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New Zealand Showed USA How Rugby Is Played

By Ben Kramer in News on Nov 6, 2014 9:30PM

Photo credit: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Rugby is a sport unlike any other in the world. It’s got the non-stop pacing of hockey and the absolute violence of football. Pair that with the fact that the players don’t wear any padding, this game might be the most grueling and grinding of sports, standing a position either below or above UFC in physicality. (If it’s below, it’s just barely.)

That being said, it was a treat to see the famed New Zealand All Blacks take on the USA Eagles last Saturday at Soldier Field.

A high scoring affair, the two teams combined for a total of 80 points. Unfortunately, for the USA, 74 of those points were put up by the All Blacks. Sadly, Soldier Field still hasn’t seen a winner this season, and you can’t blame the loss on Jay Cutler, Chris Conte, or God.

The Eagles were simply overwhelmed, with the All Blacks dominating on both offense and defense. They were crisp in their passing, moving the ball with terrible ease. When one player went down, another would be right behind him, ready to receive the pass and race past an oncoming Eagle defender. This happened over, and over, and over, and over, and over.

Watching the game, it was like seeing Michael Jordan’s 1996 Chicago Bulls take on the Michael Jordan-owned Charlotte Bobcats of 2012. One team had clear direction, executing practiced plays and scenarios, while the other appeared lost, with ball carriers sprinting blindly up the field, waiting to be squashed quickly by a dozen tacklers. If the Eagles did pass the ball, it wound up always being too late, with the receiver being decked immediately by an All Black.

Though the United States only put up 6 points, the fans supported them throughout, cheering when they’d land a hard hit on an All Black (even if the hit didn’t have much impact on the game overall), applauding them at the end and commending them for their hard work because, as lopsided as the score was, the team gave all they had and did what they could to stop a team that was heavily favored to win from the start.