Portal:Rugby union/Selected article

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Articles of the month

These are current selected articles. For future ones see the talk page


The All Blacks performing a haka prior to a Test against France in 2006.
France and New Zealand's national teams have been playing each other in Test rugby union since 1906. New Zealand's team, known as the All Blacks, won the first Test between the countries 38–8 on 1 January 1906. This was also France's first ever Test. They played again in 1924, and then in 1954. The 1954 match was won 3–0 by France and was their first victory over the All Blacks. France first toured New Zealand in 1961 — before any of the Home Nations — and the All Blacks won all three Tests.

Overall the All Blacks have won 34 Tests, France 11, with one drawn. The highest victory between the countries was achieved when the All Blacks won 61–10 at Westpac Stadium in 2007. The most career points scored by members of either team is 92 by Andrew Mehrtens; he also holds the record for points in one match with 29.(More...)


Matt Damon who plays François Pienaar

Invictus is a 2009 biographical drama film based on Nelson Mandela's life during the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the film stars Morgan Freeman as South African President Mandela, and Matt Damon (pictured) as François Pienaar, the South African captain. The story is based on the John Carlin book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Changed a Nation.

While Mandela attends a game of the Springboks, the country's rugby union team. Blacks in the stadium cheer against their home squad, as the Springboks (their history, players and even their colours) represent prejudice and apartheid in their mind. Knowing that South Africa is set to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup in one year's time, Mandela convinces the South African rugby board to keep the Springbok team, name and colours the same. He then meets with Springboks captain François Pienaar (Matt Damon). Though Mandela never verbalizes his true meaning during their meeting, Pienaar understands the message below the surface: if the Springboks can gain the support of black South Africans and succeed in the upcoming World Cup, the country will be unified and inspired. Mandela also shares with Pienaar that a poem, Invictus, had been inspiring to him during his time in prison, helping him to "stand when all he wanted to do was lie down". (More...)


Bill McLaren (16 October 1923 – 19 January 2010) was a Scottish rugby union commentator. Until his retirement in 2002, he was known as 'the voice of rugby'. McLaren's journalistic career started as a junior reporter with the Hawick Express. In 1953, he made his national debut for BBC Radio, covering Scotland's 12–0 loss to Wales, a start of a broadcasting career that lasted nearly half a century. Renowned throughout the sport, his enthusiasm and a memorable turn of phrase endeared him to many. Recognition of his services came in November 2001, when he became the first non-international to be inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame. (More...)


Argentina (blue) playing England (white) at Twickenham.
Rugby union is a popular team sport played in Argentina. The first rugby match played in the country dates back to 1873, as the game was introduced by the British. The Argentina national team, sometimes referred to as the Pumas, have competed at the Rugby World Cup, and are considered a tier one nation by the IRB. In more recent times, the governing body in Argentina has been the subject of controversy, leading to a strike in 2006 which threatened scheduled tests against Wales and the All Blacks. The national team has competed at the Rugby World Cup and made it as far as the quarter finals. (More...)


The Stade de France is the national stadium of France, situated in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. It has an all-seater capacity of 81,338 and is used for the French rugby union team during the Six Nations and other major internationals. The French football team also use the stadium for almost every home game, and it was there where they defeated Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final. Paris's main rugby club, Stade Français, periodically use the stadium as a home ground for some major matches. The stadium hasalso been used for Heineken Cup matches.


The Top 14 is a professional rugby union club competition played throughout France. The Top 14 is the top competition of the national league system of Ligue Nationale de Rugby. There is promotion and relegation between the Top 14 and the next competition down, the Rugby Pro D2. Currently there are 14 teams in the competition, though the competition was previously known as the Top 16, with 16 clubs. The first ever final took place in 1892, between two Paris-based sides, Stade Français and Racing Club, with the latter becoming the inaugural champions. The competition has been held on an annual basis since, with the exception being between 1915 and 1919 due to World War I. The current champions are Biarritz Olympique. (More...)


Cardiff Arms Park and Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.

