Professional rugby has changed over the years. What has remained constant though is the emergence of outstanding players that have wowed large audiences with their amazing performances. Be it Richie McCaw from New Zealand, Brian O’Driscoll from Ireland or Joost van der Westhuizen from South Africa, the game has seen many greats.
The sport dates back to the time of Greeks and Romans, who are known to have played and developed many ball games. However, the modern version of the sport developed in 1871 when English clubs joined together to form the Rugby Football Union (RFU). In 1892, with some changes in place, the Northern Rugby Football Union was formed. The Challenge Cup was established in 1897 and Batley became the first winners after beating Saint Helens, 10-3. Soon more tournaments began to be established, taking place in multiple countries as the popularity of the sport grew.
Today, rugby is a popular sport in multiple countries in first tier unions (Argentina, England, Australia, France, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Scotland and Wales) and second and third tier unions (Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Chile, Germany, Georgia, Japan, Kenya, Namibia, Peru, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Tonga, Spain, Samoa, Romania, Uruguay, Venezuela and the United States). With such widespread popularity of the sport, it comes as no surprise that rugby game tickets sell out rapidly, especially for the big tournaments.
The Big Names of Rugby
Rugby has given quite a lot of legendary athletes to the world of sports. Let’s take a look at how some of these amazing players have helped changed the course of the game.
Jonah Lomu: The New Zealand Rugby Union player, Jonah Lomu was the youngest ever All Black when he appeared for his first international game in 1994 at 19 years of age. Lomu is widely regarded as the first true global star of rugby and a player who had a major impact on the game. He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in October 2007 and in the IRB Hall of Fame in October 2011. His performance at the Rugby World Cup in 1995 helped establish him as a superstar. Lomu died at the age 40, after being diagnosed with a serious kidney disorder.
Richie McCaw: The 36-year old is a former New Zealand rugby player that captained the national team in 110 out of his 148 games. He is the most capped test rugby player of all time and has won the prestigious award for the World Rugby Player of the Year three times. He played mainly in the openside flanker positions and helped his team complete three successful Grand Slam tours and eight Bledisloe Cups.
Brian O’ Driscoll: The former Irish professional rugby union player captained his national team between 2003 and 2012. He has also captained the British and Irish Lions on their 2005 tour of New Zealand. O’ Driscoll has played 141 test matches and is the second most capped player in the history of the rugby union. He has scored 46 tries for Ireland and 1 for the Lions, setting a record to become the highest try scorer in Irish Rugby. He was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in November 2016.
Top Rugby Players in the US
USA has seen its fair share of legends in the world of rugby in the recent years. Let’s take a look at a few of these:
Carlin Isles: Known as the fastest rugby player in the world, Isles currently plays for the United States national rugby sevens team. The young player started his rugby career with the Gentlemen of Aspen RFC in Aspen, Colorado and caught the attention of rugby media in the summer of 2012. It wasn’t long before the player got noticed for his speed. He has played for the US national team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Chris Wyles: The American-British rugby union player represented the USA Eagles in three World Cups (2007, 2011 and 2015). He served as the captain of the USA Eagles in the 2015 World Cup. In the 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 seasons, he was the captain of the USA National Sevens team and in 2015, the star player was selected for the USA Olympics team to compete in the Rio Olympic Games.
Andrew Durutalo: Durutalo made his international debut playing for the Eagles in 2012, with games against Canada, Italy and Georgia. Building up from there, Durutalo has come a long way. The 29-year old was recently signed on to the Worchester Warriors. The hopes are high from the New York born Rugby player as he attempts to bring the premiership bottom club to a better position.
Rugby in 2018
For fans of the sport in the US, there is great news. The Rugby World Cup Sevens is coming to your country. The games will be played over July 20th till July 22nd at the AT&T Park. This is where you will get to watch the world’s top men and women Sevens athletes show some of their best skills in contention for the title of World Champions! You would not want to miss it. And if you are going with family, you would be happy to know that children under 24 months of age get in for free.
As far as the rugby internationals go, you have plenty of games coming up in the next year. Kicking off in February 2018, fans of the sport will get a chance to see the 2019 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers, and matches from the annual Six Nations Championships. The FIRA Championship games will start in mid-February 2018 and will give fans a chance to catch some of the most exciting action in the world of rugby. Rugby Championship 2018 matches will take place in August and September 2018.
Cheap Rugby Tickets
Cheap rugby tickets for upcoming major tournaments in 2018 might not be easy to find, given the popularity of the sport and demand of these tickets. But you are advised to check frequently for the latest updates here – you never know, you might just end up with an amazing deal on the tickets!