The Rugby World Cup Begins On Friday: How To Watch, Live Streaming, Fun Facts, Team USA Preview
The Rugby World Cup begins tomorrow, and that may not be a huge deal in the U.S., even though we're in it. But elsewhere on the globe, where football pads are what sissies wear and it doesn't matter if the balls are deflated, kids are tackling each other in the street and stealing melons from outdoor vendors by lateraling them to their friends as the run. This is very big indeed. And we've already had some interesting action. The Rugby World Cup so far:
They've banned bagpipes
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) September 17, 2015
In an attempt to avoid the controversy that erupted at the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa with vuvuzelas (Satan's clamor horn), England's organizers have decreed that no bagpipes will be allowed on the grounds of any World Cup venue. This did not sit well with Scotland, which, historically, has been a bit touchy with the English banning their national instrument.
Scottish MPs have even put down a motion in Parliment denouncing the decision, according to The Telegraph. (Best if read aloud in Shrek voice).
“This House condemns the banning of bagpipes from the upcoming Rugby World Cup; calls on World Rugby Union to allow bagpipes to be played at the World Cup; recognises that bagpipes are not dangerous; stresses the importance of cultural identity associated with bagpipes for Scots, in the UK and around the world; and acknowledges that bagpipes are often played in formal ceremonies.”
How to watch
TV: NBC Sports and NBC Universal will broadcast nine matches live, including the semifinal and final. Here's the schedule:
Fri., Sept. 18 2-5 p.m. (ET) LIVE, Opening Ceremony/England vs. Fiji (NBCUni).
Sun., Sept. 20 6:30-9 a.m. (ET) LIVE, Samoa vs. USA (NBC Uni).
Sun., Sept. 27 9-11:30 p.m. (ET) LIVE, Scotland vs. USA (NBC Uni).
Wed., Oct. 7 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (ET) LIVE, South Africa vs. USA (NBCUni).
Sun., Oct. 11 2:30-5 p.m. (ET) LIVE, USA vs. Japan (NBCUni).
Sat., Oct. 24 2:30-5 p.m. (ET) SDD, Semifinal #1 (NBC).
Sun., Oct. 25 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (ET), LIVE Semifinal #2 (NBC Uni).
Fri., Oct. 30 3:30-6 p.m. LIVE (ET), Bronze Final (NBCUni).
Sat., Oct. 31 12-2:30 p.m. LIVE (ET), 2015 World Cup Final (NBC).
All matches will be streamed live on ITV, with some on ITV4. You're not supposed to be able to access ITV outside of the UK, but here's how to do it, according to PC World. Download a VPN that will mask your IP address and make it appear to the ITV Player that you are in fact in the UK. You can then browse to the ITV Player and watch whatever you like. VPN services are at Hola, UnoTelly, HotSpot Sheild, Cyberghost and Spotflux Lite. The full game schedule is here.
Today's opening match is England vs. Fiji, which you can live stream for free right here.
When does the U.S. play and how good are they?
U.S. opens vs. Samoa, Sun., Sept. 20, 6:30-9 a.m. (ET) on NBCUni. The United States has never won more than one match in pool play -- this time they're in Pool B, with South Africa, Scotland, Samoa, and Japan. While South Africa is the favorite, the U.S. could win a couple of matches here. But don't look for them to win the whole shebang. They've beaten Canada twice in friendlies but lost to Australia (although playing well early), and are not in the class of New Zealand and South Africa. But they'll be competitive, and hey, who knows? Upsets may be in the offing.
The U.S. roster:
Props: Chris Baumann (Santa Monica), Eric Fry (Newcastle Falcons), Olive Kilifi (Seattle Saracens), Titi Lamositele (Saracens) Joseph Taufete’e (Belmont Shore), Matekitonga Moeakiola (Castenet).
Hookers: Zach Fenoglio (Glendale Raptors), Phil Thiel (Life University).
Locks: Cam Dolan (Cardiff Blues), Greg Peterson (Glasgow), Hayden Smith (Saracens), Louis Stanfill (Seattle Saracens).
Back-rows: Danny Barrett (USA Sevens), Andrew Durutalo (USA Sevens), Alastair McFarland (NYAC), John Quill (NYAC), Samu Manoa (Toulon), Matt Trouville (Seattle Saracens).
Scrum-halves: Niku Kruger (Glendale Raptors), Mike Petri (NYAC).
Fly-halves: AJ MacGinty (Life University), Shalom Suniula (Seattle Saracens).
Centers: Seamus Kelly (SFGG), Folau Niua (USA Sevens), Thretton Palamo (London Welsh), Andrew Suniula (CSM Bucuresti).
Wings: Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz), Blaine Scully (Cardiff Blues), Zack Test (USA Sevens), Brett Thompson (USA Sevens).
Fullback: Chris Wyles (Saracens, capt).
We all agree that we hate the Hakarena, right?
Former England star Matt Davis invented a dance that combined New Zealand's Haka dance and the Marcarena. It's meant to be a promotional video for England's national team, but has become universally loathed.
An English Rugby Legend Broke a priceless antique chair by sitting in it
Martin Johnson, captain of the last England team to win the World Cup (2003), visited English Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street on Wednesday and promptly broke a 200-year-old antique chair. UK Metro:
Cameron said the rugby star sat down, leaned back, and the chair snapped.
Johnson looked at Mr. Cameron and said: “It’s not an old chair, is it?”
The PM replied: “Well, decisions have been made in her for about 200 years but I’m sure we can find another chair.”
England really hates France
According to the BBC News, the bus carrying the French team arrived in London and was immediately issued a parking ticket.
Pool assignments and game times
(Click on image to make it stop).
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 17, 2015
Over-Under on crotch grabs
It really is an epidemic in rugby -- especially Australia and New Zealand. We set the line at 5.
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