History Main / RugbyUnion

21st Apr '17 5:40:24 AM Figaro
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* On a much lower profile to the above competitions, the Welsh '''Premiership''' is the highest level of purely domestic Rugby in Wales and was where (prior to the consolidation of Welsh professional Rugby into regional sides in the Pro 12) most of the Welsh national side played their week-in-week-out Rugby, though it is now a mixture of professional and semi-pro players. With many of the biggest teams coming from small towns or large villages in the notoriously rainy Valleys, in contrast to the running Rugby displayed in the Southern Hemisphere, this is often your archetypical muddy, cold, windy, rough and unpleasant Rugby environment. [[RugbyIsSlaughter Rugby is slaughter]] indeed.
13th Apr '17 12:47:49 AM KYCubbie
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* '''Super Rugby''' - A contest between domestic teams (generally referred to as franchises rather than clubs) from the SANZAAR nations (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), plus one, slightly token team from Japan. It is contested annually, and as you'd expect from a competition featuring teams from some of the best rugby nations in the world, the quality is generally considered to be second only to international rugby. This is somewhat debatable at times and there is a lengthy argument to be had regarding the devaluing or otherwise of the competition as it slowly expands - it started life as a competition between 6 provincial sides from Australia and New Zealand, but has gradually expanded to incorporate a total of 18 franchises (5 each for New Zealand and Australia, 1 from Argentina, 1 from Japan and 6 from South Africa - the sixth South African team being added partially for money but mainly for domestic political reasons). It is a showcase of "basketball" style rugby, played in generally agreeable weather on firm grounds by teams whose primary concern after winning is to put on a great show. It helps that the big four countries' "playing styles" from which franchises are drawn have an interesting dynamic based on a cultural disposition to play a certain brand of rugby - the Australian and New Zealand teams favor skillful passing and inspired unstructured play (with the Australians far more unpredictable for both good and ill), South African teams share the Springboks' mastery of the set piece, and the Argentines make it a point to beat the living daylights out of their opponents - surely an exciting spectacle when you see the techniques thrown against each other. The tournament's supervising body also aims to encourage a grand spectacle. It has seen a fairly broad spread of winners, with the most successful teams unsurprisingly tending to hail from New Zealand - but both Australian and South African teams have won it as well. The reigning champions are the Hurricanes of New Zealand.

to:

* '''Super Rugby''' - A contest between domestic teams (generally referred to as franchises rather than clubs) from the SANZAAR nations (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), plus one, slightly token team from Japan. It is contested annually, and as you'd expect from a competition featuring teams from some of the best rugby nations in the world, the quality is generally considered to be second only to international rugby. This is somewhat debatable at times times, and for years there is has been a lengthy argument to be had regarding the devaluing or otherwise of the competition as it slowly expands - it expanded. It started life as a competition between 6 provincial sides from Australia and New Zealand, but has gradually expanded to incorporate a total of 18 franchises (5 each for New Zealand and Australia, 1 from Argentina, 1 from Japan and 6 from South Africa - the sixth South African team being added partially for money but mainly for domestic political reasons).reasons). The aftermath of the most recent expansion (from 15 to 18 teams) saw noticeable declines in interest and competitiveness in Australia and to a lesser extent South Africa, which was apparently the last straw for New Zealand and SANZAAR. After the 2017 season, the competition will revert to a 15-team format, with one Australian side and two South African sides being axed. It is a showcase of "basketball" style rugby, played in generally agreeable weather on firm grounds by teams whose primary concern after winning is to put on a great show. It helps that the big four countries' "playing styles" from which franchises are drawn have an interesting dynamic based on a cultural disposition to play a certain brand of rugby - the Australian and New Zealand teams favor skillful passing and inspired unstructured play (with the Australians far more unpredictable for both good and ill), South African teams share the Springboks' mastery of the set piece, and the Argentines make it a point to beat the living daylights out of their opponents - surely an exciting spectacle when you see the techniques thrown against each other. The tournament's supervising body also aims to encourage a grand spectacle. It has seen a fairly broad spread of winners, with the most successful teams unsurprisingly tending to hail from New Zealand - but both Australian and South African teams have won it as well. The reigning champions are the Hurricanes of New Zealand.
8th Apr '17 12:44:15 PM KYCubbie
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* '''PRO Rugby''' - Founded in late 2015, PRO Rugby is the USA's first professional rugby competition. 6 teams compete against each other home and away across 12 games, with the winner (unusually in rugby, which has embraced the end-of-season playoff concept in virtually all domestic competitions) determined by the highest placed team at the end of the season. PRO Rugby is currently in a slightly awkward position lying somewhere between "professional rugby competition" and "proof of concept", but their first season was considered a success based on performance vs. expectations and should resume in spring 2017 (though watch this space... PRO Rugby and USA Rugby [the national federation] are in a dispute which may result in PRO Rugby's premature demise). The reigning, inaugural champions are Denver Stampede.

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* Shed a tear or two for '''PRO Rugby''' - Founded in late 2015, PRO Rugby is Rugby''', the USA's first attempt to establish a professional rugby competition. Founded in late 2015, it was initially planned to involve 6 teams, but ended up with only 5. These teams compete competed against each other home and away across 12 games, away, with the winner (unusually in rugby, which has embraced the end-of-season playoff concept in virtually all domestic competitions) determined by the highest placed team at the end of the season. PRO Rugby is currently was in a slightly awkward position lying somewhere between "professional rugby competition" and "proof of concept", but their its first season was considered a success based on performance vs. expectations and should resume expectations. However, the league found itself in spring 2017 (though watch this space... PRO Rugby and a nasty dispute with USA Rugby [the (the national federation] are in federation) that caused the league to fold before it got a dispute which may result in PRO Rugby's premature demise). chance at a second season. The reigning, inaugural and only champions are were the Denver Stampede.
18th Mar '17 4:49:08 PM KYCubbie
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* The '''Six Nations Championship''' — Europe's premier national competition, currently involving the Northern Hemisphere's six top teams—England, France, Ireland,[[note]]Unlike football, in which the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland field separate national teams, the entire island has a single national team and governing body in rugby union.[[/note]] Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The event grew out of a competition informally known as the Home Nations Championship, involving the British and Irish sides only and launched in 1883. France joined in 1910, creating the Five Nations, but were kicked out after the 1931 edition. They were invited back after the 1939 edition, but World War II ended international rugby in Europe until 1947. The competition became the Six Nations with Italy's entry in 2000. England clinched the 2016 championship with a round to spare and in their final match completed the Grand Slam - done by defeating all 5 other teams. England have repeated in 2017, also clinching with a round to spare, and are a win away from a second straight Grand Slam. The bottom team gets the so-called 'wooden spoon', a tradition that goes back to the 1890's, if not before. These days it's usually held by [[ButtMonkey Italy]], but both Wales and France have held it before (once each) and it used to regularly be held by Scotland, leading to the mocking song sung by English fans, 'O spoon of Scotland...' to the tune of their national anthem.

