Samoa national rugby union team
The Samoa national rugby union team is governed by the Samoa Rugby Union. The name Manu Samoa is in honour of a famous Samoan warrior, they perform. Samoa Rugby Union were members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance along with Fiji and Tonga, they are ranked 16th in the world. Rugby was introduced to Samoa in the early 1920s and a governing body was soon formed; the first international was played as Western Samoa against Fiji in August 1924. Along with Tonga, these nations would meet and contest competitions such as the Pacific Tri-Nations – with Western Samoa winning the first of these. From 1924 to 1997 Samoa was known as Western Samoa. Samoa have been to every Rugby World Cup since the 1991 tournament; that tournament, along with the 1995 competition, saw. Under their new coach, former New Zealand and Samoan international player Michael Jones, Samoa competed in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. However, Samoa had a dismal World Cup campaign, winning only one match and finishing fourth in their group.
Samoa showed an improved performance at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, winning two matches by comfortable margins, losing close matches to South Africa and Wales. The Marist Brothers brought the game of rugby to Western Samoa in 1924 and The Western Samoa Rugby Football Union was formed in 1924. On 18 August 1924, Western Samoa played its first international against Fiji in the capital Apia, the visitors winning 6–0; the match was played at 7 am to allow the Samoans time to get to work afterwards and was played on a pitch with a large tree on the halfway line. The return match was won 9–3 by Samoa to draw the series. In 1954 Western Samoan visited both Pacific Island neighbors Fiji and Tonga but had to wait a further 20 years before a tour of New Zealand took place; the Samoans won. The traditional tri-series between Tonga and Western Samoa was established in 1982 with Western Samoa winning the first tournament. Wales won the test 32 -- 16 at Apia; the tour led to a return visit to Wales which brought Western Samoa out of International limbo, although Western Samoa were not invited to the first Rugby World Cup in 1987.
The following year a 14-match tour of Europe took place before a World Cup elimination series in Tokyo, which gave Western Samoa a place in the 1991 Rugby World Cup in Britain. They made a huge impact. After sweeping aside Wales 16–13 in Cardiff and defeating Argentina 35–12, narrowly losing 3–9 to eventual champions Australia in their pool match, Western Samoa, a country with a population of 160,000, found itself in the quarterfinals against Scotland at Murrayfield; the Scots won comfortably 28–6, but the Samoans were the personality team of the tournament. Over the next two years the side had a number of notable wins; the most outstanding achievement were in Sevens where it won the 1993 Hong Kong and 1992 Middlesex Sevens. The 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa proved, they again reached the quarterfinals after wins over Argentina and Italy, but were beaten 42–14 by the eventual winners South Africa. After the Cup, Manu Samoa made a 13-match tour of England and Scotland, drawing 15–15 with the Scots and going down 27–9 to England.
With the advent of professional rugby in 1995 it was vital for Manu Samoa to develop a new administrative structure. This was made possible with Fay Richwhite and the Western Samoan Rugby Union joining forces to form Manu Samoa Rugby Limited. Fay Richwhite invested $5 million from 1995 to 2004 into Samoan rugby. Samoa emerged from the 1999 World Cup with its honor intact after another shock 38–31 victory over host nation Wales in the pool stages, they again lost out to Scotland in the quarter final play-off. Manu Samoa qualified for the 2003 World Cup with a 17–16 loss against Fiji, Earl Va'a missing an injury-time penalty, they recovered to beat Tonga both home and away and avenged that Fijian defeat with a 22–12 win in Nadi. They had to settle for second place in the round robin, behind Fiji on points difference, a place in the tougher of the two Rugby World Cup 2003 pools alongside automatic qualifiers England and South Africa. In one of the games of the tournament, they led eventual champions England for most of the game before losing 35–22.
Samoa qualified for the 2011 World Cup after beating Papua New Guinea 73–12 in Port Moresby on 18 July 2009. They won 188–19 on aggregate over two matches against Papua New Guinea, having won 115–7 at Apia Park the previous week. Samoa began their 2011 World Cup campaign preparation with a flying start, after registering an upset against No.2 ranked Australia with a four-try-to-two win of 32–23. In November 2017, Samoa's prime minister and SRU chairman Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi announced that the organisation was bankrupt, although those claims were denied by world governing body World Rugby. In one of the scenes of the feature film, Western Samoa can be seen playing South Africa in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Below is table of the representative rugby matches played by a Samoa national XV at test level up until 14 July 2018. On 7 October, Steve Jackson named a 31-man squad for their 2018 Northern Hemisphere Tour where they will meet USA, Georgia and Spain Head Coach: Steve Jackson * Caps Updated: 16 November 2018Note: Flags indicate national union for the club/province as defined by World Rugby.
