Tournament Odds 5,000 : 1

The Eagles (aka the US team at the Rugby World Cup) socked it to the British side: UK 28 / 10 USA. That would be the equivalent of a bushman shooting down a fighter jet with a blowgun. Well, nearly.

The US rugby team is currently ranked 15th on the world scene, just below Tonga and just above Romania. This is a far step up from the 30s rankings of a few years ago, but is still nowhere near the elite levels of the top eight. For an example of that level of talent see England (rank # 7).

England, as with all the top teams, fields a squad of professionals, some of them with million dollar contracts. The US on the other hand can boast only a handful of professionals with the majority of the squad filled out by weekend warriors with day jobs or college students. It was found out before the tournament that seven of the US players had to quit their jobs in order to play in the World Cup.

So it was easy to see why England viewed this match as a warm up before the actual tournament. By the end, though the score belied the emotional result, the US was seen as the winners of the game and the British press was reacting as if to Bunker Hill II.

So, soar, Eagles. You are on the right track. Congratulations and we’ll all be watching you against Tonga this week.


My Favorite Month of Rugby

Irish Rugby

We’ve been subscribing to Setanta Sports through DirectTV for a year now. They air all the Rugby that’s fit to watch, including Magner’s League, Premiership and Super 14. All very high level and watchable at times, but this time of year is the time for the very best: Heineken Cup and Six Nations.

After watching the Heineken Cup drama of 2006 with both Leinster and Munster going for the cup vs. the best of English and French Rugby, I was hooked. Seeing these teams fight it out in the Magner’s League paled in comparison. Both teams are still in it this year, but not favored. I’m beginning to appreciate the Llanelli (Wales) Scarlets after watching them dominate Ulster and London Irish.

This month the Heineken Cup takes a break for Six Nations Rugby. This is the year for Irish Rugby fans. 2006 was slightly satisfying, with Ireland taking the Triple Crown (wins over England, Scotland and Wales). This year should see them seal the deal over France. The best Irish players are at their peak: O’Gara, O’Driscoll, O’Connell. Oh my.

England is falling back on some old geezers, trying to capture the faded glory of 2003 and Jonny fever. Good luck with that. France is dropping out of the race, despite all their brilliance last year. The big test for Ireland will be this weekend vs. Wales. Thank goodness for Tivo.