to:

* The '''Six Nations Championship''' — Europe's premier national competition, currently involving the Northern Hemisphere's six top teams—England, France, Ireland,[[note]]Unlike football, in which the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland field separate national teams, the entire island has a single national team and governing body in rugby union.[[/note]] Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The event grew out of a competition informally known as the Home Nations Championship, involving the British and Irish sides only and launched in 1883. France joined in 1910, creating the Five Nations, but were kicked out after the 1931 edition. They were invited back after the 1939 edition, but World War II ended international rugby in Europe until 1947. The competition became the Six Nations with Italy's entry in 2000. England clinched have won the last two titles in 2016 championship and 2017, each won with a round to spare and in their final match spare. They completed the Grand Slam - done by defeating all 5 other teams. England have repeated teams – in 2017, also clinching with a round to spare, and are a win away from a second straight Grand Slam.2016, but dropped their final match in 2017 against Ireland. The bottom team gets the so-called 'wooden spoon', a tradition that goes back to the 1890's, if not before. These days it's usually held by [[ButtMonkey Italy]], but both Wales and France have held it before (once each) and it used to regularly be held by Scotland, leading to the mocking song sung by English fans, 'O spoon of Scotland...' to the tune of their national anthem.
14th Mar '17 1:24:43 AM KYCubbie
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The differences from RugbyLeague (a related football code) are mostly subtle to outsiders. Union has 15-player teams; League has 13-player teams. Union is traditionally the gentlemen's game (though it can be played by women); League is the working-class game. This distinction is only (if ever) true for certain regions (specifically the North and South of England, with the North being a traditional stronghold of Rugby League and Union dominating across the South, and the North and South of France, where it's inverted) and the accusation is commonly used by League fans as an insult. It's also averted in Wales and New Zealand, among other places. However, in England at least, it holds true at International level. In 2013, 12 of the 24 members of the England squad were privately educated, while 12 were state educated (while one player, Ben Foden, managed to be both). Only 7% of the entire British population is privately educated. By contrast, 6 of the 33 man Rugby League Squad were privately educated. This is still disproportionate, but less obviously so. Players can and do cross codes from one to the other (usually from League to Union) and some, like legendary England winger Jason Robinson are very successful. Others, not so much. Rugby League is also a bit more similar to American Football than Union (the limited number of tackles[=/=]downs for instance) and a handful of players have tried crossing over, one even making it to the NFL.

to:

The differences from RugbyLeague (a related football code) are mostly subtle to outsiders. Union has 15-player teams; League has 13-player teams. Union is traditionally the gentlemen's game (though it can be played by women); League is the working-class game. This distinction is only (if ever) true for certain regions (specifically the North and South of England, with the North being a traditional stronghold of Rugby League and Union dominating across the South, and the North and South of France, where it's inverted) and the accusation is commonly used by League fans as an insult. It's also averted in Wales and New Zealand, among other places. However, in England at least, it holds true at International level. In 2013, 12 of the 24 members of the England squad were privately educated, while 12 were state educated (while one player, Ben Foden, managed to be both). Only 7% of the entire British population is privately educated. By contrast, 6 of the 33 man 33-man Rugby League Squad were privately educated. This is still disproportionate, but less obviously so. Players can and do cross codes from one to the other (usually from League to Union) and some, like legendary England winger Jason Robinson are very successful. Others, not so much. Rugby League is also a bit more similar to American Football than Union (the limited number of tackles[=/=]downs for instance) and a handful of players have tried crossing over, one even making it to the NFL.



However, things aren't quite that simple - a good rule of thumb is that Rugby has almost no protective gear and fairly strict rules about what you can do to people, and American Football has a lot of protective gear and almost no rules about what you can do to people. Also, American Football players run the gamut from ''very'' big and heavy to rather lightweight - especially at the semi pro level. In Rugby there are certain positions that tend to attract players of more or less weight, but the specialisation is a lot less pronounced than it used to be - Forwards used to be [[StoutStrength huge, fat]] [[MightyGlacier and slow,]] while Backs, especially wingers, [[FragileSpeedster were small and fast.]] The last great example of the latter was Shane 'Shimmering Shane' Williams, a 5'8'' multiple Grand Slam Winner with Wales and was called up to the Lions squad (composed of the best players in the British Isles) as injury cover at the age of ''36'' when he'd be due to fly out as a ''commentator.'' Now, the backs are usually faster, less hairy and more technical versions of the forwards, who have themselves slimmed down, skilled up and sped up - indeed, it's not out of the ordinary to have a winger who's actually heavier than some forwards, as in the case of Wales winger George North, who clocks in at 240 pounds. You do ''not'' want someone like that coming at you without any protection. In other words, ''everyone'' is a LightningBruiser.

to:

However, things aren't quite that simple - a good rule of thumb is that Rugby has almost no protective gear and fairly strict rules about what you can do to people, and American Football has a lot of protective gear and almost no rules about what you can do to people. Also, American Football players run the gamut from ''very'' big and heavy to rather lightweight - especially at the semi pro level. In Rugby there are certain positions that tend to attract players of more or less weight, but the specialisation is a lot less pronounced than it used to be - Forwards used to be [[StoutStrength huge, fat]] [[MightyGlacier and slow,]] while Backs, especially wingers, [[FragileSpeedster were small and fast.]] The last great example of the latter was Shane 'Shimmering Shane' Williams, a 5'8'' 5'8" multiple Grand Slam Winner with Wales and was called up to the Lions squad (composed of the best players in the British Isles) as injury cover at the age of ''36'' when he'd be due to fly out as a ''commentator.'' ''commentator''. Now, the backs are usually faster, less hairy and more technical versions of the forwards, who have themselves slimmed down, skilled up and sped up - indeed, it's not out of the ordinary to have a winger who's actually heavier than some forwards, as forwards. The TropeMaker and TropeCodifier for today's giant wingers was late All Blacks great Jonah Lomu, who weighed in the case of at about 260 pounds (a touch less than 120 kilos). Since then, many modern wingers approach Lomu's size, with one current example being Wales winger George North, who clocks in at "only" 240 pounds. You do ''not'' want someone like that coming at you without any protection. In other words, ''everyone'' is a LightningBruiser.



