My interest for non-traditional variants of football started when I found an illustrated book in our elementary school library on the 1990 championship season of New York Giants, when they beat Buffallo Bills 19-20 in the super Bowl. Then bing the obsessive type that I am, I tried to follow other forms whenever I got a chance.
The toughest being the Australian Rules Football, most fun to watch being the Gaelic Football, the fastest and one needing most tactical skills being the American Football, Rugby has always appeared to me the one requiring most strength, courage, and stamina. Despite its extreme contact sport nature, it also the most "gentleman" sport of all. The amount of respect the players show to the referee makes traditional football -soccer- look like a nursery school birthday party. The referee talks only to the captains of the team, and other players, if they bitch about referee's decisions can be expelled from the game. Like Gaelic Football Rugby has strong roots in amateurism, which has saved the sport from the evils of industrialization, and celebrity-cult associated with mediocre talents such as David Beckham. English Rugby has been played professionally only since 1987, with strict players wage caps. The only true professional league in the world is the French premiere rugby league.
In the light of the amateurism-professionalism dilemna, it was great to see England beat France in their home arena in the semifinals of Rugby World Cup. What was a greater news was that Argentina, who lacks a professional rugby league reached the semi-finals. They faced South Africa, who are professionals, in the semis. The game was fought by equal powers, Argentina was really aggressive and wanted to win the game. However lack of experience lead to two tries by South Africa, when the gave away the ball on the attack to them. Then there was no way throught the South African wall of defense. So the final is named, South Africa vs. England. I will be cheering for the English next Saturday.
I'll finish up this entry with a video from the greatest rugby player I watched, Jonah Lomu from New Zealand... It is simply incredible.