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Thread: North against South - rugby union's own version of the Ryder Cup

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    North against South - rugby union's own version of the Ryder Cup

    Some thoughts on a Northern Hemisphere vs Southern Hemisphere barbarian's match from Rob Kitson of the UK Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog...southern-match)

    It will probably never happen, but which players would feature if a Northern Hemisphere XV took on their Southern counterparts

    The Ryder Cup will soon be with us in all its pastel-slacked, absurdly partisan, you're-the-man glory. Not so long ago it was but a relatively low-key event in the golfing calendar; now there are pretty much dedicated 'WAG lanes' on the M4 to ferry the players' partners to and from Celtic Manor. Rugby union, always looking for ways to boost its global profile, can only gaze longingly at golf's sexiest format.

    The nearest oval-ball equivalent is the British and Irish Lions, whose teams generate massive interest for a relatively short space of time before dissolving into history overnight. Never again will Jamie Roberts and Brian O'Driscoll have the chance to dovetail to the same stunning effect as in South Africa in 2009. The closest thing to a direct Ryder Cup comparison - apart from the occasional Barbarians showpiece - came in 2005 when the Southern Hemisphere beat the North 54-19 at Twickenham to help raise money for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

    The details from that March day can be found at the bottom of this piece. It's fair to say the North, coached by Clive Woodward, were hardly the strongest combination from their hemisphere. "It is about as logical a connection as asking Gary Kasparov if being beaten at tiddlywinks would affect his next game of chess," opined the Guardian on the Monday morning, suggesting the game would have nil bearing on the subsequent 2005 Lions tour (on second thoughts, given the series outcome, maybe we were wrong).

    Five years on, nevertheless, there remain entrepreneurs out there who, given half a chance, would love to promote a north-south argument which really mattered. It'll probably never happen – the current fixture list barely allows time for existing tournaments, neither team would have more than a couple of training sessions in which to prepare – but let's say the selectors were meeting today. Forget all the European Tour rankings/wildcard complications: all we need are two optimum XVs (fitness notwithstanding) to square up for global supremacy in Cardiff this weekend.

    The arguments, in several positions, would make Colin Montgomerie run screaming across the Severn Bridge. Apologies are probably due to Juan Martín Hernández, Clément Poitrenaud, Brad Thorn and Bryan Habana, among others. But here's a team sheet (below) to be going on with. The result? You'd still have to go with the South, particularly if the Millennium Stadium roof were closed. When it comes to sudden-death matchplay, any team containing Dan Carter and Richie McCaw is going to take some beating. Or do you think otherwise?

    Global Challenge XVs

    Pride of the North Kearney; Bowe, O'Driscoll, Jauzion, Shane Williams; Wilkinson, Phillips; Jenkins, Servat, Castrogiovanni, O'Connell, Shaw, Dusautoir, Bergamasco, Harinordoquy.

    Kings of the South Muliana; O'Connor, Smith, Giteau, Tagicakibau; Carter, Du Preez; Woodcock, Mealamu, Hayman, Albacete, Sharpe, Fernandez-Lobbe, McCaw, Read.


    Back in March 2005, for the Rugby Aid Match the line-ups looked like this:

    North Paterson (Scotland; Tait (England 56); Mirco Bergamasco (Italy), Smith (England), Sweeney (Wales), Cohen (England; Taylor (Scotland, 72); Humphreys (Ireland), Cooper (Wales; Phillips (Wales 42); Yapp (Wales; Soulette (France 49-66), A Titterrell (England; Ibañez (France 55), Horsman (Worcester), Bortolami (Italy), O'Callaghan (Ireland), Dallaglio (England, capt), Sanderson (England; J Thomas (Wales 67), Taylor (Scotland; Miller (Ireland 47).

    Tries Titterrell, Sanderson, Bergamasco; Cons Humphreys, Sweeney.

    South Latham (Australia); Lima (Samoa; Rauluni (Fiji, 74), Fourie (South Africa), Umaga (New Zealand; Delport (South Africa, 22), Bobo (Fiji; Drahm (Northampton 67); Mehrtens (New Zealand), Gregan (Australia, capt); Hoeft (New Zealand), Smit (South Africa; Taukafa (Tonga 76), Visagie (South Africa; Guinazu (Argentina 75), Palepoi (Samoa; Mustchin (Ulster 77), Matfield (South Africa), Burger (South Africa), Waugh (Australia), Kefu (Australia; Sititi (Samoa 46).