Last updated: Spain vs Samoa, 24 November 2018. Statistics include capped matches only. Last updated: Spain vs Samoa, 24 November 2018. Statistics include capped matches only. Last updated: Spain vs Samoa, 24 November 2018. Statistics include capped matches only. Last updated: Spa
Georgia national rugby union team
The Georgia national rugby union team nicknamed The Lelos is administered by the Georgian Rugby Union. The team takes part in the annual Rugby Europe Championship and participates in the Rugby World Cup, which takes place every four years. Georgia is considered a second tier rugby union nation and is one of the world's fastest growing rugby nations; the Lelos participate in the Rugby Europe Championship, winning the tournament in 2001, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 seasons. The bulk of the national squad are based in both the Top 14 and lower divisions; this is a practice, popularized by former national team coach, Claude Saurel, a Frenchman. Rugby is one of the most popular sports in Georgia; the national team qualified for the Rugby World Cup four times, first in 2003 – playing against rugby powers such as England and South Africa. The Lelos recorded their first World Cup win in 2007 Rugby World Cup, where they beat Namibia 30–0; as of 6 February 2017, Georgia are ranked 12th in the world by World Rugby.
Since 2013, Georgia has hosted the World Rugby Tbilisi Cup. There were several unsuccessful attempts to introduce rugby union into Georgia, the earliest known being in 1928, with subsequent attempts in 1940 and in 1948. Rugby was introduced to Georgia by Jacques Haspekian, an Armenian man from Marseilles in France who taught the game to students in the late 1950s through to the mid-1960s, although he subsequently returned in France, he is still alive and living in Marseilles, he was interviewed on French radio on the occasion of Georgia playing France in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The first rugby session was held on October 15, 1959 in Tbilisi, at the racecourse, where 20 people attended the meeting; the first Georgian club formed was the GPI, now known as "Qochebi". Rugby's popularity in Georgia might be explained by its resemblance to the traditional Georgian game named "Lelo" or "Lelo Burti"; this game is still played on occasions in rural areas. A field was selected between two river creeks.
Two teams consisting of the male population of neighboring villages, would face each other. The number of players from each side was not set, but included any able men each village could summon. A large, heavy ball was placed in the middle of the field and the goal of the game was to carry it over the river creek of the opposing side; the first teams appeared in 1959. The Georgia Rugby Union was founded in 1964, but until the late 1980s it was part of the Soviet Union's rugby federation; the rugby union connection between France and Georgia started as links were established by the powerful French Communist Party and many other left-wing organisations. Georgia did not have its own team and its best players would play for the USSR team. In 1988 Georgia produced their first national sevens side. In September 1989, Georgia got together with other FIRA countries to host a tour by Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's first match on the tour was in the wet against Georgia in Kutaisi, west of Tbilisi, which Georgia won 16–3.
The next year Georgia went to Zimbabwe where they played two tests, losing the first in Bulawayo and winning the second 26–10 in Harare. On 9 April 1991 Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union. Georgia was now a rugby union nation but getting matches was not easy: the old Soviet team continued under the name Commonwealth of Independent States. Georgia were limited to the odd game against Ukraine until they gained membership of the World Rugby in 1992. French coach, Claude Saurel, first arrived in Georgia in 1997 with a brief to assess the standard of sport. Saurel went on to work with the Georgia national rugby sevens team, until he was appointed as the national coach in the summer of 1999. Georgia's 1998 loss to Romania saw them play a two legged repechage play-off against Tonga to qualify for the 1999 World Cup. On that occasion Georgia lost the first leg 37–6 in Nukuʻalofa before a 28–27 win in Tbilisi; this was not enough and Georgia failed to qualify. After France and Italy dropped from the reborn European Nations Cup, Georgia became a major force in the tournament.
