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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Super Rugby 2015 Draw Released

Here is the Super Rugby 2015 draw.  The features of the draw depend on which team you support, but I must admit that I like not having the June International Test Matches interrupting the business end of the competition.  ANZAC weekend will see all Australia and New Zealand teams in action, while the main talking point for my Highlanders team is that they have the bye in Round 1 which sucks and they play the Crusaders in Round 2 which will be a rude awakening!  They also don't play the worst Australian team, the Rebels.  

What do you think of the Super Rugby 2015 draw?  How does it suit your team?

Each team plays home and away derbies within their own conference, plus the following cross-conference matches in the 2015 Super Rugby season:
Brumbies: Chiefs (A) Cheetahs (H) Blues (A) Highlanders (H) Stormers (A) Lions (A) Bulls (H) Crusaders (A)
Force: Hurricanes (H) Bulls (A) Sharks (A) Cheetahs (H) Stormers (H) Chiefs (A) Blues (A) Highlanders (H)
Rebels: Crusaders (A) Lions (H) Hurricanes (A) Chiefs (H) Blues (H) Stormers (A) Sharks (A) Bulls (H)
Reds: Highlanders (A) Lions (H) Bulls (A) Cheetahs (A) Hurricanes (H) Crusaders (A) Sharks (H) Chiefs (H)
Waratahs: Highlanders (A) Blues (H) Stormers (H) Hurricanes (A) Sharks (H) Crusaders (H) Lions (A) Cheetahs (A)
Blues: Stormers (A) Cheetahs (A) Lions (H) Waratahs (A) Brumbies (H) Force (H) Rebels (A) Bulls (H)
Chiefs: Brumbies (H) Stormers (A) Sharks (A) Cheetahs (H) Force (H) Rebels (A) Bulls (H) Reds (A)
Crusaders: Rebels (H) Lions (H) Cheetahs (H) Bulls (A) Sharks (A) Reds (H) Waratahs (A) Brumbies (A)
Highlanders: Reds (H) Waratahs (H) Stormers (H) Brumbies (A) Sharks (H) Lions (A) Cheetahs (A) Force (A)
Hurricanes: Lions (A) Bulls (A) Force (A) Rebels (H) Stormers (H) Waratahs (H) Reds (A) Sharks (H)
Bulls: Hurricanes (H) Force (H) Crusaders (H) Reds (H) Blues (A) Chiefs (A) Brumbies (A) Rebels (A)
Cheetahs: Blues (H) Crusaders (A) Chiefs (A) Brumbies (A) Force (A) Reds (H) Highlanders (H) Waratahs(H)
Lions: Hurricanes (H) Blues (A) Crusaders (A) Rebels (A) Reds (A) Highlanders (H) Brumbies (H) Waratahs(H)
Sharks: Chiefs (H) Force (H) Crusaders (H) Highlanders (A) Hurricanes (A) Waratahs (A) Reds (A) Rebels (H)
Stormers: Blues (H) Chiefs (H) Highlanders (A) Hurricanes (A) Waratahs (A) Force (A) Brumbies (H) Rebels (H)
See the full Super Rugby 2015 draw here

Wallabies Set To Play British and Irish Lions Before 2017 Tour To New Zealand

The Australians have done it again in a repeat of the underarm incident with the British and Irish Lions set to play a test match in Australia against the Wallabies at the start of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

This is an attempt to recover costs from the 2015 Rugby World Cup year which will see teams play only a few home test matches compared to other years.

Isn't this a kick in the teeth for New Zealand rugby fans who have had to wait 12 years for the British and Irish Lions to return to New Zealand and all the money and hype which goes with this massive tour?  I think this is cheap by the Wallabies as neither South Africa or New Zealand cut Australia's lunch last year when they hosted the Lions.  Maybe the British and Irish Lions wanted to actually win a test match on their tour after they were thrashed by the All Blacks in 2005.

