ANY TOWN, USA – “USA! USA! USA!” And… “I believe that we will win!” Those chants still ring in my head and give me goosebumps! Congrats to the USA Men’s Soccer Team! They didn’t win against Belgium but they sure came close, and in so doing, converted many a casual soccer fan to a die-hard USA Soccer fan. The tenacity shown by all the players in going 120+ minutes versus an outstanding Belgium team was inspiring. It was really like watching a symphony of sport – the strategies employed, the spectacular guarding of the goal by Goalie and Man of the Match Tim Howard, and the fantastic support of the crowd for the teams. Well done, gentlemen!
Rugby players and fans hope to capture the heart of the nation as well, as our National Teams travel to their prospective Rugby World Cups in 2014 and 2015. These teams are hoping to hear lots of USA! USA! chants during their own matches and this fan certainly believes that they can win.
Up first… is the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 in Paris in August. Twelve teams in 3 pools are set to play, including inaugural WRWC 1991 winners Team USA. The Women’s Eagles will play in Pool B, competing against Ireland, Kazakhstan and defending champions New Zealand. Competition begins August 1, with pool play on the 1st, 5th and 9th. Semifinals are on August 13 with the Finals scheduled for August 17. For all Women’s RWC 2014 information, including the above info, schedules and scores, visit the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup site.
Here’s how the USA Women’s pool play will work:
Fri., Aug. 1
11:00 am EDT
FFR – Marcoussis Pitch 2
Tues., Aug. 5
7:00 am EDT
FFR – Marcoussis Pitch 2
Sat., Aug. 9
12:00 pm EDT
FFR – Marcoussis Pitch 1
The IRB site does not yet have direct viewing information but assures us that it will be forthcoming (keep checking back to the site Fan Zone). If you’re lucky enough to be in Paris during August, tickets are still available and are very reasonably priced. If you aren’t able to be in France to cheer loudly in person, consider hosting a viewing party at your home or business! Take clips of your crowd chanting “I believe that we will win!” and “USA! USA! USA!”, and post them on on our RWU Facebook page, as well as Twitter – #WRWC2014, @USAWomenEagles, @USARugby. Let these ladies know how much you appreciate their efforts!!
Through its Try-On Rugby Initiative, USA Rugby is striving to encourage girls’ and women’s rugby. It is up to the dedicated patrons of this great sport to cheer on our ladies at WRWC 2014 and introduce the sport to new fans and would-be players. The IRB has indicated its support for the Women’s Rugby World Cup and hopefully, we’ll get the television venues and/or live stream to help us support these great women’s teams. It’s tough to cheer on your mates when you have to “watch” the game via Twitter (doable, but not desirable).
Next year… Rugby World Cup 2015 in England! With the venues in place already (some being upgraded), England is good to go. Wales will also host matches at Millennium Stadium. (For all Rugby World Cup 2015 information, be sure to visit the RWC site.) Most of the 20-team field is determined, with only a few slots left to fill. The excitement is building as tickets go on sale September 2014… Christmas presents?
While looking into RWC 2015, as well as learning more about the FIFA World Cup, a couple of things stood out to me. I was astonished to learn how much money had been spent preparing for this year’s FIFA World Cup – approximately $14B by Brazil and an additional $4B by FIFA, according to this. While the matches, many at stadiums built specifically for 2014 FIFA World Cup (see above link), have been fantastic, that is a large chunk of change… England was awarded the Rugby World Cup 2015, with the British government promising a mere €25m ($43m). England’s RFU will pay €80m ($137m) for the opportunity to host RWU 2015, but will hope to recoup that cost through ticket sales, and maybe even make a little to boot.
What I also love about RWC 2015 is the history involved. The RWC 2015 website does a great job of telling the stories of the venues where the matches will be played, transforming them from mere brick-and-mortar into museums of rugby and sport memories. Using the interactive map on the RWC 2015 site, hover over a host stadium (indicated by a rugby ball), and you’ll see a photo of the stadium from a seat view. Click on the rugby ball, and you’ll be taken to a screen that provides the stadium’s history. Here are some very cool facts I learned from exploring this interactive map: Twickenham Stadium, host of the first match in pool play, is the “biggest dedicated rugby ground in the world” and has been hosting rugby matches since 1909. Another venue, Wembley Stadium, has also hosted a soccer World Cup final.
We’ve got 439 days from July 3 to cheer for our USA Men’s Eagles in RWC 2015 and about 120 days to cheer for them in the AIG USA vs New Zealand All Blacks test match in Chicago, but we’ve got less than 30 days to ramp up the volume for our USA Women’s Eagles in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014!
USA! USA! USA! I believe that we can win!
That’s it for now. Feel free to comment below, please look for and “Like” our FacebookRugby Wrap Up Page and follow us onTwitter@ :RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber,Nick Hall, James Harrington, Jamie Wall,Jaime Loyd, DJ Eberle, Cody Kuxmann,Karen Ritter, Jake Frechette and Declan Yeats, respectively.