by Nigel Melville
Nigel Melville Direct
Yesterday I watched three very different games of rugby, we had the local ‘derby’ game between Fiji and Samoa followed by Ireland and Russia and then Scotland against Argentina. Its amazing how three games of rugby can be so different, one of the reasons rugby is such a special game and the Rugby World Cup is such a fantastic event.
The final game of the day was a bit of an epic, Scotland and Argentina both needed the win, it was a wet Wellington night and at around 60 minutes we were 6-3 to Scotland with both teams happy to be in the others half, nerves were creeping in and the referee looked like he may become the deciding factor – and guess what – it was New Zealand public enemy number one, Wayne Barnes…what drama would unfold.
Cards on the table, I wanted Scotland to win, Scotland Coach Andy Robinson came to watch us play Australia earlier in the week, excellent coach, great guy and he was obviously pretty tightly wound ahead of the game.
The cat and mouse continued for some time, then out of nowhere, Argentine replacement back Lucas Gonzalez produced an individual try beating four Scotland defenders to put the Pumas in front - an outstanding individual effort.
Scotland pushed forward, wave after wave of Scotland attack failed to cross the line, then a last minute drop goal was pushed wide of the posts and the clock stopped for Scotland. The Pumas euphoric, the Scots on their knees…
What followed summed up the day for me, both teams shook hands, clapped each other off the field and handled their post match interviews with grace and humility. The Russians, who fought like terriers against the Irish, were congratulated for their spirit by a relieved Irish captain, and the Samoan and Fiji players joined together in prayer after their game in a demonstration of solidarity and respect.
The digital society in which we live provides us with an opportunity to connect, but only on a superficial level, seeing the players yesterday making a real and sincere connection through rugby was a joy to watch.
In the USA, we are making huge strides promoting and growing the game to a whole new generation of rugby players. One of the important parts of this education process is to help them understand, share and benefit from unique spirit in which the game of rugby is played.
Thank you to the players and the supporters for keeping that spirit alive
With an impressive resume as player, coach and administrator, Nigel David Melville took over as CEO and President of Rugby Operations of USA Rugby, the National Governing Body of the sport in America, in 2006. In addition to his full time job promoting the sport in the U.S., Melville has launched his own blog, Nigel Melville Direct, to further the discussion and his passion for what it will take to make the U.S. a great rugby playing nation.
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