By Tom Crosby
Four years ago Fran and I leaned across a table, a half-full pitcher of beer between us, and conjured up the idea of DeepSoutRugby.Net. We dreamed of the website as a vehicle to press passes to the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. The passes to the world cup never materialized, but in the intervening years we have covered a few rugby matches and sat in press boxes with professional journalists – and longed to be on the sidelines rowdily screaming the Eagles or Blue Jays to victory. Next year another rugby world cup rolls around. Tickets have been applied for and money tucked away for plane tickets and camper van. Soon we’ll start the dance to see if we can get a press packet, but when we land in New Zealand we’ll be comfortable to pull out our paid for tickets and find our seats in the stands and feel the atmosphere of the regular rugby fan at the greatest rugby tournament of them all.
Last summer DeepSouthRugby.Net took a road trip to Charleston to watch the Eagles defeat Canada in a World Cup qualifier and this summer we are off again to Harrison, New Jersey, to watch the final matches of the Churchill Cup on June 19th. The Eagles face Russia and England Saxons (England’s 2nd side) in their pool matches in Colorado. In the other pool Canada faces France A (France’s 2nd side) and Uruguay. There will be 3 matches in New Jersey on June 19th. The first, second, and third place teams from each pool will face-off against each other. The predictions are that the USA and Canada will face each other as the second place teams out of their pools on June 19th, but Russia is emerging as a rugby power to be reckoned with. They recently qualified for the 2011 World Cup and as of May 31st were ranked 19th in the world (1.6 rating points behind the USA’s 18th position). Russia is, also, in the same pool as the USA in the 2011 World Cup. They will face the Eagles on Sept. 15th, 2011, in what will be the USA’s best chance for their 3rd win in their 5 trips to a World Cup. The previous wins both came against Japan in 1987 (21-18) and 2003 (39-26). The winning try in the 1987 match was scored by former Baton Rouge player Gary Lambert. Hopefully there will be a great turn-out to watch the Churchill Cup matches. If the USA is to become a place to host international tournaments, we will have to show that fans support their national team.
Thanks to all who have contributed news to DeepSouthRugby.Net over the past year. Over the past 3 years we have evolved from a website trying to scam a few press passes to a website with the mission to record and archive the history of rugby in the Deep South. Be a part of history. Send any stories or news items to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers, Fran & Croz