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.
1. St George Reds win the Super Rugby Grand Final
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!
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?