In 2000, Georgia finished second in the competition. The following year, Georgia improved upon this, winning all five of their matches during the 2000–01 tournament, thus finishing at the top of the table, they clinched the title by beating Romania away 31–20 on the final day. Rugby union took off in the country, the travel and opportunities to land lucrative contracts in France made rugby union a glamorous pursuit in Georgia. Georgia placed second in the 2001–02 tournament; when Georgia played Russia in the European Nations Cup 65,000 people crammed into the national stadium in Tbilisi. Georgian first made an impact at Rugby Sevens by finishing a respectable 10th in the 2001 edition of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Argentina. In October 2002 Georgia faced Russia, in what was at the time one of the most important clashes between the two national sides; the victorious nation would head to the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the loser would be relegated to fight it out for a repechage position. Neither nation had been to a World Cup, though Georgia had come close in 1999.
50,000 spectators turned out to the national stadium. Both nations kicked penalty goals in the first half, but Russia moved ahead with a 13–9 lead through a try, but Georgia were able to score a try of their own just before half time, with Levan Tsabadze putting them in front 14–13 at the break. Georgia held on, winning
The steppe eagle is a bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae, it was once considered to be related to the non-migratory tawny eagle and the two forms have been treated as conspecific. They were split based on pronounced differences in anatomy, it has a wingspan of 1.65 -- 2.15 m. Females, weighing 2.3–4.9 kg, are larger than males, at 2–3.5 kg. This is blackish flight feathers and tail; this species is larger and darker than the tawny eagle, it has a pale throat, lacking in that species. Immature birds are less contrasted than adults, but both show a range of variation in plumage colour; the eastern subspecies A. n. nipalensis is larger and darker than the European and Central Asian A. n. orientalis. The call of the steppe eagle sounds like a crow barking; the steppe eagle breeds from Romania east through the south Russian and Central Asian steppes to Mongolia. The European and Central Asian birds winter in Africa, the eastern birds in India, it lays 1–3 eggs in a stick nest in a tree.
Throughout its range it favours open dry habitats, such as desert, semi-desert, steppes, or savannah. It is found in south-eastern Pakistan in Karachi. Large numbers are seen at certain places such as Khare in Nepal during migration; as many as 15.3 birds per hour during October and November have been noted. The steppe eagle's diet is fresh carrion of all kinds, but it will kill rodents and other small mammals up to the size of a hare, birds up to the size of partridges, it will steal food from other raptors. Like other species, the steppe eagle has a crop in its throat allowing it to store food for several hours before being moved to the stomach; the paper based on joint research conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Indian Veterinary Research Institute, published in May 2014 in the journal of the Cambridge University Press, highlighted that steppe eagles are adversely affected by veterinary use of diclofenac and may fall prey to it. The research found the same signs of kidney failure as seen in the Gyps vulture killed due to diclofenac.
They found extensive visceral gout and uric acid deposits in the liver and spleen, as well as deposits of diclofenac residue in tissues. Steppe eagles are opportunistic scavengers, which may expose them to the risk of diclofenac poisoning; the Steppe Eagle appears on the flag of Kazakhstan. It is the National bird of Egypt and appears on its flag. Svensson, Lars. Underwing pattern of Steppe and Lesser Spotted Eagles. International Bird Identification: Proceedings of the 4th International Identification Meeting. Eilat: International Birdwatching Centre Eilat. Pp. 12–14. Steppe eagle species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds BirdLife species factsheet for Aquila nipalensis "Aquila nipalensis". Avibase. "Steppe eagle media". Internet Bird Collection. Steppe eagle photo gallery at VIREO Audio recordings of Steppe eagle on Xeno-canto
United States national rugby union team
The United States national rugby union team, nicknamed the Eagles, is controlled by USA Rugby. USA Rugby is a member of Rugby Americas North, one of six regional governing bodies under World Rugby; until sevens made its debut at the 2016 Rio Games, the United States was the reigning Olympic champion in rugby, having won gold at the 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics. As of November 26, 2018, the Eagles are ranked 12th in the world by the World Rugby Rankings, their previous highest ranking, achieved ahead of the 2007 World Cup, was 14th. The highest profile tournament in which the Eagles play is the Rugby World Cup; the Eagles have played in all but one Rugby World Cup since the tournament began in 1987. The United States has expressed interest in hosting the 2027 Rugby World Cup; the United States competed in the Pacific Nations Cup every Summer from 2013 to 2015. The U. S. has competed in the Pan American Championship. In April 2015, USA Rugby announced the creation of a new, annual International Championship to be contested among the top-6 ranked rugby nations in the Americas: Argentina, Canada, Chile and the United States.
