Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


But if the same tendency is maintained ...
August 21, 2012 10:21 PM   Subscribe

With Rio hosting the 2016 Olympics, a series of ads for a little-known sport have appeared: Rugby: It Will Be Big In Brazil (Youtube) posted by the man of twists and turns (23 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hopefully New Zealand will have an opportunity to finally wrest the championship from reigning - since 1924 - Olympic rugby champs USA.

But it's sevens, not the conventional form of the game, so who knows - it's much more wide open. (For instance Wales haven't beaten New Zealand since 1953 in the normal game, but knocked New Zealand out of the 2009 sevens world cup in the first round.)
posted by The Monkey at 10:53 PM on August 21, 2012


Loved it.

"Guess where the greatest rugby player in the world was born?"
[someone whispers in his ear]
[without missing a beat] "Doesn't matter."
posted by Paragon at 10:56 PM on August 21, 2012


Clearly, Brazil wants a team in Rio to match the GB handball teams. Good luck with that!

(these are old, by the way.)
posted by salmacis at 12:08 AM on August 22, 2012


When I was in elementary school in California, a kid from Australia joined our school. During recess he showed us this game that involved throwing the ball and smashing into each other in big crowds, seemingly at random (at least the way we we did it), so of course we took to it like bees to honey.

The teachers tasked with watching over us were horrified watching kids banging heads and getting cuts. But we didn't mind and were having a blast. We told them "This is the national sport in his country! He's teaching it to us!" The teachers were torn between not wanting to insult the kid's country, and our learning experience, and watching us collide, and ended up letting us play, at least for a while.

It wasn't until many years later that I saw a rugby game on television and jumped up excitedly: "That's it! That's the game we were playing!" He had never told us what it was called.

It isn't so little-known now days, even in the US. (Apparently it was big in the US back in the 1920s, until it was removed from the Olympics in 1924.)
posted by eye of newt at 12:10 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


"France and New Zealand have never beaten Brazil in the South American championship".

Nice.

I'm conflicted about rugby being in the Olympics. On the one hand, it's a good chance for New Zealand (and, for that matter, Fiji) to win medals. On the other: it's not the proper form of the game, and the culture around sevens is that its a party first and a sporting event second.

The Monkey: I wonder what sort of a team the Brits will enter? They presumably can't enter as seperate countries, so they'd have to enter a sort of Lions team, but without the Republic of Ireland players. Could be a very strong team.

[If anyone's interested: Great Britain is one country at the Olympics, but for historical reasons competes as individual nations (England, Wales etc) in sports like soccer, rugby, cricket. Except England and Wales are one team in cricket. And Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are one team in rugby. And in rugby there's a super team made up of all of them, including the Republic of Ireland, called the Lions, who go on tour every few years.]

On preview: Eye of Newt, are you sure he wasn't trying to show you Australian Rules? That's somewhat different from rugby, and a lot more chaotic.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:12 AM on August 22, 2012


Little-known? Compared to what - baseball? Basketball?

Just cause you don't play it in North America doesn't make it little-known.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:43 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Part of the fun is that the guy is so blatantly upper-class (and white). Rugby, in South America, is very much a rich people's game, even in those countries where it's relatively widespread, like Argentina and Uruguay.
posted by Skeptic at 1:49 AM on August 22, 2012


a little-known sport

Heh.

But it's sevens, not the conventional form of the game, so who knows - it's much more wide open.

And much more exciting to watch. The Rugby club where I grew up used to host a sevens tournament - I could never quite work out the rationale behind the tournament, so you'd get to watch bizarre matches between, eg., Sale Sharks and the Western Samoan national team.

On preview: Eye of Newt, are you sure he wasn't trying to show you Australian Rules? That's somewhat different from rugby, and a lot more chaotic.

Eye of Newt mentions throwing the ball, which isn't allowed in Aussie rules (one of the few things that aren't allowed, as far as I can tell!). I suspect the Australian kid invented his own ultraviolent hybrid ball game and chuckles about fooling an entire American school into playing his 'national sport' to this day.
posted by jack_mo at 1:56 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rugby union is one of the minor sports in Rio

The large size of the country, plus the lack of infrastructure in many parts has hindered development of the game, and it remains mainly centred on the east coast

In spite of its popularity, it is only played in 21 of Brazil’s 26 states. The national rugby union team has yet to qualify for a Rugby World Cup.

I don't really know how I could have made the 'in Brazil' part more clear.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:05 AM on August 22, 2012


If anyone's interested: Great Britain is one country at the Olympics, but for historical reasons competes as individual nations (England, Wales etc) in sports like soccer, rugby, cricket.

