Great Global Rugby Stories

Wellington’s Westpac stadium
Source: Pixabay

Arguably the greatest and certainly the most successful international men’s rugby side of all-time, the All Blacks rugby team are an immense source of pride for New Zealand.

From their first Test match in 1903, the last 117 years have seen the All Blacks racking up the awards. Their renown reaches to all corners of the globe with remarkable Grand Slam successes in 1978, 2005, 2008 and 2010 as well as tallying up 3 Rugby World Cup titles in 1987, 2011 and 2015. They say ‘fortune favours the brave’. Well, this is certainly true of the impressive run of this incredible team who have managed to hold the number one spot in the World Rankings since its inception in 2003 for a remarkable 80% of the time. If you are a betting kind of bloke, with these stats, you could do worse than back the All Blacks and do your own Haka when they win. If there’s no match on, no worries – why not emulate these heroic men by playing one of the rugby-themed online pokies out there like Rugby Star? Play it where you normally watch the match at home or out and about like a sportsman in a pokies mobile casino!

The All Blacks instil the sort of epic mojo that makes you want to stand up, fill your lungs with air and roar with pride and joy. However, much as it might pain one to admit it, New Zealand’s national team are not the only rugby heroes in the world. Let’s take a look at some awe-inspiring rugby stories from around the globe!

Brave rugby spirit

A rugby stadium in Cape Town
Source: Pixabay

If there’s one thing that South African and Kiwi rugby players have in common in spades, it’s spirit, or “gees” as they call it in South Africa. The spirit or “gees” of rugby has been incarnated in a remarkable young man, Siya Kolisi, the Captain of the winning South African Rugby World Cup 2019 team, the Springboks.

Born in an impoverished township outside Port Elizabeth, the story of Kolisi’s remarkable journey to becoming the first black South African to captain a Springbok rugby team is one that has the markings of a legend and will be told for generations to come.

After winning a full scholarship to the prestigious private Grey High School where he excelled, he went on to join the SA schools team and received a contract to join the Western Province rugby union. Despite this incredible journey that ultimately saw him captain the victorious 2019 World Cup Springbok win, Siya’s true glory remains his humanity and connection to the roots that led him to adopt his two siblings whilst still in high school. It seems nothing is impossible in rugby if you put your mind to it. Just ask Lindsay Hilton, a quadriplegic, who plays for Halifax Towers in Canada.    Against all odds, Lindsay manages to play rugby against all odds with no arms and no legs. 

Maori magic on Irish soil

Player giving a thumbs up
Source: Pixabay

There are those moments in sporting history that will live in the hearts and minds of all those who witness them forever. When Ash Dixon, the Maori All Blacks captain, knelt in front of the crowd at Thomond Park in 2016 to lay a Maori All Blacks rugby shirt with the initials AF on, it was one of those moments. The gesture of sportsmanship was in honour of the recently deceased and much loved Munster coach, Anthony Foley.

Another one of these magical moments was after the intensely savage man-to-man 80 minute 2018 game between the All Blacks and the Irish team in Dublin’s Lansdowne Road, the oldest international rugby venue in the world. The final score of Ireland 16, All Blacks 9 was the first ever Irish win against the All Blacks on Irish soil in over 100 years of trying. With utmost respect, the players embraced each other after this epic battle when a magical moment was caught on camera between TJ Perenara, (who led the Haka), embracing the Kiwi-born, Irish centre, Bundee Aki. TJ later sent a beautiful tweet and photo to Bundee afterwards: “Nothing but love my brother @bundeeaki. Congrats to you and the team.” To which Bundee responded, “Looking forward to the next one bro @inphosports”.

The All Blacks captain, Kieran Read, was also called  “a class act and a role model’ by Irish rugby hero, Tony Ward, who said of Read in his newspaper column: “To see him exit the field last to depart and clapping the Irish crowd under the West stand was a sight to behold.” “A most appropriate end to the perfect day.”

Rugby betting and rugby rules

Rugby Ball on the centre line
Source: Pixabay

As with many of the world’s most popular sports, rugby betting provides additional entertainment to those keen to add an extra dimension to the already electric, physically intense game of rugby. There are literally hundreds of bet options from Head to head, Points start, Half-time/full-time double, Total match points, Total match tries and First try-scorer to name a few. Given that with every scrum and scrum, every drop-goal and every up-and-under radically affecting the odds, you’ll be as engaged for the full eighty minutes. Being a supporter is almost as exhausting as being a player! If you still need more rugby after the match, you could relax with one of your favourite rugby pokie games.

Of course, as with any form of sport, you have to follow the rules. There are rugby rules and there are rugby betting rules, both of which have to be maintained if the integrity of the game is to be preserved. World Rugby’s regulation 6.3.1 reads: “No connected person shall, directly or indirectly, bet and/or attempt to bet on the outcome or any aspect of any connected event and/or receive and/or attempt to receive part or all of the proceeds of any such bet and/or any other benefit in relation to a bet.”

This was made abundantly clear when Wales backs coach Rob Howley was sent home from the 2019 World Cup in Japan for an alleged breach of World Rugby’s laws covering betting and anti-corruption. To keep the game and the stories great, the mantra ‘a clean game is a good game’ applies.