The contest was named the Americas Rugby Championship and began in 2016. The United States won the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship after drawing with Argentina XV, it was the United States' first 15-a-side rugby union title in over 90 years. Informal football games such as rugby became popular in the United States in the mid-19th century. Rugby union was played as early as 1872 among rugby clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area composed of British expatriates. On December 2, 1882, the first Californian representative rugby team to play an outside opponent, took on a group of rugby-playing ex-Britons, who called themselves the Phoenix Rugby Club of San Francisco. California lost to the Phoenix club 7–4; the first recorded rugby game in the U. S. place in May 1874. The game sparked an interest on college campuses nationwide. In 1876 Yale, Harvard and Columbia formed the Intercollegiate Football Association, which used the rugby code. In 1886 Harvard's Oscar Shafter Howard introduced these rules to the campus of the University of California, Berkeley.
American football was fierce, as injuries mounted, the public became alarmed at its brutalities and President Theodore Roosevelt threatened to outlaw the sport. Beginning in 1906, rugby union became the game of choice at Stanford University, University of California and several other colleges in California. Rugby's popularity, was short lived, the sport had died out by the outbreak of World War I. A California student team toured Australia and New Zealand in 1910, invited their hosts to return the visit. Australia obliged by touring North America in 1912, the U. S. national team played its first international match on November 16, 1912 against Australia in Berkeley, California. The visitors won 12–8. A year the U. S. hosted New Zealand at the same venue on November 15, 1913, but the Kiwis ran away with the contest 51–3. Rugby union had not been played competitively in most of the U. S. for more than a decade before the 1920 Olympics. The U. S. Olympic committee decided that because "California is the only state playing Rugby in the US, the Committee will give sanction but no financial aid".
The U. S. assembled a California-based team, with six players from the University of California, Berkeley. The Olympic Games Committee of the Amateur Athletic Union paid the expenses to transport the team from California to the games in Antwerp. By the time the US Rugby team arrived in Europe and Romania had withdrawn from the competition. France and the U. S. were the only teams left to compete. The U. S. won a shock 8–0 victory over France to earn the gold medal. The stunned French suggested that the U. S. team tour France, which they did. Between 1920 and 1924, rugby union disappeared once again in the U. S. as American football soared in popularity. The 1924 Paris Olympics caused France to challenge the U. S. to defend its title. Once again, the U. S. Olympic Committee granted permission but no funds. Nonetheless, seven players of the 1920 team dusted off their boots, raised $20,000, found 15 new players including some American football players who had never played in a rugby union match; the assembled U.
S. team was again based from Northern California, with 9 Stanford alumni, 5 from Santa Clara, 3 from Cal. The team headed for England to play some tuneup matches; the French Olympic Committee had scheduled the rugby event to kick off the 1924 Paris Games at Colombes Stadium in Paris. Romania and the U. S. were expected to provide only token opposition for the European champions. On Sunday, May 11, the U. S. pounded Romania 39 to 0, including nine tries. The final was played at Colombes Stadium on May 18 before an estimated crowd of 30,000 - 50,000 that had gathered to watch the rugby final and the awarding of the first medal of the 1924 Olympics. Bookmakers set the odds at five to one with a 20-point spread. However, the Americans were not intimidated, the American captain Babe Slater wrote in his diary before the match "we are sure going to let them know they have been in a battle." Despite the odds, the U. S. team started well, led by captain Colby "Babe" Slater, led 3-0 at the half. Heavy tackling by the Americans, derived from American football and exhausted the French, as the U.
S. scored four tries in the second half to defeat the French 17-3. Rare vintage film footage of the 1924 gold medal match was rel
Portugal national rugby union team
The Portugal national rugby union team is rated as a performance team in the World Rugby four-band classification system, the second highest. Portugal had their first match in 1935 and now compete in the European Nations Cup and in the IRB Nations Cup; the team as well as all rugby union in Portugal is administered by the Federação Portuguesa de Rugby. Portugal qualified for their first Rugby World Cup in 2007 where they were grouped in Pool C along with New Zealand, Italy and Scotland, they are nicknamed Os Lobos, Portuguese for "The Wolves". Portugal have experienced modest success in recent years, they have qualified to the 2007 World Cup in France and although they lost all their matches they managed to score one try in all their games and led the score against Romania until the late minutes. Portugal were the surprise winners of the 2003–04 European Nations Cup, but though they could only finish third in the following event. Portugal played its first rugby international in April 1935 against Spain, losing by a single point, 6–5.
