2011: Defining rugby moments

With 2012 literally hours away (Australian time), it’s got me thinking about the defining moments in rugby for 2011. Here is the list of what I consider to be the best and worst moments of the last 12 months.

The Best

1. St George Reds win the Super Rugby Grand Final

Reds celebrate winning the 2011 Super Rugby Championship

Reds - 2011 Super Rugby Champions

Having supported the Reds for a very long time, I can only tell you that when the final whistle blew at Suncorp Stadium, the atmosphere was absolutely brilliant!  Their story is that of fairy-tales….having gone from second last to champions in 2 seasons is absolutely amazing.  With so many great personal stories (check out Beau Robinson‘s story here), it was a dream come true for everyone!

2. Wallabies win the Tri-Nations after a 10 year drought

It has been difficult at times to be a supporter of the Wallabies and much to the delight of my friends hailing from New Zealand, our Trans-Tasman trophy cabinet has been rather empty of late.  Once again held at Suncorp Stadium, this was a game of epic proportions that was made all the more sweet when Radike Samo broke away to score his magnificent try!  With The Rugby Championship commencing next year, we can quite honestly say we were the last team to win Tri-Nations :)

3. All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup

After living with the title of chokers and being considered the team to beat heading into every RWC, the All Blacks had to win this one!  I was lucky enough to be in the stadium for the final (and party afterwards) so I can only tell you that there was a lot of relief and pride that night in Auckland.

4. The French team advance on the Haka in the Rugby World Cup (ridiculously fined by the IRB)

This gave me goosebumps when it happened! The crowd went crazy and really summed up the intensity of the match. 

5. Saracens win the Aviva Premiership

Yet another great win by one of the teams I support.  Having seen them lose to the Leicester Tigers the previous year in the Grand Final, it was absolutely fantastic to see them beat them this time around in a really tough match.  I only wish I could have been there!

The Worst

1. Unsportsmanlike crowds in New Zealand

I still can’t quite get over how disppointing the crowds were to the Wallabies and their supporters during the Rugby World Cup.  Yes I know we have a big rivalry but there really is no need to be so rude to the players and their fans.

2. England’s disgusting antics in New Zealand

How disgraceful this was (read my previous post about this).  From players getting caught with other women, to dwarf throwing and replacing match balls, 2011 is a year I’m sure most English rugby fans would like to forget.

3. IRB’s inconsistency in fines

The IRB need to sort themselves out and start issuing fines according to the infraction.  From Tuilagi being fined $10,000 for wearing the wrong mouthguard to England only being given a one match ban for cheating, surely they need to start looking at this to ensure their reputation doesn’t become like that of FIFA’s.

4. Quade Cooper’s performance in the RWC

Although he handled himself remarkabley well under all the abuse he suffered while in NZ, the player we saw in Super Rugby didn’t surface for the Wallabies during the World Cup.  He is the type of player that people love to hate so I say watch this space and bring on the 2015 RWC!

5. Manu Tuilagi’s fight with Chris Ashton

I love the game of rugby but I don’t like to see this sort of behaviour on the field.  Although some may say that Chris Aston may have had it coming, Tuilagi should have reigned in his temper and walked away.

What do you think were the best and worst moments of 2011?

About Irene Watt

Irene Watt is a rugby fanatic and marketing expert. Having played the game herself, she understands the passion that drives rugby players and enthusiasts alike. She has travelled the world and catches a game live whenever possible. Her favourite all time player is George Smith. Follow Irene on Twitter!

Comments

  1. 2 players come to mind for the best & worst memories of 2011.

    Berrick Barnes – having to see the agony on his face during the highlanders game in the apex of his “footballer’s migraine” saga was so painful to watch. Him taking an extended leave of absence and wondering if he’ll ever return was torture.

    His comeback for Sydney Uni was brilliant, then the best was yet to come, his man of the match effort in the Bronze final.

    Drew Mitchell – 23 April 2011 will never be forgotten for many. Not only did the Reds beat the Waratahs for the first time in 8 years but seeing Drew and his foot, the collision and having to be carted off screaming.

    How his determination to play for the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup was so inspiring. The 20 or so minutes he played for Randwick in his comeback game may of been quiet but he had be driven so much to make sure he got into that squad

    He suffered a cruel blow in the Russia game – and having to have more off season surgery on his foot I hope we see the best yet from him in 2012.

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