Cardiff Arms Park (Welsh: Parc yr Arfau Caerdydd), also known as The Arms Park, is a rugby union stadium situated in the centre of Cardiff, Wales. The history of the rugby ground starts with the first stands appearing for spectators in the ground in 1881–1882, although the Arms Park had cricket played on the site since 1848. It is today the home to two rugby union teams, the Cardiff Blues and Cardiff Rugby Football Club. The rugby ground was host to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958 and home to Cardiff RFC and the Wales national rugby union team. From 1970, the site had two rugby union stadiums: the Cardiff Rugby Ground, which had replaced the cricket ground, and the National Stadium. The National Stadium was home to the Wales national rugby union team and it was officially opened on 7 April 1984, however by 1999 the Millennium Stadium had replaced it as the national stadium of Wales. The Cardiff Rugby Ground has remained the home of Cardiff RFC, yet the future of the rugby stadium is in doubt, with the announcement in 2007 that the Cardiff Blues will be moving to the new Cardiff City stadium in August 2009.


The Stormers team during a 2006 Super 14 match.
The Stormers, for sponsorship reasons referred to as Vodacom Stormers, are a South African rugby union team competing in the Super Rugby competition (formerly Super 12). They have never reached the final of the Super 12 competition, having been eliminated in the semi-finals in their best two years, 1999 and 2004.

They are based in Cape Town and centred around the Western Province union, but also draw players from the Boland Cavaliers (covering the Cape Winelands and West Coast districts, with home matches in Wellington). Prior to 1998, South Africa did not use a franchise system for the Super 12, instead sending the top four unions from its domestic competition, the Currie Cup, into the Super 12. In 1996, the Stormers qualified and competed in the Super 12 as Western Province. In 1997, they did not qualify, the fourth South African team being the Orange Free State (now the Free State Cheetahs at Currie Cup level. (More...)


France (in blue) playing Wales in the 2007 Six Nations Championship.
The France national rugby union team is a national sporting side that represents France in rugby union. They compete annually against England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations Championship. They have won the championship outright on fourteen occasions, shared in another eight titles and completing eight grand slams.

Rugby was introduced to France in 1872 by the British, and on New Year's Day, 1906 the national side played its first Test match—against New Zealand in Paris. France played sporadically against the British Home Nations until they joined them to form a Five Nations tournament (today, the Six Nations Championship) in 1910. France came of age during the 1950s and 1960s, winning their first of many Five Nations titles. They won their first Grand Slam in 1968, and won numerous titles in the following years. Since the inaugural World Cup in 1987, France have qualified for the knock-out stage of every tournament and reached the final twice. They were runners-up to the All Blacks in 1987 and to Australia in 1999. France are the host nation for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. (More...)


Stade Français vs Stade toulousain which took place in Stade de France, Paris.

Stade Français CASG Paris is a French rugby union club that plays in the 16th arrondissement of Paris at Stade Jean-Bouin, across the road from Parc des Princes. It currently competes in the top level of the Ligue Nationale de Rugby ( LNR Rugby TOP 14). The club was founded in its current form in 1995 with the merger of the rugby sections of the Stade français and CASG sports clubs. They normally play at Stade Jean-Bouin (capacity 12,000), although they drew nearly 80,000 at Stade de France for two separate 2005-06 home matches, first against Toulouse and then Biarritz. Both Stade de France fixtures broke the all-time attendance record for a regular-season French league match in any sport. (More...)


Michael Owen takes a line-out

The Wales national rugby union team represent Wales in international rugby union. They compete in the Rugby World Cup and annually in the Six Nations Championship. They are governed by the Welsh rugby union, and first played in 1881 against England.

Wales have won the Six Nations 23 times, second only to England, the last being in 2005. Their best result in the Rugby World Cup is third, which they achieved in 1987. They also hosted the 1999 Rugby World Cup. The International Rugby Board (IRB) regard Wales as a Tier One rugby nation. In particular, several Welsh players of the 1970s are acknowledged as some of the best in the game's history. Although several poor results in the late 1980s and 1990s hurt the team’s reputation, a resurgence in form in the 2000s and a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2005 has helped reverse that. Due to this success, Wales became the first team ever to win the Grand Slam while playing more matches away than at home. (More...)


A scrum in an England versus Scotland international.

A scrum in rugby union is a means of restarting play after a minor infringement. It involves eight players from each team, known as the pack or forward pack, binding together in three rows and interlocking with the opposing teams forwards. At this point the ball is fed into the gap between the two forward packs and they both compete for the ball to win possession. Teams can be penalised for intentionally causing the scrum to collapse, and for not putting the ball into the scrum correctly. A scrum is most commonly awarded when the ball is knocked forward, or passed forward, or when a ball becomes trapped in a ruck or maul. Due to the physical nature of scrums, injuries can occur, especially in the front row. (More...)