Team USA Eagle 7s star Matthew “Polar Bear” Hawkins contributes weekly every Thursday, technology permitting, right here on Rugby Wrap Up.
SAN DIEGO, CA – As we all gather around the fire place in the Northern hemisphere singing carols and having a little eggnog, it dawns upon you that the year that has past was a huge year with many ups and downs in the rugby world.
The World Cup was a momentous occasion. It showcased some of the best talent in the world, both at the top end of the game and amongst the lower-ranked players. The fact that the winning points were struck by a New Zealand player many fans have forgotten about and written off, is a true testament to how special this game is. (We haven’t forgotten you, Stephen Donald)…
A special mention has to go to all those players that have left the international stage and have given way to the next generation. Most notably I believe are Shane Williams and Victor Matfield, who have given their country and the game so much over the years.
The Lions of South Africa were a side that showed that with leadership and a belief the pie-in-the-sky dream is only as far away as you want it to be. There displays in both the semi final and the final of the Currie Cup, were truly sublime.
Shifting to sevens, a true star was born in the form of Cecil Afrika and he was acknowledged for his achievements by being awarded the Player 0f the Year… The end of the year has already seen the start of a new HSBC World Series which was kicked off for the first time on the Gold Coast. It was a great experience and Fiji took the crown there, but the following two tournaments in Dubai and Port Elizabeth saw two different sides rise to be crowned, England and New Zealand, respectively.
In looking back, I think it is really easy as someone who is involved in rugby day in and day out and for the Joe Soap on the outside to realize what a special year it has been, but also what great potential there still is and how limitless the possibilities are.
I look forward to checking in with everyone after the post-Christmas and Holiday celebrations and letting you all know whether my friends and family believed I was naughty or nice.
Please leave your thoughts below and be sure to check in with Phaidra Knight, tomorrow.