Under the Posts – Week of August 19, 2018

Lots of exciting news this week as we cover the newest World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees, broadcast numbers from the 2018 Rugby World Cup 7s, the second test between New Zealand and Australia, and week 2 of the WPL.

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Scotland’s rugby has declared a structure for their cup, sevens and league rugby to “enable clubs to attract bigger, more consistent squad sizes as the majority of inclement seasonal weather falls outwith the playing window”. League fixtures will kick-off in August and run until the beginning of December; then, after a mid-winter break, Cup competitions will be played from March through to Cup Finals Day in April; while Sevens competitions keep their traditional place in the calendar in May and June. “The aim is to make playing rugby as easy and stress-free as possible,” said Gemma Fay, Scottish Rugby’s Head of Women & Girls’ Rugby. “Better weather and considered timings for the season should make playing more attractive for a greater number of women, whatever level they are at.” We’re LOVING these black and white photos that accompany this piece on Sophie de Goede, a Queen’s University student and captain of Canada’s U20 side at the Tri-Nations Cup. World Rugby has announced that five legends of the game in Liza Burgess (Wales), Stephen Larkham (Australia), Ronan O’Gara (Ireland), Pierre Villepreux (France) and Bryan Williams (New Zealand) will be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2018. A trailblazer as a player, Burgess becomes just the tenth woman to be included in to the fabled list to become inductee No.142. Burgess, known throughout women’s rugby world-wide as ‘Bird’, was at the forefront of Welsh women’s rugby for nearly three decades. During an illustrious playing career, she played in Wales’ very first international against England in 1987 where she led the side from No 8. Twenty years later and with 93 caps to her name, including six appearances for Great Britain, she finished her Test career in the 2007 Women’s Six Nations. Burgess captained Wales on 62 occasions, participated in six World Cups – four as a player and two as assistant coach – and was assistant coach for the inaugural Barbarians women’s team last year. Burgess, who is currently assistant coach at Gloucester-Hartpury, is simply overwhelmed with the honour. World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont describes record USA broadcast audiences for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco as “a major endorsement of a sport that is rapidly converting new fans” in one of the world’s most competitive sports markets. Host broadcaster NBC confirmed that the three-day tournament was the most-watched live rugby cast in the USA on record. Coverage reached nine million viewers across five telecasts, with finals day coverage averaging 1.365 million viewers. A bit of a damper after the first Australia vs New Zealand match as some journalists took offense to the warmup situation. Australia came out later and clarified that they have a policy for double headers that prevents any teams playing in the first match from warming up on the field. Both sides are understood to have been made aware of the policy well in advance of the August 18 Test and were given two options for their warm-up spot. It is believed both teams were given the choice of whether to warm up at the NSWRL headquarters with a path to the stadium to be cordoned off for them but turned down that offer. Excitement builds as we prepare to take in the second Australia vs New Zealand match at Eden Park. The Black Ferns swept the two match series against Australia with a larger scoreline in the second test, 45-17. The current Rugby World Cup Champions showed their forward dominance and then their backline skills on the way to victory. Uganda Lady Cranes were honored as the winners of the Reach A Hand, Uganga 2018 Young Achievers Award Outstanding Sports Personality. France have named a 30 player squad for their preparations ahead of the Six Nations. WPL Week 2 predictions are out! How did we do?

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