Actually this year there was a GB football (soccer) team at the Olympics, although if I recall correctly there were only English and Welsh players on it for some reason.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:06 AM on August 22, 2012


That's quite right, but typically they don't compete at the Olympics at all, for that reason. They only had a GB team this time because they were hosting the thing. The Scots refused to take part (because they feared it would set a precedent that would lead to the elimination of the Scottish national team from soccer in general). They aren't planning to compete at Rio. [Sorry for soccer derail]
posted by Infinite Jest at 2:24 AM on August 22, 2012


[Comment deleted; let's drop the snark about "little known." OP has clarified: little know in Brazil.]
posted by taz at 4:10 AM on August 22, 2012


Actually this year there was a GB football (soccer) team at the Olympics, although if I recall correctly there were only English and Welsh players on it for some reason.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:06 AM on August 22


Football is one of the rare instances of "If it is Scottish, it's crap." :-)
posted by Decani at 4:25 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm conflicted about rugby being in the Olympics. On the one hand, it's a good chance for New Zealand (and, for that matter, Fiji) to win medals. On the other: it's not the proper form of the game, and the culture around sevens is that its a party first and a sporting event second

I think as far as an Olympic sport goes, sevens is the best choice for rugby. The games last around 15 minutes each instead of the standard 80 minutes, which makes a huge difference in terms of being able to show games on TV and whatnot. There's a lot more parity between teams (partially because countries like New Zealand move their best sevens players to the 15-a-side version), so a country with good athletes can have a shot (the USA sometimes recruits American Football player washouts for their team). Plus it's just plain exciting to watch, rugby itself is a fast-paced game and sevens takes that up a notch, it's all of the sprinting for the try line and last minute tackles without any of the tactical kicking and other aspects that slow down the 15-man version. Rugby is already popular in the places where it's popular, I think the Olympics version will have the possibility of making it popular in even more countries.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:08 AM on August 22, 2012


Also, the rugby world cup in 2011 had 20 nations, and took six weeks! Olympic rugby union would be the longest series of matches in the Games, and also have to accommodate what, six teams at most?

Sevens is a tournament format, much better for a two week long Games.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:14 AM on August 22, 2012


[If anyone's interested: Great Britain is one country at the Olympics, but for historical reasons competes as individual nations (England, Wales etc) in sports like soccer, rugby, cricket. Except England and Wales are one team in cricket. And Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are one team in rugby. And in rugby there's a super team made up of all of them, including the Republic of Ireland, called the Lions, who go on tour every few years.]

That Voltron joke writes itself. Carry on.
posted by ersatz at 5:19 AM on August 22, 2012


The real question about the Rio Olympics is whether they'll let Duran Duran do the theme song.
posted by permafrost at 6:21 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does that Rugby format have the same power to solve racism?
posted by VTX at 6:39 AM on August 22, 2012


If it's sevens, I can root for my favourite team and not have losing be a foregone conclusion! Yes! GO FIJI!
posted by Dysk at 6:57 AM on August 22, 2012


Does anyone else think it's strange that they'll be holding the summer Olympics during the winter in Brazil?
posted by sixpack at 9:59 AM on August 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rugby 7s is a great game for a tournament. I'm very much looking forward to it. At the '06 commonwealth games we got to watch about a dozen games in one day.

On the nationalities thing, the IRFU (Irish Rugby Union) is all-Ireland (includes Northern Ireland) so a northern Ireland player will play for Ireland even though eligible for GB.

Who will play for the sevens team from the national teams is an interesting question. While teh games are different they're still highly interchangeable, and skilled fast backs are prized. Will James O'Connor or David Pocock (for example) give up a season of the proper game for the chance at Olympic gold? What about Australian Rugby league players? If Cooper Cronk lines up in the gold jersey, we'll be going home with gold.
posted by wilful at 7:27 PM on August 22, 2012


Does anyone else think it's strange that they'll be holding the summer Olympics during the winter in Brazil?

Melbourne (1956) and Sydney (2000) hosted Summer Olympics when it wasn't summer in the southern hemisphere. At least with Brazil, part of the country is north of the equator, so even without the balmy temperature, it'd still not be far from the truth.
posted by Metro Gnome at 3:39 AM on August 23, 2012


Also, the rugby world cup in 2011 had 20 nations, and took six weeks! Olympic rugby union would be the longest series of matches in the Games

Yeah, I wouldn't like to see the 15-a-side game in the Olympics, for that reason. Can't see a way round it except maybe limit it to 8 teams in two groups of 4, and go straight to the final, which would mean you could play 3 group games and a final and 3rd place playoff, and get it done in three weeks. But really, it wouldn't be feasible.

From a technical point of view sevens will work at the Olympics, they can and do have a full tournament in two days and its an easy game for viewers to understand. But it's so one-dimensional compared to proper rugby....personally I wouldn't have either version, or football for that matter. I'd rather keep the Olympics as the pinnacle of each sport that's played there, which clearly isn't the case for rugby or football.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:10 PM on August 24, 2012


« Older Moe Howard on the Mike Douglas show: Niagra With...   |   Computer modeling, along with ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments