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A more predictable all time champion in the rugby. I suppose the fact that relatively few countries play rugby, and even fewer play it at all well, means that the URUWC throws up less surprises than the UFWC.
Not only that, but it's a sport much less conducive to upsets. While a team like the US might keep things respectable, and even win a few against better teams, in rugby they will lose heavily every single time against solid competition.
Then there's the matter of teams not playing much (particularly in the old days), a lack of a world cup until 1987, a general lack of participation by top teams in qualifying, and teams taking each international quite a bit more seriously (not really such a thing as an off-season, meaningless, international "friendly" in rugby).
So, yeah, the URUWC will probably never find its way into the nether regions of the sport, but it's still a fun exercise.
I have a couple of disputes about the URUWC! When Ireland took the title from Wales in March 1888, they lost it 7 days later to Scotland by a converted try to nil. Scotland then lost it to England in March 1890. Also, when England lost the title in Jan 1966 it was to Wales not Australia. Wales then lost to Ireland in Mar 66, and England regained it in Feb 67.
11/11/06 Ireland beat South Africa to take the title 11/2/07 France bt Ireland 11/3/07 England bt France, taking the title for the first time since losing it shortly after the 2003 World Cup 17/3/07 England's 6-day reign as holders comes to an end, Wales are the new holders. Their next match is against Australia in Sydney on 26th May.
Unlike the UFWC, the URUWC will always be contested in every World Cup Final for two reasons: a) any team remotely capable of challenging on the world stage will always qualify for the finals and b) there is virtually no danger of a team taking the title by winning a final group game, having already been eliminated, as there is less competitiveness within the group stages than there is in football. Therefore, South Africa are the current URUWC champions, and kept the title with a comfortable win over Wales recently.
As it is nearly three years since the last post on this subject, I thought an update was due!
First, a brief historical overview (as the Wikipedia links in the first post on this page no longer work).
The title was contested by only the four Home Nations from 1871 until 1905. The first team from overseas to compete were New Zealand, who lost 3-0 to Wales in Cardiff in 1905. The following year, South Africa made their first challenge, and beat Ireland 15-12 in Belfast to take the title into the southern hemisphere. It then swapped back and forth between South Africa, New Zealand (champions for the first time in 1921) and Australia (successful at their first attempt in 1929) for many years.
In 1964, France finally took the title back north with victory over South Africa. The same year, France held off challenges from both Fiji and Romania, the first nations outside the established "big 8" of world rugby to compete. The first such nation to take the title was Romania, courtesy of their win over Scotland (who had just won the Grand Slam) in 1984. They lost the title at their first attempt, though. Argentina claimed the title in 1985, and again in 1986, but both times they too failed to make a successful defence. Since then, the only non-big 8 nation to take the title was Samoa, who did so by beating Wales during the 1999 World Cup. Again, though, they lost the title straight away.
Since South Africa's World Cup triumph in 2007, the title has changed hands as follows:
20/10/2007 South Africa 5/7/2008 New Zealand 12/7/2008 South Africa 19/7/2008 Australia 2/8/2008 New Zealand 13/6/2009 France 20/6/2009 New Zealand 25/7/2009 South Africa 5/9/2009 Australia 19/9/2009 New Zealand
New Zealand have had 10 successful defences in their current reign as champions. Their next defence is tomorrow in Melbourne. Their current run is the fourth best in URUWC history. The top three runs are as follows:
South Africa (1937-53) 11 successful defences New Zealand (2005-06) 13 successful defences New Zealand (1987-90) 17 successful defences.
The All Blacks' record run began with their victory in the inaugural World Cup Final, and incorporated six wins and a draw against Australia, three wins over Wales, two over France, two over Argentina, two over Scotland and one over Ireland. It was the Wallabies who finally ended the run, winning 21-9 in Wellington.
Last Edit: Jul 30, 2010 16:42:49 GMT by petewaring
The sp00n was contested exclusively by the four Home Nations between 1871 and 1905. In 1906, the sp00n left the Home Nations for the first time, when South Africa took it, courtesy of a defeat in Scotland. A week later, however, the Springboks beat Ireland, and the sp00n has never left Europe since. When France first entered international rugby, they were weak for many years, and were thus wooden sp00n holders for most of the period 1908-24. In 1924 though, France offloaded the sp00n to Romania, and it has been travelling round the lesser rugby lights of Europe ever since.
Since 1924, the sp00n has been held by: Romania, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Bulgaria, Andorra, Monaco, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria.
The current holders are Denmark, having lost 14-12 to Slovenia in Ljubljana on 15/5/2010.
Of course, Denmark are not the worst international rugby team in the world - far from it. The problem is that the IRB rank all the teams into groups according to their standard, and teams rarely face opposition from outside their groups (or their own geographical region), as mismatches in rugby could have devastating consequences. In other words, there are plenty of countries Denmark would beat heavily, but they are unlikely ever to play any of them - partly to avoid mismatches, and partly because, as amateurs, they have neither the time nor the money to travel the world playing rugby. So, for the time being, like it or lump it, Denmark are the unofficial wooden sp00ners of world rugby. Still, it's only a bit of fun isn't it!
Meanwhile, the All Blacks have retained the URUWC championship with a thumping win in Australia yesterday.
URUWC champions: New Zealand URUWC wooden sp00n: Denmark
New Zealand's epic run goes on, with a 29-22 win over the Springboks in Johannesburg recently. Next up for them is another match with Australia (this Saturday in Sydney). The sides then meet once more, on 30 October in Hong Kong, before both sides travel to Britain in November.
New Zealand came from 22-9 down to win 23-22 in Sydney today; this is their 14th successful defence in a row. Four more defences would see this become the longest run in URUWC history. Their next four matches are:
Oct 30 v Australia (Hong Kong) Nov 6 v England (Twickenham) Nov 13 v Scotland (Murrayfield) Nov 20 v Ireland (Dublin)
Wins in the first three of this would make 18 wins in a row in all internationals, which would be a new all-time international rugby record.