|Paul Ó Connell & Ireland training |
in picturesque Queenstown
But that was then and this is now. Several world cup's later and the innocence of amateur rugby has been well and truly shattered by the arrival of the professional era. So much has changed, even down to the jersey's they wear. No longer does the rugby jersey resemble a big winter wolly. They are tight fitting with some science behind them.The men are bigger, faster and stronger and if you're not physically able, then your not able full stop. One man who is most certainly up to the task is Brian Ó Driscoll who plays in his fourth World Cup which is a fantastic achievement when you consider the abuse he has taken down through the years.
Rugby is a great game and although so few people play it in Ireland, the country has seemed to always have a fondness for it. The statistics speak for themselves. The IRFU Annual Report for season 2006-2007 reported playing figures within Ireland as follows:
Adult Male Players: 21740
Women Players: 1756
Number of Secondary Schools Players: 23586
Number of Youth Players: 12472
Number of Mini Rugby Players: 10967
Primary School: 32209
TOTAL PLAYERS: 100974
|Ferris & Healy living the dream|
This world cup will be really interesting for many reasons. How will the All Blacks do on home turf? Who will be the shock team? Who will be the star players? How will teams deal with the inclement weather conditions and so on. Ireland should qualify from their pool if their form improves from the warm up matches. They face Australia in the second match and they look awesome.
On a more serious note, the start of the competition also sees my fantasy team come to the fore and I am confident my team can do a decent job this year around. http://irishtimes.fantasyleague.com/Team.aspx?p=1907
Here is a link to the RWC site. It is very interesting and has all the info on matches and teams so it will kepp you up to date on things. http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/index.html