In Wales and New Zealand, it is something close to a national religion, with both nations dominating their regions [[note]]or at least, in the case of the Welsh, when they get their act together. When that happens, they go through every other team in the Northern Hemisphere like a hot knife through butter. When they don't... not so much, though they still aren't pushovers[[/note]] despite their relatively minuscule populations. Wales are perennial favourites for the Six Nations title (though in a good year, there are at least four serious challengers for the title) and completed the Grand Slam, defeating all five other teams, three times in seven years (2005, 2008, 2012). New Zealand extend this dominance worldwide, and the All Blacks have long since developed a global reputation for invincibility which is only rarely challenged. They are unique in international sports in that they have a winning record against ''every single team'' that they have ever played. It is considered a major achievement for any of the Northern Hemisphere superpowers (England, France, Ireland and Wales) to even run the All Blacks close: France have won the most encounters with New Zealand with 12 from 55. England have won 7 from 40, Wales 3 from 30 (and they haven't won since 1963...) and Ireland only picked up their first win over the [=ABs=] in 2016, on their 29th attempt. Their closest competitors, the Wallabies of Australia, have a record of 42-109 against New Zealand. It should be noted that the Wallabies are nearly as invincible to other teams that aren't New Zealand, with only the Springboks and England generally giving them a contest. They can't manage a 33% win rate against New Zealand.

to:

In Wales and New Zealand, it is something close to a national religion, with both nations dominating their regions [[note]]or at least, in the case of the Welsh, when they get their act together. When that happens, they go through every other team in the Northern Hemisphere like a hot knife through butter. When they don't... not so much, though they still aren't pushovers[[/note]] despite their relatively minuscule populations. Wales are perennial favourites for the Six Nations title (though in a good year, there are at least four serious challengers for the title) and completed the Grand Slam, defeating all five other teams, three times in seven years (2005, 2008, 2012). New Zealand extend this dominance worldwide, and the All Blacks have long since developed a global reputation for invincibility which is only rarely challenged. They are unique in international sports in that they have a winning record against ''every single team'' that they have ever played. It is considered a major achievement for any of the Northern Hemisphere superpowers (England, France, Ireland and Wales) to even run the All Blacks close: France have won the most encounters with New Zealand with 12 from 55. England have won 7 from 40, Wales 3 from 30 (and they haven't won since 1963...) and Ireland only picked up their first win over the [=ABs=] in 2016, on their 29th attempt. Their closest competitors, the Wallabies of Australia, have a record of 42-109 42–109 against New Zealand. It should be noted that the Wallabies are nearly as invincible to for other teams that aren't New Zealand, with only the Springboks and England generally giving them a contest. They can't manage a 33% win rate against New Zealand.



* The '''Six Nations Championship''' — Europe's premier national competition, currently involving the Northern Hemisphere's six top teams—England, France, Ireland,[[note]]Unlike football, in which the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland field separate national teams, the entire island has a single national team and governing body in rugby union.[[/note]] Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The event grew out of a competition informally known as the Home Nations Championship, involving the British and Irish sides only and launched in 1883. France joined in 1910, creating the Five Nations, but were kicked out after the 1931 edition. They were invited back after the 1939 edition, but World War II ended international rugby in Europe until 1947. The competition became the Six Nations with Italy's entry in 2000. England clinched the 2016 championship with a round to spare and in their final match completed the Grand Slam - done by defeating all 5 other teams. The bottom team gets the so-called 'wooden spoon', a tradition that goes back to the 1890's, if not before. These days it's usually held by [[ButtMonkey Italy]], but both Wales and France have held it before (once each) and it used to regularly be held by Scotland, leading to the mocking song sung by English fans, 'O spoon of Scotland...' to the tune of their national anthem.

to:

* The '''Six Nations Championship''' — Europe's premier national competition, currently involving the Northern Hemisphere's six top teams—England, France, Ireland,[[note]]Unlike football, in which the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland field separate national teams, the entire island has a single national team and governing body in rugby union.[[/note]] Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The event grew out of a competition informally known as the Home Nations Championship, involving the British and Irish sides only and launched in 1883. France joined in 1910, creating the Five Nations, but were kicked out after the 1931 edition. They were invited back after the 1939 edition, but World War II ended international rugby in Europe until 1947. The competition became the Six Nations with Italy's entry in 2000. England clinched the 2016 championship with a round to spare and in their final match completed the Grand Slam - done by defeating all 5 other teams. England have repeated in 2017, also clinching with a round to spare, and are a win away from a second straight Grand Slam. The bottom team gets the so-called 'wooden spoon', a tradition that goes back to the 1890's, if not before. These days it's usually held by [[ButtMonkey Italy]], but both Wales and France have held it before (once each) and it used to regularly be held by Scotland, leading to the mocking song sung by English fans, 'O spoon of Scotland...' to the tune of their national anthem.



* '''World Rugby Sevens Series'''[[note]]Per corporate naming, called the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series[[/note]] — An annual series of tournaments for national sevens teams conducted since 1999–2000. In the upcoming 2016–17 season, the tour will have 10 stops: Dubai, South Africa (Cape Town), Australia (Sydney), New Zealand (Wellington), Canada (Vancouver), the USA (Las Vegas), Singapore, Hong Kong, France (Paris), and England (London). Each tournament except for Hong Kong involves 16 teams competing for four distinct trophies, plus points toward the overall series championship. Fifteen of these teams are "core teams" that compete in each event during a given season. The Hong Kong event incorporates a separate 12-team tournament that, since the 2013–14 season, has been used for core team qualification for the following season. The winner of this tournament is assured a core team place in the next season, replacing the core team that finished with the fewest points at the end of the series. Fiji have won the last two titles, but New Zealand have dominated this series, winning 12 times in all.

to:

* '''World Rugby Sevens Series'''[[note]]Per corporate naming, called the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series[[/note]] — An annual series of tournaments for national sevens teams conducted since 1999–2000. In the upcoming current 2016–17 season, the tour will have has 10 stops: Dubai, South Africa (Cape Town), Australia (Sydney), New Zealand (Wellington), Canada (Vancouver), the USA (Las Vegas), Singapore, Hong Kong, France (Paris), and England (London). Each tournament except for Hong Kong involves 16 teams competing for four distinct trophies, plus points toward the overall series championship. Fifteen of these teams are "core teams" that compete in each event during a given season. The Hong Kong event incorporates a separate 12-team tournament that, since the 2013–14 season, has been used for core team qualification for the following season. The winner of this tournament is assured a core team place in the next season, replacing the core team that finished with the fewest points at the end of the series. Fiji have won the last two titles, but New Zealand have dominated this series, winning 12 times in all.