    Tries Umaga, Lima, Latham 2, Burger, Sititi 2, Fourie; Cons Mehrtens 6, Latham.

    Referee P O'Brien (NZ)

    Attendance 40,246.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The 2005 match was obviously a quickly pulled together crowd-pleaser to raise money, but they did get some decent teams represented.

    The 2010 line-ups are also based more on the draw of the names rather than putting together purely the best teams. Always interesting to put together a fantasy line-up, though.

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    I like the pull names out of a hat trick...

    have a cut down list of good players, and put them all in a hat (or a hat per position) and pick from there, it would be impossible to pick a best-of-the-best team...

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    That tsunami match was a great game - especially the combinations from the south

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    I dont think there is really much purpose in such a match, already the calender is pretty busy, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland already have the British Lions, and the Barbarians matches already fills this kind of category and it has a strong history and tradition.

    The 2005 match wasnt taken seriously and many of players involved have said how it was purely a piss-trip for the most part.

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    Last edited by TOCC; 30-09-10 at 08:30.

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    Most baa baas matches are pretty much the same, or so I've heard
    I think the true value of such a match would be finance and ratings. That makes it equally as valid as a bled cup in hong kong
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    The British and Irish Lions struggle to beat any one of us down here. Take the best of us and even if you include France and Italy we would run up a cricket score.

    Given how boring it is for the two SH teams not playing the Lions in a Lions year I reckon they should make a France/Italy/Argentina team to tour the other two countries. Or bring back the Pacific Islanders. Whatever. I'm bored.

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    I dont agree with it, one off charity matches are ok, but implementing such a idea in the long term would IMO diminish the value of test matches even further
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    I don't see the issue if its only once every 4 years. Besides- you can't really diminish the value of test matches with Italy any more than they already are. There is also very little point (for Australia) in playing any of Fiji, Tonga or Samoa on there own.

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    i completely disagree, its essential that the larger nations continue to play countries like Italy, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga on a regular basis. Its the only way these countries will effectively develop, it would be incredibly selfish of the larger nations to turn there back on the smaller nations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOCC View Post

    The 2005 match wasnt taken seriously and many of players involved have said how it was purely a piss-trip for the most part.
    And the problem with that would be?



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    Quote Originally Posted by TOCC View Post
    i completely disagree, its essential that the larger nations continue to play countries like Italy, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga on a regular basis. Its the only way these countries will effectively develop, it would be incredibly selfish of the larger nations to turn there back on the smaller nations.
    I couldnt agree more TOCC - I would go as far as saying that it is the responsibility of the top tier nations to develop and improve the lower tier nations.

    Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, France, Wales, Scotland Ireland and Argentina should be sending out "A" Teams or Under 19 teams to every country that is apart of our "World in Union" and if our teams happen to leave behind a set of bump pads, training notes and Scrum Machine, and training dvds. Oops So Sorry, no no mate you keep them - would cost a fortune to put it in the post. Its part of the cost of bringing Union to the World.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOCC View Post
    i completely disagree, its essential that the larger nations continue to play countries like Italy, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga on a regular basis. Its the only way these countries will effectively develop, it would be incredibly selfish of the larger nations to turn there back on the smaller nations.
    That is what Australia A is for, with possible exception to Italy. Or should be for if it wasn't canned by the ARU. I'd say it was more essential that test matches are competitive and not a pre-determined outcome. I think the Pacific Islander team was a good concept- particularly when quite a few players who could actually do a good job representing Tonga, Samoa or Fiji choose not to and stay in the UK or France.

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    Italy is the exception because they have had years of international exposure now through the 6-Nations, the other teams could be equally competitive if they were to have the same exposure..

    The Pacific Islanders team was a decent proposal in theory, however the final product was not very good at all, the players hated it, these countries have blood feuds going back in history and here they were playing together. It made a massive loss and a large number of delegates from each country have vowed never to support it again.

    If Australia and the other larger nations are to treat the lower countries with spite and send our B Grade teams to play them, how can they ever be expected to be competitive in test matches or the RWC.. It also goes beyond that, it's a money issue as well, the smaller nations playing the larger nations is a money spinner as well, it's a vital source of income for the national unions.
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    It's a bit of a vicious cycle though because uncompetitive matches don't draw crowds and don't entice much from broadcasters.

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