Rugbystuff.com’s 2014 rugby review (July – December)
Yesterday we took a look at all the rugby action from the first half of 2014, and today we carry on where we left off...
Over half way into the year, and the codes switched from the XV aside to the VII! The Commonwealth Games came to Glasgow, and the Sevens were of huge interest to the city. A packed Ibrox Stadium was able to watch some of the best teams on the sevens circuit compete against one another for a gold medal. South Africa ran out eventual winners against the All Blacks. On the other side of the world, Nick Cummins had a fitting send off, scoring a try before he left for Japan.
The drama unfolded in August over in Australia. A nail biting Super Rugby finale finished with Waratahs edging out the Crusaders, whilst off the field, Kurtley Beale was finding himself in trouble time and time again. A text embargo surrounding Wallabies business manager, Di Patston. The scandal ended up with head coach Ewan McKenzie resigning alongside Patston, and Australian rugby was in ruins.
The month saw All Blacks win the Rugby Championship yet again with a victory over Argentina in South America. While the European leagues were back in full swing. Top competitors, Leicester Tigers had a torrid beginning, have over fifteen players injured and losing their first few matches.
The Rugby Championship was brought to an end in a classic match between the Wallabies and the All Blacks, and the official resignation of Ewan McKenzie. Waratahs winning coach, Michael Cheika was brought in, and saw his debut result in victory against the Barbarians the following month. Sam Burgess also ended his time in rugby league in heroic fashion, winningthe NRL Grand Final with the Rabbitoh's despite having fractured his cheekbone in the first minute. He would move to Bath and union just two weeks later!
The first games of the Autumn series began with only Ireland and Scotland impressing with victories over South Africa and Argentina. That was mostly the story of the following weeks too, with the Irish managing a clean sweep, and Scotland winning two from three, as well as pushing world champions, New Zealand, close. Wales and England eventually stuttered to wins following criticism. Controversial Aussie, Kurtley Beale also recieved a shock call-up to the national squad, even though he hand't paid his disciplinary fine. Another sad incident was the report of homophobic abuse to referee Nigel Owens, which is something we don't like to see in life, never mind rugby. At the end of the month, rugby fans were able to watch the much anticipated debut of cross-code league star Sam Burgess, as he made a brief appearance for Bath against Harlequins.
The end of the year seemed to be the time for Southern Hemisphere stars to announce their plans for future moves to Europe. Highest points scoring fly-half Dan Carter was revealed to the press, as he signed a 1 million a year deal with Racing Metro 92 of France. Wallabies, James Horwill and Adam Ashley-Cooper also revealed they would be travelling overseas after the 2015 Rugby World cup in England.
So there it is, a quick review of a hectic rugby year. It has set up 2015 perfectly, and leaves huge question marks as to who will come out victorious over the next 12 months. We certainly can't wait to see how it unfolds. Happy New Year everybody!
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