* '''Super Rugby''' - A contest between domestic teams (generally referred to as franchises rather than clubs) from the SANZAAR nations (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), plus one, slightly token team from Japan. It is contested annually, and as you'd expect from a competition featuring teams from some of the best rugby nations in the world, the quality is generally considered to be second only to international rugby. This is somewhat debatable at times and there is a lengthy argument to be had regarding the devaluing or otherwise of the competition as it slowly expands - it started life as a competition between 6 provincial sides from Australia and New Zealand, but has gradually expanded to incorporate a total of 18 franchises (5 each for New Zealand and Australia, 1 from Argentina, 1 from Japan and 6 from South Africa - the sixth South African team being added partially for money but mainly for domestic political reasons). It is a showcase of "basketball" style rugby, played in generally agreeable weather on firm grounds by teams whose primary concern after winning is to put on a great show. It helps that the big four countries' "playing styles" from which franchises are drawn have an interesting dynamic based on a cultural disposition to play a certain brand of rugby - the Australian and New Zealand teams favor skillful passing and inspired unstructured play (with the Australians far more unpredictable for both good and ill) South African teams share the springboks' mastery of the set piece, and the Argentinians make it a point to beat the living day lights out of their opponents - surely an exciting spectacle when you see the techniques thrown against each other. The tournament's supervising body also aims to encourage a grand spectacle. It has seen a fairly broad spread of winners, with the most successful teams unsurprisingly tending to herald from New Zealand - but both Australian and South African teams have won it as well. The reigning champions are the Hurricanes of New Zealand.

to:

* '''Super Rugby''' - A contest between domestic teams (generally referred to as franchises rather than clubs) from the SANZAAR nations (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), plus one, slightly token team from Japan. It is contested annually, and as you'd expect from a competition featuring teams from some of the best rugby nations in the world, the quality is generally considered to be second only to international rugby. This is somewhat debatable at times and there is a lengthy argument to be had regarding the devaluing or otherwise of the competition as it slowly expands - it started life as a competition between 6 provincial sides from Australia and New Zealand, but has gradually expanded to incorporate a total of 18 franchises (5 each for New Zealand and Australia, 1 from Argentina, 1 from Japan and 6 from South Africa - the sixth South African team being added partially for money but mainly for domestic political reasons). It is a showcase of "basketball" style rugby, played in generally agreeable weather on firm grounds by teams whose primary concern after winning is to put on a great show. It helps that the big four countries' "playing styles" from which franchises are drawn have an interesting dynamic based on a cultural disposition to play a certain brand of rugby - the Australian and New Zealand teams favor skillful passing and inspired unstructured play (with the Australians far more unpredictable for both good and ill) ill), South African teams share the springboks' Springboks' mastery of the set piece, and the Argentinians Argentines make it a point to beat the living day lights daylights out of their opponents - surely an exciting spectacle when you see the techniques thrown against each other. The tournament's supervising body also aims to encourage a grand spectacle. It has seen a fairly broad spread of winners, with the most successful teams unsurprisingly tending to herald hail from New Zealand - but both Australian and South African teams have won it as well. The reigning champions are the Hurricanes of New Zealand.



* '''Aviva Premiership''' - the English domestic competition. 12 teams from around the country compete every year across 22 regular season games (playing each opponent once at home and once away), two semi-finals and one grand final, played out at the home of English rugby, Twickenham Stadium. Very much plays second fiddle to the Top 14 in terms of revenue and even the [=Pro12=] in terms of viewership, but despite this the Aviva Premiership is one of the top leagues in the world and is slowly gaining pace and success. In particular, the standard of rugby played in the Aviva Premiership is generally considered, currently at least, to be higher than the [=Pro12=] and more interesting than the Top 14, and the increase in commercial success is starting to mean that the best international players are increasingly being drawn to England over France (though the language issue is also likely a factor). Like the [=T14=] it operates with a promotion and relegation model, but the more amicable relationship between the English national administration and the clubs compared to the situation in France and the less frenzied financial pressures mean that teams are not quite as risk averse. The reigning champions are Saracens of North London after completing the rare domestic and European double.

to:

* '''Aviva Premiership''' - the English domestic competition. 12 teams from around the country compete every year across 22 regular season games (playing each opponent once at home and once away), two semi-finals and one grand final, played out at the home of English rugby, Twickenham Stadium. Very much plays second fiddle to the Top 14 in terms of revenue and even the [=Pro12=] in terms of viewership, but despite this the Aviva Premiership is one of the top leagues in the world and is slowly gaining pace and success. In particular, the standard of rugby played in the Aviva Premiership is generally considered, currently at least, to be higher than the [=Pro12=] and more interesting than the Top 14, and the increase in commercial success is starting to mean that the best international players are increasingly being drawn to England over France (though the language issue is also likely a factor). Like the [=T14=] it operates with a promotion and relegation model, but the more amicable relationship between the English national administration and the clubs compared to the situation in France and the less frenzied financial pressures mean that teams are not quite as risk averse.risk-averse. The reigning champions are Saracens of North London after completing the rare domestic and European double.
10th Mar '17 4:16:07 PM DarkPhoenix94
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The differences from RugbyLeague (a related football code) are mostly subtle to outsiders. Union has 15-player teams; League has 13-player teams. Union is traditionally the gentlemen's game (though it can be played by women); League is the working-class game. This distinction is only (if ever) true for certain regions (specifically the North and South of England, with the North being a traditional stronghold of Rugby League and Union dominating across the South, and the North and South of France, where it's inverted) and the accusation is commonly used by League fans as an insult. It's also averted in Wales and New Zealand, among other places. However, in England at least, it holds true at International level. In 2013, 12 of the 24 members of the England squad were privately educated, while 12 were state educated (while one player, Ben Foden, managed to be both). Only 7% of the entire British population is privately educated. By contrast, 6 of the 33 man Rugby League Squad were privately educated. This is still disproportionate, but less obviously so. Players can and do cross codes from one to the other (usually from League to Union) and some, like legendary England winger Jason Robinson are very successful. Others, not so much. Rugby League is also a bit more similar to American Football than Union (the limited number of tackles / downs for instance) and a handful of players have tried crossing over, one even making it to the NFL.

