By Trevor Cassidy
The last month has seen some interesting international matches! Ireland embarrassed by the All Blacks, Wales come heart-breakingly close to winning a Test in Australia, and England and South Africa conjuring up an exciting finale, if nothing else.
It also saw the USA U-20 team promoted to the IRB Junior World Championship next year after their win against Japan in the final of the Junior World Rugby Trophy.
I was fortunate enough to get a ticket and go watch South Africa U20 dethrone the Baby Blacks in this year’s IRB Junior Championship final. They did it in front of a crowd of 33,210 - the fact that that many people turned out for a U20 game is unreal, shattering the previous record. In no other country, other than possibly New Zealand, would you see that many people at a U20 final. I was totally in awe of the energy of the crowd and how passionately they watched the game, the Baby Boks did not fail to impress with a great performance, and seemed to feed off the energy of the Newlands crowd.
However, this past month also saw my team, Villager, edging closer to relegation with 3 more losses. Nothing too devastating, save the 9-try routing we received from the team that is leading the competition, but we lost 2 games that were totally within our grasp. It’s not a matter of not having a team incapable of winning, but rather not performing for the entire game. We have been performing in spurts really, with our best efforts coming through in the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game. I've been in teams like this before, with similar problems of not having a consistent performance and it all comes down to the players.
Some players play better when they are down and need to claw their way back to the winning spot, some players burn out after the first 40 minutes. We seem to be all over the place and firing at random times without a lot of provocation. This past Friday we fell to our oldest rivals Hamiltons, and it was the best first half performance we've shown of late and the best overall performance we've had in weeks.
There’s one thing I can honestly say about my teammates that I've learned since being here this season; they never give up. The amount of guts these guys show throughout the entire game, every game, even when we're down by two tries, is unreal. I've been in a few losing sides and usually they tended to be ok with mediocrity and comfortable with it, laying down towards the end of the game. But these guys, this team, never quits. No matter what happens, everyone pulls in and digs deeper to put everything they have into the game that we're losing. I've never experienced this on this level anywhere I've played, at least not to the same degree.
There's a lot of respect and pride in wearing the Village badge that I’m growing to realize more every time I pull on the white jersey, and every time realizing that relegation is just not an option. In all the years Villager Rugby Club has participated in the Super league A competition it has never been relegated to the B competition and it’s obvious that it cannot happen this year.
We have a mid-season break now until late August, save a couple of fixtures. But in August and September things get serious again, with a run of six games in six weeks: our last six games that determine our fate. It’s still in our hands.
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.