New Rugby Movie “Play On” Now Available on iTunes

The latest in a not very long line of rugby movies on the market, “Play On,” is now available through the iTunes store.  The movie, about the son of a Scottish rugby star who comes to make his mark in America playing for the Kansas City Chiefs (don’t ask me how because I haven’t seen the movie yet, but have heard good things about it) and ends up playing rugby for (what else) a Kansas City rugby team.  In order for the team to get more publicity, he recommends that they end up taking a rugby tour of, you guessed it, Scotland.  Much hilarity then ensues… kidding, kidding.  It’s the usual “team comes together under adversity” story, where the main character’s former teammates shun him, give him grief, etc.  

Despite my mini pseudo-review above, it does actually look like a really good story, and I’m looking forward to getting a copy of it in the near future to watch.

http://www.youtube.com/v/8jpTCaCV_Jg?fs=1&hl=en_US

American Petri Picked up by Magners League’s Newport Gwent

And in American Rugby news, national teamer Mike Petri, recently of New York Athletic Club and the English premiership side Sale Sharks, has been picked up by Newport Gwent for the rest of the Magners League season. Congratulations to Petri, who might be on the field this Thursday against the Connacht rugby team, based in Ireland.

Welsh Hero Davies Looks to Put Brakes on Henson Bid

I know I tend to bust into Welsh pretty boy (and part-time rugby player) Gavin Henson on this blog.  And with good reason usually.  But even Welsh former international star Jonathan Davies has jumped in on “Henson-Gate,” stating that there is no way he should be considered. 

For those who aren’t tired of hearing it from me yet, Henson has recently returned to rugby and kind of declared that he’s available to play for the Welsh National Team and it would be crazy to not include him right away!  Despite the fact that he’s only played in a few games since returning to rugby from an 18-month dancing break away from the game.  According to Davies:

“He’s the type of player that when he doesn’t play he looks lethargic. He has to play often because he’s a natural rugby player… if he doesn’t play then it doesn’t come natural to him and then he shouldn’t be considered. If he comes back and plays and deserves a place well so be it.”

And former Welsh star Brynmor Williams spoke up in defense of Henson, thinking that there might be a spot open for Henson if he’s willing to play fullback, a position that he believe Wales is weakest.

American Rugby League Expansion in the Works?

David Niu over at We Are Rugby, and the head honcho behind most of the Rugby League efforts in the U.S., has an interesting post up about the expansion of the American National Rugby League beyond it’s traditional base in the Northeast into other parts of the country. I’ve interviewed some of the people involved in AMNRL a little over a decade ago, and they are really good guys.

Many of the places that have been targeted already have strong rugby roots in the U.S., places such as Denver, Utah, Las Vegas, California and Texas, as well as the Pacific Northwest. Given the foothold that league already has in the Northeast and the South (with a team in Jacksonville, Florida and interest from Tennessee and North Carolina), developing a conference in the West to compete with them might make AMNRL more compelling – mix that with a championship match in Texas, or at someplace like the Disney World Sports Complex (perfect for teams from the West, they can make it a three-day trip with the family) and they have something that can be shown on TV.

Speaking of TV, while USA Rugby has an advantage in the media market right now, with the agreement by NBC to broadcast Olympic Rugby here in the U.S., as well as next year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, Rugby League is starting to make inroads, and has the support of some Australian actor… some guy named Russell Crowe, you might have heard of him.

Again, for readers of the blog who don’t know the difference between Rugby League and Rugby Union (a hotbed of debate), click here. And for more about this recent AMNRL post, click here.

P.S. One other thing, if Rugby League wants to grow in the U.S., the AMNRL needs to change their team name.  The “U.S. Tomahawks” is not exactly PC or a friendly name to all ethnic groups out there.  And it’ll cause some PR problems down the line.

African Rugby Confederation Plans for 2016 Olympics

The Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) recently approved a new strategic plan, operations plan and is restructuring the continent’s regional competition model. Central to this restructuring of African rugby is the new four-year strategic plan that is hoped will provide stability to African rugby, especially for smaller or potentially more politically unstable nations, and to increase participation in elite-level competitions.

Currently there are 660,000 rugby players throughout Africa, and the goal of this new plan is to increase that number to 800,000 in the next four years.

Africa has long been led in the Rugby Universe by the multi World Cup champion South African Springboks, which given the sporting divide between rugby, favored by the white South Africans, and soccer, favored by the indigenous South Africans. This divide appeared to carry on throughout much of the continent, with soccer being the prevalent sport.

“This is a big step forward for the game in Africa, which is a strategically important growth Region for the IRB with nearly a third of the world’s playing population,” said International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“I am delighted that we have opened the way for a new vision for Africa. I would like to thank the CAR Member Unions for their commitment to growing the Game across Africa and the IRB for their support throughout this process, a process that will ensure that Rugby can welcome new members to the family from new communities across Africa,” added Abdelaziz Bougja, CAR President. (more)

Continue reading “African Rugby Confederation Plans for 2016 Olympics”

High Desert Interviews: Sean Mermer and the New Mexico Brujos “Represent”

And with blog post #100 for the Rugby SuperSite, we jump back to our video interview series from the High Desert Classic Tournament here in Albuquerque.  Apologies for some of the interviewees at the tournament, some of the video files came across as having no data to them, so they are lost to the ether of my video camera (I’ll keep trying to get them some way, however.)

