How Long Does The Rugby World Cup Last Tri Nations Rugby – Team Profiles

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Tri Nations Rugby – Team Profiles

Here’s a look at World Rugby’s Big Three in terms of where they stand ahead of the Tri Nations 2010. Teams will also be keeping a close eye on the ongoing build-up to the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which adds to the pressure of this year’s Tri Nations.

Australian wallabies

Given the relatively low level of rugby union in Australia and the fact that much of the sporting talent gravitates towards rugby league or Australian rules football, it is a testament to the Australians’ fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude that they are so competitive in rugby union. Australia tend to favor an open running style of rugby, relying on quick, elusive defenders and good trickery to run rings around their opponents, which can be a lot of fun to watch. Teams that are successful against them tend to try to force them into a more structured, forward-oriented game in order to capitalize on what is perceived to be their main weakness: a lack of power in the front five, especially in the scrummaging department.

It’s something coach Robbie Deans is struggling to address ahead of the 2010 Tri Nations Championship and next year’s World Cup. After a summer of international competition against teams from the northern hemisphere, there are still many questions that this Tri Nations tournament could answer. If they can be more competitive going forward, you can feel that the core of this young team could lead the Wallabies forward for the next decade.

New Zealand All Blacks

Although the Kiwis are a relatively small nation, rugby is a religion in the Land of the Long White Cloud, meaning the sport enjoys a selection of sporting talent. Their ranks are further swelled by imports from various Polynesian islands whose inhabitants, both culturally and physically, seem born to play rugby. Arguably the team to beat for years to come, the All Blacks have perhaps the most balanced approach to the game, combining strong, shrewd running backs with tough, battle-hardened forwards capable of dominating most teams in world rugby. They represent an excellent prospect with a few obvious drawbacks.

Their Achilles’ heel seems to be their inability to win the most elusive of prizes: the World Cup (other than the inaugural tournament). Every year they seem to be the team to beat when they enter the competition, but somehow they fail to win, earning them the tag of “suffocators”. Maybe their problem is that they want it too much? Either way, one thing’s for sure, the Kiwi crowd will be dying for nothing less than a World Cup win on home soil next year – otherwise the players and staff can pack their bags and go play in the Heineken Cup!

However, there are no such problems in the Tri Nations – the All Blacks have dominated for years and will be looking to restore the natural order of things after a lackluster performance in last year’s tournament.

South African Springboks

In South Africa, rugby has traditionally been a white man’s game. But since the birth of the Rainbow Nation, more non-white players have joined the ranks. While this is still partly a political process rather than pure rugby development, the future looks bright for the Springboks if they can tap deeply into the local talent pool. The Springboks have traditionally played ’10-man’ rugby, built around a very powerful forward pack with kicking swing and the rest of the back line mainly in defence, but they have made progress in becoming more balanced in recent times – sometimes swinging too far, way – but lately the balance seems to be about right.

After a couple of very successful years, during which they won almost everything there was, their task is to continue to develop in order to stay ahead of everyone. Many of their stars are nearing the end of their playing careers and it remains to be seen whether a suitable replacement can be found to take up the mantle after next year’s World Cup. Depth doesn’t appear to be much of an issue at this point, but an injury or two at key positions could have a big impact.

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