The BEST and WORST eras for rugby entertainment

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Post by RDW on Thu 26 Mar - 21:57

So with no sport on the TV in Australia they have been showing re-runs of old Tri Nations and Super Rugby games. It's been great as I've been able to watch games from the 80s and 90s that I have never seen before

The thing is, and this may sound sacrilegious, I didn't overly enjoy a lot of the games from the 1980s and early 90s! Yes there were some ridiculous breakaway tries and open field running but the quality of the game was terrible.

Last night was Australia v New Zealand in 1986 and there was literally a knock on every 30s, the ball was regularly spilled in tackles, rucks were a shambles with entire packs of forwards just flopping on top, lineouts were a complete lottery, there must have been 20 penalties each for various random reasons and the all round skill level was pretty terrible with some comical kicking (appreciating the ball probably weighed 20kg).

Conversely I loved some of the early 00s games, with John Eales' final test been an absolute cracker in 2001 - Australia had a hell of a summer beating the Lions and winning the Tri Nations.

The period around the 2007 world cup was pretty dreadful with SA kicking their way to a WC win.

Personally I really liked the 2011-2015 where attacking rugby returned, and some of the All Blacks displays were just outrageous.

So my question is, what are your favourite and least favourite eras of rugby in terms of entertainment? I'm particularly interested in the older posters take on things!

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Post by Old Man on Fri 27 Mar - 1:49

Well in my view the general perception around the 2007 RWC is unjustified.

South Africa convincingly went through their pool rounds beating England 36-0, Samoa 59-7, USA 64-15 and Tonga 30-25.

Fiji was a bit of a banana peel, yet when Jake brought on his experienced players SA puller away and won 37-20.

Argentina was taken down easily and then the infamous win against England.

Some stats from the 2003 England win vs the 2007 South African win. For good measure I will add the 2011 RWC NZ stats as well.

Tries scored and conceded by the champions during the knock out phases and final.

2003 England 2-4
2007 SA 9-3
2011 NZ 4-2

Penalty goals converted vs conceded in the knock out phases andfinal.

2003 England 15-4
2007 SA 10-6
2011 NZ 12-3

Drop goals converted vs conceded in the knock out phases and final
2003 England 5-0
2007 SA 0-0
2011 NZ 1-1

I get there was a lot of disappointment in 2007, the big guns were eliminated in the QF’s, the common perception is SA had an easy ride. Everyone and his dog has criticised the 2007 RWC, some believing the credibility of that RWC is tainted because NZ and Australia weren’t there in the end.

The game plan that SA used during the 2007 RWC was extremely effective during that period, bringing SA their only three Super Rugby titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

The Bulls dominated Super Rugby during that period with that template, yet scored boat loads of tries.

In 2010 Trinations the All Blacks changed their selection policies due to that game, improved their skills and tactical kicking due to that Springbok game plan, became a team who has dominated world rugby by becoming a team that adapted to a tactical kicking team who often kick more than their opponents during a match.

I can’t remember much of the 2003 RWC due to our own dour performance, but England's progress during that time and their dominance in the previous years weren’t dissimilar to SA.

Looking at 2011, the All Blacks did not have it their own way, I still believe had SA won the QF vs Australia we would have stood a chance of beating NZ. That was for me the worst RWC tournament.

As far as questions go around finals the 2011 has as many as the 2007 kicking fest, for different reasons, questions nonetheless.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 27 Mar - 6:32

Too often best and worst will correlate with how our teams did. Before 1980 my winter weekends were spent watching my dad play, then starting to play myself. I clearly remember the 1980 GS and perhaps thought England were good. The period from there to Geoff Cooke coming in showed me they were not. The chopping and changing in section was shocking.

By 2000 I had stopped playing, and the years that followed were the best for me. European adventures with Tigers, spills thrills, euphoria and despair with England. Sadly by RWC 2003 we were hanging on by our fingertips and just crawled over the line.

The rest of that decade was a washout.

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Post by Soul Requiem on Fri 27 Mar - 8:00

2007 is the worst world cup I can remember, that England got to the final with what was in effect 8 players sums that up.

The big difference between the SA team that year and England in 2003 was the ability of the backs, yes the latter relied on the forward pack but in Wilkinson, Greenwood and Robinson had backs capable of a bit magic when needed.

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Post by kingraf on Fri 27 Mar - 8:04

Soul Requiem wrote:2007 is the worst world cup I can remember, that England got to the final with what was in effect 8 players sums that up.

The big difference between the SA team that year and England in 2003 was the ability of the backs, yes the latter relied on the forward pack but in Wilkinson, Greenwood and Robinson had backs capable of a bit magic when needed.

Guess they weren't needed that often what with two whole tries in the knockouts
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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 27 Mar - 8:36

I cannot decide whether the 2007 or 1987 teams were the worst we have sent to a WC.

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 27 Mar - 9:45

kingraf wrote:
Soul Requiem wrote:2007 is the worst world cup I can remember, that England got to the final with what was in effect 8 players sums that up.

The big difference between the SA team that year and England in 2003 was the ability of the backs, yes the latter relied on the forward pack but in Wilkinson, Greenwood and Robinson had backs capable of a bit magic when needed.

Guess they weren't needed that often what with two whole tries in the knockouts

Yeah never forget Wales were moral victors right

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Post by kingraf on Fri 27 Mar - 10:46

Gooseberry wrote:
kingraf wrote:
Soul Requiem wrote:2007 is the worst world cup I can remember, that England got to the final with what was in effect 8 players sums that up.

The big difference between the SA team that year and England in 2003 was the ability of the backs, yes the latter relied on the forward pack but in Wilkinson, Greenwood and Robinson had backs capable of a bit magic when needed.

Guess they weren't needed that often what with two whole tries in the knockouts

Yeah never forget Wales were moral victors right

I'm just saying giving a team the edge because they were capable of producing magic is crazy when they literally never produced this magic in the big games (excluding Jonny dropping it with his weaker foot, I guess)
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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 27 Mar - 10:53

The 2003 England team was about two years past its peak. By the time the knockout stages came around, they were pragmatic more than anything else. Match v France the best example of this.

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Post by kingraf on Fri 27 Mar - 11:00

I enjoyed the 2011-2015 period of rugby more than any other personally. I thought the 2014(?) New Zealand side was the best damn team I've ever seen, and maybe the best sports side in history (which is not provable and thus not debatable).

Our (South Africa) 2019 vintage was a solid side, and we peaked well and you could, I guess argue that from a defensive perspective it was an all time great team, but holy Poopie was it boring.
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Post by Old Man on Fri 27 Mar - 11:16

kingraf wrote:I enjoyed the 2011-2015 period of rugby more than any other personally. I thought the 2014(?) New Zealand side was the best damn team I've ever seen, and maybe the best sports side in history (which is not provable and thus not debatable).

Our (South Africa) 2019 vintage was a solid side, and we peaked well and you could, I guess argue that from a defensive perspective it was an all time great team, but holy Poopie was it boring.

Are you suggesting the semi final vs Wales was boring or the whole tournament?

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Post by The Oracle on Sat 28 Mar - 20:56

Gooseberry wrote:
kingraf wrote:
Soul Requiem wrote:2007 is the worst world cup I can remember, that England got to the final with what was in effect 8 players sums that up.

The big difference between the SA team that year and England in 2003 was the ability of the backs, yes the latter relied on the forward pack but in Wilkinson, Greenwood and Robinson had backs capable of a bit magic when needed.

Guess they weren't needed that often what with two whole tries in the knockouts

Yeah never forget Wales were moral victors right

Why bring us into this? What a douche bag comment!
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