compaglia.  

The governing body of rugby in the United States of America, USA Rugby had posted a video on youtube this past Thursday called The American Rugby Tradition. It features current international players from the USA Eagles as well as the USA Sevens team and also the Womens side. The tradition they speak of 

It also underlines the drastic need for the Americas to be the region that hosts Rugby World Cup 2023. When Japan host Rugby World Cup 2019 all regions except for the Americas will have hosted the global event.  The Final of the 2012 IRB Junior World Trophy was contests by the home side, the USA, and Japan. Both teams are expected to make the move from the second tier to the first within twenty years. Both have been able to compete well against Tier One sides on occassion but not regularly enough. The USA, for instance, gave Ireland and Italy tough matches at Rugby World Cup 2011 but were overwhelmed by Australia.Similarly, japan pushed France hard but were badly defeated by New Zealand. 

The 37-33 result was a good reflection of the nature of the final in which the two countries fought out a classic. Japan had been leading 14-0 in the first half and the home side only scored in the final ten points of the first half. The try turned things around for the North Americans as the USA closed the gap and took a 15-14 lead at the interval.  Japan scored first after the break in what was a back-and-forward contest as both sides ended the match with five tries each. In winning the tournament, the USA will play in the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship in France. The tournament is considered as being the premier under 20 tournament in world rugby while the IRB Junior World Trophy is thought of as a Tier two event. 

With Thanks: USA Rugby

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