Thursday, 23 October 2003

Rugby in the USA

November 1st marked an important day for all those who enjoy the sport of rugby. A freezing cold day at Soldier field in Chicago, the U.S Eagles took on the dominant, number one team in the world, the New Zealand All Blacks for the second time ever and the first on U.S soil. Unfortunately, yet as expected, the All Blacks crushed the united states 74-6 in front of a packed stadium filled with U.S rugby supporters. Although the result of the game did not go as many U.S rugby fans will have dreamed of, there are still many positives to take from the game, including the sold out, slam packed Chicago Bears football stadium.

Bringing the number one rugby club in the world was obviously going to bring some hype, but the amount that was generated, truly was a surprise. The game attracted people all around the U.S to come and watch one of the most phenomenal, action packed, entertaining sports in the world and to see it played by some of the best players in the world. It really was a treat for the fans here in the U.S that until now had not had the chance to watch this sport played live in person at the top level. The excitement of seeing your first live game of the sport that you love yourself is a feeling that is not easily topped, and I'm sure is a feeling that many U.S rugby fans got to enjoy.

Over the past few years, rugby has started to grow across the United States, more and more people are not just hearing about an aggressive fun to watch sport that they never knew to exist but are now occasionally seeing it played on standard television. For those that tuned in to NBC Sport on November 1st they got to see some fantastic athleticism and also some bone crunching tackles. Rugby is now being played at most universities around the country and even a lot of high schools in certain areas are starting programs and getting children playing the pick up the sport at a younger age. Playing rugby in the U.S is now a lot easier to do than it was a couple of years ago and it should only continue to grow more.

Events like bringing the All Blacks to take on the Unproven, U.S Eagles in Chicago is fantastic in the aid of spreading awareness of the sport and creating excitement amongst its fans. Hosting an event like the game played on November 1st, unites the few fans from all across the country that have taken a liking to sport, and even if it is inadvertently, are spreading the joy of rugby to others who know little, or nothing about the sport that is played and loved around many corners of the globe.

Rugby in the United States is moving in a great direction and will soon, hopefully become one of the top played and watched sports in the country sometime in the not too distant future. With the excitement that this contact sport can generate it will be surprising not to see the popularity of this sport sky rocket as more and more people are being introduced to it through one means or another.


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