Peak Sports Mailbag: Week 6

Ask and answer SFU and non-SFU related sports questions. This week: Rugby

Photo credit / United Sport

By: Chris Turenne, SFU student

Hey Peak sports readers,

My name is Chris Turenne, and I’m this week’s host for the rugby themed Peak Sports Mailbag. Thanks so much to all of our readers for submitting their rugby-related questions, and my apologies if your question didn’t make it into this week’s edition. The Mailbag host will usually only answer three questions. Don’t worry though, as all questions submitted count for an entry into the raffle draw whether or not they are addressed in the Mailbag.

Question 1: “First, what is the most exciting rugby a sports fan can watch on TV or online if they want to start getting into rugby? Second, what is the most exciting rugby I can watch in the Lower Mainland area?” – Dakota 

Answer: In my opinion, the most exciting rugby that any fan can watch is the Rugby World Cup. This is an international tournament that displays the best talent from across the world. You are also in luck with the fact that it is on right now, taking place in Japan. If you are a night owl, or a very committed fan, you can catch these games live, with daily start times between 9:45 p.m. and 3:15 a.m. However, if you value sleep like me, you can always record them on TSN and watch them later. 

One step down from the World Cup are two annual international tournaments. The first is the Rugby Championship. This is an annual tournament played in the summer months between teams from the southern hemisphere (New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Argentina). The second is the Six Nations Championship, which is played by northern hemisphere teams (England, France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Italy). This tournament is played in early February. These games are a little harder to find on TV, so online sources may be required for viewing. 

The best rugby out there, besides international play, comes from two professional leagues. Super Rugby is a southern hemisphere based league known for its fast pace and heavy hits. It can be viewed from February to July. This is some of my favourite rugby to watch. The other is the Pro14 League, which is played mostly in the northern hemisphere. This league features ball handling and technical ability. It runs from September to June, which means that, between all the above listed games, you should have a pretty steady supply of rugby all year.

To answer the second half of the question, you need not look further than BC Rugby, which is also the league that I play in. It has a bunch of men’s and women’s teams in the Lower Mainland, and beyond, that play every Saturday. All the games are free to watch, and we all love to see new fans. So find a club to support near you. 

On a final note, the best way to take part in rugby is to play it. I would urge anyone interested in rugby to give it a shot. I joined last year and it has been a blast.

Question 2: “Why are the New Zealand All Blacks such a famous team? What makes them so successful?” – Kyle

Answer: The All Blacks are such a famous team because, unlike most sports teams, they barely ever lose. Since their first test match in 1903, the All Blacks have had a win percentage of approximately 80%. They hold the most world cup wins and are the only team to win back to back world cups. Moreover, they have not lost at their home field, Eden Park, in 25 years. These factors account for them usually being the world’s top ranked team. 

To account for their success, I think of the conversations I have had with my kiwi teammate. He grew up from age five playing the game, watched it every Saturday with his dad growing up, and knew boys who got their education paid for by playing rugby. It is a part of New Zealand’s history and culture. I believe it is this, and the pressure to continue to be the best, that keeps the All Blacks on top of the world. I think it is comparable to the way many Canadians feel about hockey.

Question 3: “Where and how did rugby start?” – Nick

Answer: The origins of rugby are quite vague and almost mythic at this point. It is said to have begun with a young boy, William Webb Ellis, a pupil at the Rugby School in Rugby, England, who the Rugby World Cup’s trophy was named after. During a game of football (soccer) in the 1830–40’s, William picked up the ball and began to run, breaking the rules of the game to make his own. This is said to be the first game of rugby. 

The game would grow in the UK until two distinct forms of rugby emerged. These are rugby union and rugby league. Rugby union is more popular on a global scale and is the version most people think of when they hear the term rugby. Rugby also helped give rise to the American football we know today. 

Fun fact: scoring in football is still called a touchdown because a player in rugby must touch the ball to the ground in the end zone to score a try. 

If you would like to participate in future editions of the Peak Sports Mailbag and be entered in a raffle for an end-of-semester prize, here’s what you can send to sports@the-peak.ca

  • Sports-related questions that our weekly host will answer
  • Weekly theme ideas to guide our questions

Or: sign up to host the Mailbag (and get paid)!

Thanks to all of you SFU sports fans for blowing up my inbox!

Next week’s theme is: NHL hockey

Next week’s host is: Dylan Webb

Send in your questions to sports@the-peak.ca