International rugby is back on top
It is not so long ago that there seemed to be a feeling that international rugby was starting to lose its appeal whilst top level club rugby (in the northern hemisphere at least) was riding a crest of a wave, especially in the European cup. I don’t know if it is because this is a World Cup year, but I have fallen back in love with the top level of competition. The 6 Nations is off to a storming start - every game (even with the Italians) has something worth watching and I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Just as the support teams for each national side grow larger every year, so do the number of podcasts available. It seems like every ex-international has almost unlimited invites to talk incessantly, quoting from what I presume is an IRB issued book of rugby cliches. I guess, with the demise of the post-match banquet when ex-players from yesteryear(the amateur era) were invited to repeat for the umpteenth time, tales of brutality, world class alcohol abuse and stories of English arrogance, Scottish meanness, Welsh brilliance and French unpredictability, nowadays, retired ex-pros, equipped with MacBooks and the aforementioned book of cliches pop up all over the World Wide Web telling tales of .... well you get the idea. I am being a little harsh as actually, it is good to hear that despite the sport turning pro and players leaving school and heading straight for club academies, avoiding the traditional varsity blues, there is still evidence that rugby is a game in which being articulate is not a hindrance. I listen to several different ‘pods’ and enjoy many of them. The best, by far however, is ‘The Ruck’. It might not be everyone’s pint if Guinness but I love the balance between serious rugby commentary, (mostly) humorous banter and well chosen guests. One area in particular in which The Ruck should be commended, although you are by no means alone, is the positive and detailed coverage of women’s top level rugby. If anyone listening has not yet got round to watching England’s ‘Red Roses’ play recently, I would urge you to do so immediately. To be honest, without watching the games, The Ruck’s coverage could, in some ways, seem a little patronising - you are willing to lay into the men’s teams for the slightest dropped pass whereas the women’s games are generally described in glowing terms, as if criticising a women’s performance would be somehow ungallant. To be honest, it might be fair to be a little more critical from time to time. However, anyone watching women’s international rugby for the first time, especially England, France, New Zealand and Canada will almost certainly be blown away by the quality of the play. They are fast, accurate, skilled, physical and tactically advanced. The main difference between men’s and women’s international rugby? The women are smaller. Er... that’s about it! There is a significant difference between women’s international and club rugby, reminiscent of the difference in the men’s game 30 years ago when international men’s rugby was an almost completely different sport from men’s club rugby, whereas now, the difference between Leinster and Saracens compared to Ireland and England is pretty small (on a good day, Ireland might beat Saracens). If women’s rugby keeps being supported in such a positive way, however, the gaps between the club and international sides will close. It is more pressing for the likes of Wales, Ireland and Scotland to start supporting their top women as, at present, with only France and England choosing to offer professional contracts, the gap between different countries is only going to grow - in women’s rugby, I doubt Ireland’s amateurs would beat Saracen’s semi-professionals, even on a good day! Anyway, keep up the good work. As I mentioned earlier, I listen to several rugby pods, but The Ruck is always my first choice. Thanks Tony Rex - Maidstone Ps - I love the fact that the RFU for the past 7-8 years have streamed live from Twickenham and Allianz Park, National schools U15 and U18 cup semi-finals and finals, complete with good quality commentary and multi-camera, professional coverage. The quality of play is usually excellent and the games are really enjoyable - skilful, physical and tactically advanced. Just as watching women’s international rugby is NOT like watching the equivalent of Sunday league soccer, watching the likes of Dulwich College versus Warwick is NOT like watching your kid’s school play. Serious rugby fans should definitely check out the archived games on YouTube, they are well worth a look! The standard
T Rex - via Apple Podcasts · Great Britain · 02/11/19
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Alex Thomson Lock via Apple Podcasts · Great Britain · 06/29/17
Owen Slot is articulate and interesting, just as he is in print. The podcast is let down by Stephen Jones who resembles a Welsh Donald Trump: belligerent, prone to outlandish statements, and a remarkably thin skin when people disagree with him. Like Trump, he will ban you! Try Flats &...Read full review »
Take me to Jungleland via Apple Podcasts · Great Britain · 02/26/17
Always good insight, interesting & informative. Lol Dallagio a great addition (but PLEASE stop saying “yer know”!!!, we get it, we know!!). Definitely worth a listen for any Rugby naus, lot of sense talked (although the jury’s still out on the Contrarian from Wales!!). Keep it up, boys!
Rigger66 via Apple Podcasts · Great Britain · 12/09/19
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