The differences between both versions of Rugby and UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball are much greater: players wear no body armour beyond a gum shield, and play continues without interruption and time-outs for much longer. Also, no forward passing under any circumstances, you're not allowed to tackle someone not holding the ball and to get the points for a try (think touchdown) you must be holding onto the ball when it is placed onto the ground. (There have been numerous instances of amateur players forgetting about this and [[WhatAnIdiot spiking the ball]].) This applies to both codes, which tend to share a disdain for the perceived softness of American Football and delight in mocking it to that end. [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Rupert Giles]] sums it up by saying, with a hint of mockery, "I just think it's rather odd that a nation that prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby."

However, things aren't quite that simple - a good rule of thumb is that Rugby has almost no protective gear and fairly strict rules about what you can do to people, and American Football has a lot of protective gear and almost no rules about what you can do to people. Also, American Football players run the gamut from ''very'' big and heavy to rather lightweight - especially at the semi pro level. In Rugby there are certain positions that require more or less weight, but specialisation is a lot less pronounced. Yet 250 pound linemen can be surprisingly fast in a sprint. You do ''not'' want someone like that coming at you without any protection.

to:

The differences from RugbyLeague (a related football code) are mostly subtle to outsiders. Union has 15-player teams; League has 13-player teams. Union is traditionally the gentlemen's game (though it can be played by women); League is the working-class game. This distinction is only (if ever) true for certain regions (specifically the North and South of England, with the North being a traditional stronghold of Rugby League and Union dominating across the South, and the North and South of France, where it's inverted) and the accusation is commonly used by League fans as an insult. It's also averted in Wales and New Zealand, among other places. However, in England at least, it holds true at International level. In 2013, 12 of the 24 members of the England squad were privately educated, while 12 were state educated (while one player, Ben Foden, managed to be both). Only 7% of the entire British population is privately educated. By contrast, 6 of the 33 man Rugby League Squad were privately educated. This is still disproportionate, but less obviously so. Players can and do cross codes from one to the other (usually from League to Union) and some, like legendary England winger Jason Robinson are very successful. Others, not so much. Rugby League is also a bit more similar to American Football than Union (the limited number of tackles / downs tackles[=/=]downs for instance) and a handful of players have tried crossing over, one even making it to the NFL.

The differences between both versions of Rugby and UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball are much greater: players wear no body armour beyond a gum shield, shield and an optional scrum-cap, and play continues without interruption and time-outs for much longer. Also, no forward passing under any circumstances, you're not allowed to tackle someone not holding the ball and to get the points for a try (think touchdown) you must be holding onto the ball when it is placed onto the ground. (There have been numerous instances of amateur players forgetting about this and [[WhatAnIdiot spiking the ball]].) This applies to both codes, which tend to share a disdain for the perceived softness of American Football and delight in mocking it to that end. [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Rupert Giles]] sums it up by saying, with a hint of mockery, "I just think it's rather odd that a nation that prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby."

However, things aren't quite that simple - a good rule of thumb is that Rugby has almost no protective gear and fairly strict rules about what you can do to people, and American Football has a lot of protective gear and almost no rules about what you can do to people. Also, American Football players run the gamut from ''very'' big and heavy to rather lightweight - especially at the semi pro level. In Rugby there are certain positions that require tend to attract players of more or less weight, but the specialisation is a lot less pronounced. Yet 250 pound linemen can pronounced than it used to be surprisingly fast - Forwards used to be [[StoutStrength huge, fat]] [[MightyGlacier and slow,]] while Backs, especially wingers, [[FragileSpeedster were small and fast.]] The last great example of the latter was Shane 'Shimmering Shane' Williams, a 5'8'' multiple Grand Slam Winner with Wales and was called up to the Lions squad (composed of the best players in the British Isles) as injury cover at the age of ''36'' when he'd be due to fly out as a sprint. ''commentator.'' Now, the backs are usually faster, less hairy and more technical versions of the forwards, who have themselves slimmed down, skilled up and sped up - indeed, it's not out of the ordinary to have a winger who's actually heavier than some forwards, as in the case of Wales winger George North, who clocks in at 240 pounds. You do ''not'' want someone like that coming at you without any protection.
protection. In other words, ''everyone'' is a LightningBruiser.



It is one of the few sports that the English can claim to be genuine world beaters at, with their making appearances in three out of seven rugby World Cup finals and winning it once, with ''that'' famous drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. The England rugby team is renowned both for the poshness of the players, as mentioned above, and for the sheer power of the forward pack (think linemen and linebackers). Whatever state the rest of the team is in, the England scrum is generally a thing to be feared and always a force to be reckoned with. That said, they are still an English sports team and as such are never all that far away from a really spectacular public collapse. Even with this general tendency they recently outdid themselves, becoming the first sole hosts of a World Cup to fail to make it past the group stage. They have bounced back very quickly however to win their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 13 years and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world. In Sevens Team GB did quite respectably for itself, coming in second at the inaugural Olympic men's tournament behind dominant Fiji. The women's side placed fourth behind Canada, New Zealand and gold medalist Australia.

to:

It is one of the few sports that the English can claim to be genuine world beaters at, with their making appearances in three out of seven rugby World Cup finals and winning it once, with ''that'' famous drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. They're the one Northern Hemisphere team that can consistently (i.e. not counting the French) go into matches against the Wallabies and the Springboks with even odds of winning, and with the All Blacks with even odds of not being absolutely thrashed. The England rugby team is renowned both for the poshness of the players, as mentioned above, and for the sheer power of the forward pack (think linemen and linebackers). Whatever state the rest of the team is in, the England scrum is generally a thing to be feared and always a force to be reckoned with. That said, they are still an English sports team and as such are never all that far away from a really spectacular public collapse. Even with this general tendency they recently outdid themselves, becoming the first sole hosts of a World Cup to fail to make it past the group stage.stage after an injury hit Wales squirmed past them at Twickenham. They have bounced back very quickly however to win their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 13 years and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world. In Sevens Team GB did quite respectably for itself, coming in second at the inaugural Olympic men's tournament behind dominant Fiji. The women's side placed fourth behind Canada, New Zealand and gold medalist medallists Australia.



