It’s almost here rugby fans. Can you smell the deep heat? Can you hear the roar of the crowd?
It’s been a long and boring summer by the standards of any Union enthusiast, but prepare yourself ladies and gentlemen, because Rugby is almost here.
With kickoff for the 2014 season just around the corner, now seems like the perfect opportunity to take a look at the sport in a state traditionally dominated by other codes. Despite having neither the coverage nor the funding of football or cricket, Rugby Union has hitting hard in South Australia’s sporting culture since the creation of the league in 1932.
From the smallest of starts, an amateur competition of only two seven-a-side teams, the sport has grown greatly over the last 80 years. And 2014 is shaping up to be another big one.
With high quality senior teams, plenty of juniors action and a growing group of quality Women’s rugby players, Ruby Union has been able to carve out its niche as a fast paced, electrifying, hard hitting game capable of appealing to young and old alike.
With that said, its time to take a little look at the sport that we all love in a State where it has been continuously rucked and mauled, yet still powers on towards that try line.
We’ll start with a look at what happened during last season’s grand final, where there was a whole lot of fire, grit, blood and determination.
The match was closely contested the entire way, with the momentum shifting dramatically time and time again. While Brighton ran out the eventual winner by a final score of 22 – 19 over a very resilient Old Collegians squad, the game was probably even closer than that.
So what the season culminated in was another dominant performance from the Brighton Rugby Club, although it needs to be said that the gap between them and the rest of the competition does seem to be closing. With Old Collegians continuing to improve, and a number of underdogs persisting in upsetting the current order, it would be fair to say that this year’s title is anyone’s to win.
SA U20s Junior Falcons Exceed all Expectations
Late February saw South Australia host the Southern States Championship at Thebarton Oval. Featuring some of the best young talent in all of Australia, the competition was fierce. While the expected NSW and QLD teams definitely came to win, they were met with some unexpected resistance all competition long.
The first day saw a triumphant effort from the SA Junior Falcons who were down 25 to 0 at half time and managed a thrilling comeback in the second half, which culminated in a last minute try and conversion to lead QLD Country 33 to 32 and secure their first win of the Championship.
Next up for the Adelaide Junior Falcons was New South Wales country on day three of the comp. Despite NSWC leading through the second half, SA was able to scramble in a brilliant effort in the last minutes of the game to secure their second victory of the Championship, 24 to 22.
Unfortunately for the Junior Falcons, the final game of the Championship showcased the sheer force of Australian Capital Territory, who achieved a comprehensive, pushing the SA side down to second place.
Nonetheless, for our young guns to compete so ferociously with what was touted as much tougher competition is a credit to Rugby in South Australia. If these lads can hold together throughout the coming years, the future of the sport in SA is bright indeed.
Stay tuned for an in-depth look at how each club is looking this year, including all the big names that have been attracted to playing in South Australia.
And remember, support your club, bring your friends ands family out and get excited about your Saturdays again.