Anyway, is this the end of the British and Irish Lions tours to only one country every four years and each country housing their tour every 12 years?  This will surely start taking the novelty away from these tours if they are going to stopover and play tests in other countries on their way to their destination.  

It actually makes sense this game taking place with the Wallabies providing an excellent warm up for the tour and some money for the coffers, but as an All Blacks fan I feel a bit like a kid hosting a birthday who has to let his friends play with his new toys.

Should Australia host the British and Irish Lions in 2017 on their way to New Zealand?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Death Of Pay Television - Should Live Streaming Rugby Become Official?

In the days of being able to watch most shows and sports events on the Internet, it seems funny that there isn't a way of watching live streaming rugby legally, is it time for Sky Sports in New Zealand to get with the times and provide live streaming online?  People wanting to watch rugby have had to pay around $100 per month to watch all of the sports offered by Sky Television, even if they don't want them.  Sky have held 240,000 New Zealand rugby fans to ransom by making them pay $100 per month to watch rugby and all of the other sports they offer.

Other sports like football and basketball have websites where you can pay for an NBA season or an English Premier League season.  Would it be too difficult to get fans to pay $30 for The Rugby Championship season or $6 to watch the All Blacks play a game?  I think if it was affordable then it would stop people who usually watch on low quality free live streaming feeds would pay the money to watch a HD live streaming feed, especially for overseas fans who can't watch Sky Television from their country of residence.

Orcon recently wanted to do this, but it seems that the heavy hand of Sky Television will probably stop them from providing this service.

If you love all sports, then Sky Sports $100 per month package is probably what you want, but if you only watch one or two sports, then an online live streaming service is what you want.

It is a tough issue given that pay television provides money for competitions like Super Rugby.

Is it time that Sky Television offered live streaming rugby in New Zealand?

How do you watch rugby, online or on Sky Television?

I actually thought this service should exist about 5 years ago, but Sky probably does have plenty of traditional customers who prefer watching on television, but the younger generation with smartphones, laptops and iPads may prefer other options which other sports can provide.  It probably wouldn't be too difficult to start up too.

All Blacks Must Lose A Game Before Winning The Rugby World Cup - Thoughts?

Former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry believes that the All Blacks must lose a game in the build up to the Rugby World Cup 2015 so they can improve, do you agree?

There are two schools of thought here really with Henry thinking that an unbeaten leadup to the tournament and an easy group at the Rugby World Cup could lead the All Blacks towards destruction in the knockout phases like in 2007.  Do you think the All Blacks have been papering over some of the cracks with their narrow escapes in recent seasons against teams like England, Ireland, Australia and South Africa?  Most teams and players in sports learn the most from their defeats.

However, a defeat for the All Blacks could take away some of the psychological edge that they have over their opponents.  There is also the thought that they may have learned from some of their narrow escapes.  It could damage their aura of invincibility and break their self belief that they will win every game.

It will be interesting to see if the All Blacks of 2015 can adapt to the referees and change their tactics if defeat is on the cards.

What do you think, do the All Blacks have to lose before the Rugby World Cup so they will improve to win the Rugby World Cup 2015?

Ma'a Nonu Gives Jean De Villiers His All Blacks Jersey - Touching Story

Warning - this is a heartfeld story of ultimate respect.

Springboks captain and gentleman of the game, Jean de Villiers played his 100th test match for the Springboks in their 14-10 loss to the All Blacks.  Above is a photo of him wearing his 100th test cap.  While this was touching in itself, his opposite, Ma'a Nonu who has seen his fair share of controversy over the years broke his arm during the match and was taken to hospital.  As a true mark of respect for his opposite number, Ma'a Nonu made sure that de Villiers received his All Blacks Number 12 jersey despite being in terrible pain and having to undergo surgery on his broken arm.

This is a cool story and shows the respect that these two players have for each other.  It is always humbling to think that these players you see tackling and pounding each other on the field, are often quite friendly off the field.  We sometimes forget that side of top level sport.

ITM Cup 2014 Round 6 Video Highlights

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