In Wales and New Zealand, it is something close to a national religion, with both nations dominating their regions [[note]]or at least, in the case of the Welsh, when they get their act together. When that happens, they go through every other team in the Northern Hemisphere like a hot knife through butter. When they don't... not so much, though they still aren't pushovers[[/note]] despite their relatively minuscule populations. Wales are perennial favourites for the Six Nations title (though in a good year, there are at least four serious challengers for the title) and completed the Grand Slam, defeating all five other teams, three times in seven years (2005, 2008, 2012). New Zealand extend this dominance worldwide, and the All Blacks have long since developed a global reputation for invincibility which is only rarely challenged. They are unique in international sports in that they have a winning record against ''every single team'' that they have ever played. It is considered a major achievement for any of the Northern Hemisphere superpowers (England, France, Ireland and Wales) to even run the All Blacks close: France have won the most encounters with New Zealand with 12 from 55. England have won 7 from 40, Wales 3 from 30 (and they haven't won since 1963...) and Ireland only picked up their first win over the [=ABs=] in 2016, on their 29th attempt. Their closest competitors, the Wallabies of Australia, have a record of 42-109 against New Zealand. It should be noted that the Wallabies are nearly as invincible to other teams that aren't New Zealand, with only the springboks generally giving them a contest. They can't manage a 33% win rate against New Zealand.

to:

In Wales and New Zealand, it is something close to a national religion, with both nations dominating their regions [[note]]or at least, in the case of the Welsh, when they get their act together. When that happens, they go through every other team in the Northern Hemisphere like a hot knife through butter. When they don't... not so much, though they still aren't pushovers[[/note]] despite their relatively minuscule populations. Wales are perennial favourites for the Six Nations title (though in a good year, there are at least four serious challengers for the title) and completed the Grand Slam, defeating all five other teams, three times in seven years (2005, 2008, 2012). New Zealand extend this dominance worldwide, and the All Blacks have long since developed a global reputation for invincibility which is only rarely challenged. They are unique in international sports in that they have a winning record against ''every single team'' that they have ever played. It is considered a major achievement for any of the Northern Hemisphere superpowers (England, France, Ireland and Wales) to even run the All Blacks close: France have won the most encounters with New Zealand with 12 from 55. England have won 7 from 40, Wales 3 from 30 (and they haven't won since 1963...) and Ireland only picked up their first win over the [=ABs=] in 2016, on their 29th attempt. Their closest competitors, the Wallabies of Australia, have a record of 42-109 against New Zealand. It should be noted that the Wallabies are nearly as invincible to other teams that aren't New Zealand, with only the springboks Springboks and England generally giving them a contest. They can't manage a 33% win rate against New Zealand.
10th Mar '17 9:37:57 AM CosmicFerret
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* '''Top 14''' - the premier French domestic competition. 14 (clever, eh?) teams compete against each other across 26 regular season games and a six-team playoff, with two quarterfinals, a pair of semifinals and a final. The final, normally at Stade de France in the inner Paris suburb of Saint-Denis (though held in Barcelona in 2016 due to a scheduling conflict with [[EuropeanChampionship UEFA Euro 2016]]), is one of France's biggest sporting events and has a party atmosphere. The competition has been running since 1892 and is without much question the most popular non-international domestic competition in the world. The French, it turns out (especially in the south), are crazy about rugby, and the [=T14=] is rapidly becoming rugby's equivalent of the UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague, with star players from around the world turning out in front of huge, rabid crowds and being paid comparatively substantial sums of money. It is also believed by some to be the reason French international rugby has been on the wane for the better part of a decade, and it's a tough sell for the neutral given the intense desire of every team to win every game (the league operates a promotion and relegation system with the second-level Rugby Pro [=D2=], and every team is desperate to avoid relegation, meaning games are often played in a very cautious and risk-free manner). The reigning champions are Racing 92, based in another Paris suburb.

to:

* '''Top 14''' - the premier French domestic competition. 14 (clever, eh?) teams compete against each other across 26 regular season games and a six-team playoff, with two quarterfinals, a pair of semifinals and a final. The final, normally at Stade de France in the inner Paris suburb of Saint-Denis (though held in Barcelona in 2016 due to a scheduling conflict with [[EuropeanChampionship [[UsefulNotes/EuropeanChampionship UEFA Euro 2016]]), is one of France's biggest sporting events and has a party atmosphere. The competition has been running since 1892 and is without much question the most popular non-international domestic competition in the world. The French, it turns out (especially in the south), are crazy about rugby, and the [=T14=] is rapidly becoming rugby's equivalent of the UsefulNotes/EnglishPremierLeague, with star players from around the world turning out in front of huge, rabid crowds and being paid comparatively substantial sums of money. It is also believed by some to be the reason French international rugby has been on the wane for the better part of a decade, and it's a tough sell for the neutral given the intense desire of every team to win every game (the league operates a promotion and relegation system with the second-level Rugby Pro [=D2=], and every team is desperate to avoid relegation, meaning games are often played in a very cautious and risk-free manner). The reigning champions are Racing 92, based in another Paris suburb.
1st Mar '17 7:20:37 AM AhBengI
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As with most sports codified and then popularised around the world via the British, the pinnacle of the game is the competition between international teams. As with most sports in general, there is a TierSystem in which certain teams are generally more likely to triumph over others. The thing about rugby however is that, due to the complexity and physical intensity of the game and the variety of differing ways to score, major upsets are fairly rare. When you go up against a significantly better rugby team than you, you can generally expect that you will be beaten. This has the effect ([[ATouchOfClassEthnicityAndReligion appropriately]], perhaps, for a sport that emerged in Britain) of producing a sort of "caste system" in both domestic club competitions and the international circuit. At the top rung are the nations defined by the sport's governing body as "Tier 1" teams - the best of the best, all of whom have or are involved in professional or semi-professional competitions each year. These teams can also be divided based on which hemisphere they are found in, as this determines which transnational competitions they compete in. In the Northern Hemisphere, these are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. In the Southern Hemisphere, they consist of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Note that, with the curious exceptions of Italy, France and Argentina, all of these nations were once part of the British Commonwealth, which is how the game was popularised there. And Argentina really isn't that large of an exception—British expats, who played a major role in Argentina's industrial development, brought the sport to the country in the 1870s. As time goes by the dominance of the top teams is diminishing - at the most recent World Cup, Japan stunned South Africa and pretty much the rest of the world by recording their first ever win over the Springboks, which was also their second ever win in the entire history of the World Cup. For reference, South Africa have won the whole thing twice and are at any given time very likely to be in the top 3 teams in the world. Japan, by contrast, have never been higher in the world rugby rankings then ''ninth''.