In this video interview, Sean Mermer from the New Mexico Brujos Rugby Football Club talks about the team, his experience playing for the team, how he got started playing rugby, and gives a quick plug for the New Mexico Celtic Sevens tournament in May.

Mickey Rourke to Play Gay Rugby Star in Upcoming Biopic

Multiple media outlets are reporting today that Hollywood movie icon Mickey Rourke is planning to make the move from portraying Hulk Hogan (or a Hulk Hogan-like character for his Academy Award nominated role in “The Wrestler”) to real life rugby ace, and gay sporting role model,Gareth Thomas.

Thomas, who formerly played professionally for Cardiff and Toulouse, and was also a star on the Welsh national team as well as the British and Irish Lions, came out of the closet last year to the applause not just of gay rights advocates around the world, but many of his fellow athletes as well. According to an interview with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” it was reported that Thomas is the first male athlete in any major sport to come out of the closet while they are still playing.

Thomas was the first Welshmen to reach the centenarian mark for the Welsh national team, ending his streak at 100 appearances for Wales, and scoring a try in his 100th match, a World Cup pool match loss to Fiji.

He has since moved from Rugby Union to Rugby League (explanation of the two codes can be seen here) and is currently playing for Welsh rugby league team The Crusaders. Thomas might find his way back to the union side of the game shortly, as the Crusaders have been placed into administration due to financial difficulties.

Mickey Rourke’s topsy-turvey life in the Hollywood spotlight is well known to many people who have followed the entertainment news shows, or read “Variety” at anytime in the last 20 years. Rourke first became a household name in the 80s, working in such movies as “9 ½ Weeks,” “Barfly,” “Body Heat” and other films. Rourke’s notorious difficulties on set, in addition to his role in “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man” (nothing particular, just the fact that he starred in this film-pocalpse) sped his way into the boxing ring, and out of Tinseltown until his return in the first part of the 2000s.

It will be interesting to see how the 58-year-old Rourke does with the physical demands of playing rugby, as well as playing the role of someone over 20 years his junior.

 

Thanks for Reading So Far!

In the last few weeks I’ve noticed a wonderful thing, some of y’all have been subscribing to my blog and my RSS feeds!  You like me, you really like me! 🙂 And because you’ve taken the time out of your lives to visit my little bit of the Internet, I wanted to say “Thank You” for taking the time to read what I’ve been saying so far.

Since I’ve told you a little bit about myself, I’d like to know a little bit about y’all.  If you feel like leaving something in the comments below, I’d love to read it!

Thank you again!

Benson

Unfortunate Phrasing? A Slip of the Tongue?

What else can be said? An unfortunate choice of words for returning Cardiff Blues star Jamie Roberts, back on the pitch after a five-month layoff resulting from a wrist injury…

“I’m sure if I am involved on Saturday probably after five minutes I’ll be blowing.”

Wow!  At least ask for dinner first!

Granted this had more to do about his fitness, but come on.  

(As a PR pro I’m even willing to speak about media relations at these clubs for no cost, just cover my fees… 😉 )

All joking aside, congratulations to Mr. Roberts for his triumphant return to the world’s greatest game.

Munster’s O’Connell Gets Four Week Ban for Backhanded Pimp Smack

“I’m gonna knock you out. Momma said knock you out…”

LL Cool J

The hearing’s been held, and the verdict is in – fourth round TKO for Munster’s Paul O’Connell. After careful consideration at a hearing in front of the European Rugby Cup powers that be, the current lock for Munster, and formerly for the British and Irish Lions lock, O’Connell has landed a four-week ban for his recent swing at (if that’s what you want to call it) at Ospreys flanker and 8-man Jonathan Thomas.

Did O’Connell get enough time? While the decision has already been made, there is plenty of room for debate on this issue.

Watch the video below, courtesy of Munster Rugby, and judge for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/v/B1j1czTHW-s?fs=1&hl=en_US

O’Donnell had just returned to action after suffering from an infected a groin injury. The injury forced him to miss both Ireland’s 2010 summer international match (also called “Test”) series, as well as the recently concluded autumn tours by New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, and Samoa. Prior to this he had seen quite a bit of action for not only Ireland, but also the previously mentioned British and Irish Lions.

Thomas, the versatile forward for Ospreys and the Wales National teams, has racked up over 60 appearances for the Welsh National team since his debut in 2003, including appearing in two Rugby World Cups. Welsh rugby players have usually been incredibly tough on the field – think Scott Quinnell, Gareth Edwards, JPR Williams. So I was surprised to see Thomas drop as quickly as he did when O’Donnell gave him the reverse, behind the back, overhand jam, nothing but net clothesline.