It is one of the few sports that the English can claim to be genuine world beaters at, with their making appearances in three out of seven rugby World Cup finals and winning it once, with ''that'' famous drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. The England rugby team is renowned both for the poshness of the players, as mentioned above, and for the sheer power of the forward pack (think linemen and linebackers). Whatever state the rest of the team is in, the England scrum is generally a thing to be feared and always a force to be reckoned with. That said, they are still an English sports team and as such are never all that far away from a really spectacular public collapse. Even with this general tendency they recently outdid themselves, becoming the first team ever to host a World Cup and fail to make it past the group stage. They have bounced back very quickly however to win their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 13 years and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world. In Sevens Team GB did quite respectably for itself, coming in second at the inaugural Olympic men's tournament behind dominant Fiji. The women's side placed fourth behind Canada, New Zealand and gold medalist Australia.

to:

As with most sports codified and then popularised around the world via the British, the pinnacle of the game is the competition between international teams. As with most sports in general, there is a TierSystem in which certain teams are generally more likely to triumph over others. The thing about rugby however is that, due to the complexity and physical intensity of the game and the variety of differing ways to score, major upsets are fairly rare. When you go up against a significantly better rugby team than you, you can generally expect that you will be beaten. This has the effect ([[ATouchOfClassEthnicityAndReligion appropriately]], perhaps, for a sport that emerged in Britain) of producing a sort of "caste system" in both domestic club competitions and the international circuit. At the top rung are the nations defined by the sport's governing body as "Tier 1" teams - the best of the best, all of whom have or are involved in professional or semi-professional competitions each year. These teams can also be divided based on which hemisphere they are found in, as this determines which transnational competitions they compete in. In the Northern Hemisphere, these are England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. In the Southern Hemisphere, they consist of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Note that, with the curious exceptions of Italy, France and Argentina, all of these nations were once part of the British Commonwealth, which is how the game was popularised there. And Argentina really isn't that large of an exception—British expats, who played a major role in Argentina's industrial development, brought the sport to the country in the 1870s. As time goes by the dominance of the top teams is diminishing - at the most recent World Cup, Japan stunned South Africa and pretty much the rest of the world by recording their first ever a win over the Springboks, which was also their second ever win in the entire history of the World Cup.Cup (with their first coming against Zimbabwe in 1991). For reference, South Africa have won the whole thing twice and are at any given time very likely to be in the top 3 teams in the world. Japan, by contrast, have never been higher in the world rugby rankings then ''ninth''.

It is one of the few sports that the English can claim to be genuine world beaters at, with their making appearances in three out of seven rugby World Cup finals and winning it once, with ''that'' famous drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in 2003. The England rugby team is renowned both for the poshness of the players, as mentioned above, and for the sheer power of the forward pack (think linemen and linebackers). Whatever state the rest of the team is in, the England scrum is generally a thing to be feared and always a force to be reckoned with. That said, they are still an English sports team and as such are never all that far away from a really spectacular public collapse. Even with this general tendency they recently outdid themselves, becoming the first team ever to host sole hosts of a World Cup and to fail to make it past the group stage. They have bounced back very quickly however to win their first Six Nations Grand Slam in 13 years and are currently ranked as the second best team in the world. In Sevens Team GB did quite respectably for itself, coming in second at the inaugural Olympic men's tournament behind dominant Fiji. The women's side placed fourth behind Canada, New Zealand and gold medalist Australia.



In Wales and New Zealand, it is something close to a national religion, with both nations dominating their regions [[note]]or at least, in the case of the Welsh, when they get their act together. When that happens, they go through every other team in the Northern Hemisphere like a hot knife through butter. When they don't... not so much, though they still aren't pushovers[[/note]] despite their relatively minuscule populations. Wales are perennial favourites for the Six Nations title (though in a good year, there are at least four serious challengers for the title) and completed the Grand Slam, defeating all five other teams, three times in seven years (2005, 2008, 2012). New Zealand extend this dominance worldwide, and the All Blacks have long since developed a global reputation for invincibility which is only rarely challenged. They are unique in international sports in that they have a winning record against ''every single team'' that they have ever played. It is considered a major achievement for one of the Northern Hemisphere superpowers (England, France, Ireland and Wales) to even run the All Blacks close: France have won the most encounters with New Zealand with 12 from 55. England have won 7 from 40, Wales 3 from 30 (and they haven't won since 1963...) and Ireland only picked up their first win over the [=ABs=] in 2016, on their 29th attempt. Their closest competitors, the Wallabies of Australia, have a record of 42-109 against New Zealand. It should be noted that the Wallabies are nearly as invincible to other teams that aren't New Zealand, with only the springboks generally giving them a contest. They can't manage a 33% win rate against New Zealand.


to:

In Wales and New Zealand, it is something close to a national religion, with both nations dominating their regions [[note]]or at least, in the case of the Welsh, when they get their act together. When that happens, they go through every other team in the Northern Hemisphere like a hot knife through butter. When they don't... not so much, though they still aren't pushovers[[/note]] despite their relatively minuscule populations. Wales are perennial favourites for the Six Nations title (though in a good year, there are at least four serious challengers for the title) and completed the Grand Slam, defeating all five other teams, three times in seven years (2005, 2008, 2012). New Zealand extend this dominance worldwide, and the All Blacks have long since developed a global reputation for invincibility which is only rarely challenged. They are unique in international sports in that they have a winning record against ''every single team'' that they have ever played. It is considered a major achievement for one any of the Northern Hemisphere superpowers (England, France, Ireland and Wales) to even run the All Blacks close: France have won the most encounters with New Zealand with 12 from 55. England have won 7 from 40, Wales 3 from 30 (and they haven't won since 1963...) and Ireland only picked up their first win over the [=ABs=] in 2016, on their 29th attempt. Their closest competitors, the Wallabies of Australia, have a record of 42-109 against New Zealand. It should be noted that the Wallabies are nearly as invincible to other teams that aren't New Zealand, with only the springboks generally giving them a contest. They can't manage a 33% win rate against New Zealand.

Zealand.



* The '''Rugby World Cup''' — Held every four years in the year before the Summer Olympics, this is the sport's highest prize for national teams. The victors receive the Webb Ellis Trophy, named for William Webb Ellis, apocryphally credited with creating the game. Due to the same quirks of history which resulted in the game going professional a mere 21 years ago, almost a century after it was created, the Rugby World Cup has only been running since the 1980s. However, with the primacy placed on international competition in the sport, it has already become the grandest stage on which to perform in all of rugby union. New Zealand are the current holders of the trophy, having won it at home in 2011 and in England in 2015. The next World Cup, in 2019, will be hosted by Japan.

to:

* The '''Rugby World Cup''' — Held every four years in the year before the Summer Olympics, this is the sport's highest prize for national teams. The victors receive the Webb Ellis Trophy, named for William Webb Ellis, apocryphally credited with creating the game. Due to the same quirks of history which resulted in the game going professional a mere 21 years ago, only in 1995, almost a century after it was created, the Rugby World Cup has only been running since the 1980s. However, with the primacy placed on international competition in the sport, it has already become the grandest stage on which to perform in all of rugby union. New Zealand are the current holders of the trophy, having won it at home in 2011 and in England in 2015. The next World Cup, in 2019, will be hosted by Japan.
28th Feb '17 6:25:49 AM wkcia
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* '''Super Rugby''' - A contest between domestic teams (generally referred to as franchises rather than clubs) from the SANZAAR nations (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), plus one, slightly token team from Japan. It is contested annually, and as you'd expect from a competition featuring teams from some of the best rugby nations in the world, the quality is generally considered to be second only to international rugby. This is somewhat debatable at times and there is a lengthy argument to be had regarding the devaluing or otherwise of the competition as it slowly expands - it started life as a competition between 6 provincial sides from Australia and New Zealand, but has gradually expanded to incorporate a total of 18 franchises (5 each for New Zealand and Australia, 1 from Argentina, 1 from Japan and 6 from South Africa - the sixth South African team being added partially for money but mainly for domestic political reasons). It is a showcase of "basketball" style rugby, played in generally agreeable weather on firm grounds by teams whose primary concern after winning is to put on a great show. The tournament's supervising body also aims to encourage a grand spectacle. It has seen a fairly broad spread of winners, with the most successful teams unsurprisingly tending to herald from New Zealand - but both Australian and South African teams have won it as well. The reigning champions are the Hurricanes of New Zealand.

to:

* '''Super Rugby''' - A contest between domestic teams (generally referred to as franchises rather than clubs) from the SANZAAR nations (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), plus one, slightly token team from Japan. It is contested annually, and as you'd expect from a competition featuring teams from some of the best rugby nations in the world, the quality is generally considered to be second only to international rugby. This is somewhat debatable at times and there is a lengthy argument to be had regarding the devaluing or otherwise of the competition as it slowly expands - it started life as a competition between 6 provincial sides from Australia and New Zealand, but has gradually expanded to incorporate a total of 18 franchises (5 each for New Zealand and Australia, 1 from Argentina, 1 from Japan and 6 from South Africa - the sixth South African team being added partially for money but mainly for domestic political reasons). It is a showcase of "basketball" style rugby, played in generally agreeable weather on firm grounds by teams whose primary concern after winning is to put on a great show. It helps that the big four countries' "playing styles" from which franchises are drawn have an interesting dynamic based on a cultural disposition to play a certain brand of rugby - the Australian and New Zealand teams favor skillful passing and inspired unstructured play (with the Australians far more unpredictable for both good and ill) South African teams share the springboks' mastery of the set piece, and the Argentinians make it a point to beat the living day lights out of their opponents - surely an exciting spectacle when you see the techniques thrown against each other. The tournament's supervising body also aims to encourage a grand spectacle. It has seen a fairly broad spread of winners, with the most successful teams unsurprisingly tending to herald from New Zealand - but both Australian and South African teams have won it as well. The reigning champions are the Hurricanes of New Zealand.
28th Feb '17 6:14:13 AM wkcia
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In Wales and New Zealand, it is something close to a national religion, with both nations dominating their regions [[note]]or at least, in the case of the Welsh, when they get their act together. When that happens, they go through every other team in the Northern Hemisphere like a hot knife through butter. When they don't... not so much, though they still aren't pushovers[[/note]] despite their relatively minuscule populations. Wales are perennial favourites for the Six Nations title (though in a good year, there are at least four serious challengers for the title) and completed the Grand Slam, defeating all five other teams, three times in seven years (2005, 2008, 2012). New Zealand extend this dominance worldwide, and the All Blacks have long since developed a global reputation for invincibility which is only rarely challenged. They are unique in international sports in that they have a winning record against ''every single team'' that they have ever played. It is considered a major achievement for one of the Northern Hemisphere superpowers (England, France, Ireland and Wales) to even run the All Blacks close: France have won the most encounters with New Zealand with 12 from 55. England have won 7 from 40, Wales 3 from 30 (and they haven't won since 1963...) and Ireland only picked up their first win over the [=ABs=] in 2016, on their 29th attempt.


to:

In Wales and New Zealand, it is something close to a national religion, with both nations dominating their regions [[note]]or at least, in the case of the Welsh, when they get their act together. When that happens, they go through every other team in the Northern Hemisphere like a hot knife through butter. When they don't... not so much, though they still aren't pushovers[[/note]] despite their relatively minuscule populations. Wales are perennial favourites for the Six Nations title (though in a good year, there are at least four serious challengers for the title) and completed the Grand Slam, defeating all five other teams, three times in seven years (2005, 2008, 2012). New Zealand extend this dominance worldwide, and the All Blacks have long since developed a global reputation for invincibility which is only rarely challenged. They are unique in international sports in that they have a winning record against ''every single team'' that they have ever played. It is considered a major achievement for one of the Northern Hemisphere superpowers (England, France, Ireland and Wales) to even run the All Blacks close: France have won the most encounters with New Zealand with 12 from 55. England have won 7 from 40, Wales 3 from 30 (and they haven't won since 1963...) and Ireland only picked up their first win over the [=ABs=] in 2016, on their 29th attempt. \n\n Their closest competitors, the Wallabies of Australia, have a record of 42-109 against New Zealand. It should be noted that the Wallabies are nearly as invincible to other teams that aren't New Zealand, with only the springboks generally giving them a contest. They can't manage a 33% win rate against New Zealand.

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