They played Spain again the following year with Spain winning 16–9. Portugal had more regular competition from the mid-1960s, won their first game in 1966, defeating Spain 9–3. Portugal played Italy for the first time in 1967, losing 6–3, they had their first match against Romania soon after and lost by 40 points. They defeated Belgium in 1968, played Morocco for the first time; the first game of the 1970s was a draw against the Netherlands. Portugal managed to draw with Italy in 1972 and following that, defeated them 9–6 in 1973. After a number of mixed results throughout the early 1970s, Portugal won five matches in a row from 1979 through to 1981, they played Morocco. After a 1983 draw against Spain, Portugal managed a seven-game winning streak from 1984 to 1985, including wins over Belgium, Morocco, Czechoslovakia and Zimbabwe; the first Rugby World Cup was held in 1987, though it was by invitation, thus there was no qualifying tournament and Portugal did not participate. From 1989 to 1990, the 1991 World Cup qualifiers were held for the European nations.
Portugal started in Round 2b in October 1989. They defeated Czechoslovakia 15 to 13 in Ricant to advance to Round 2c; however here they were defeated by the Netherlands 32–3 and eliminated from qualifying. Portugal again participated in the 1995 World Cup qualifying competition for European teams, starting in Round 1, they were pooled in the West Group, defeated Belgium and Switzerland, but lost to Spain, advancing into Round 2. Here Wales defeated them, they lost to Spain. Portugal began play in Pool 3 of Round B in the European qualifying competition for the 1999 Rugby World Cup. Portugal won all their group matches except for the one against Spain, but still finished second in the group, which took them into Pool 3 of Round C. All games were held in Scotland. Portugal lost 85–11 to Scotland, 21–17 to Spain. Both Scotland and Spain went through to the World Cup. In 2002 Portugal began playing for a place in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Pool A of Round 3 of the European qualifying tournament, they were grouped with Poland.
Each nation only won one game, though on against Portugal finished second to Spain. Portugal were knocked out of competition. In 2003–04 Portugal won the European Nations Cup, losing only one match to win their first championship. In 2004 Professor Tomaz Morais, coach of the Portugal national team at both sevens and fifteen aside, was nominated for the IRB's coach of the year award; this was a remarkable achievement for a coach from a third tier rugby nation. Morais has been credited with much of Portugal's progress in recent years. In 2006 it was announced that Portugal would receive a grant from the IRB to help develop their rugby to Tier 2 standard. Few details have been released thus far regarding how the money will be spent but it is hoped it will ensure that Portugal's rugby will be able to move onto the next level. In 2006 the inaugural IRB Nations Cup was hosted in Lisbon; the tournament featured Portugal, Argentina A and Italy A. It is anticipated that this will become an annual event and another medium through which the Portugal national team can develop their skills.
Portugal began their qualification campaign for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in 2004, as part of the European Nations Cup Division 1 2004–06 tournament. They won their first match, defeating Ukraine 6–36, they defeated Georgia 18–14 in their second match, won their third match against the Czech Republic, defeated Russia as well, but lost to Romania. Portugal drew with Russia 19-all, lost to Georgia. After a loss to Romania and a win against the Czech Republic, Portugal finished third overall in the standings, qualified for Round 5. Round 5 was played in October 2006 as a three match series between Italy and Portugal. Both Portugal and Russia lost in their matches against Italy, who qualified for the finals. Second place came down to the final match of the round in Lisbon. Portugal won the match 26–23 against Russia to make it to Round 6. Round 6 was a home and away series against Georgia. Portugal drew 11-all in the second meeting. Georgia went through to the finals, Portugal entered the repechage round where they defeated Morocco 26–20 on aggregate.
Portugal faced Uruguay for the last position in the finals. In the first leg of the two-match Repechage series, Portugal won 12–5. In the second game in Montevideo Portugal lost 18–12. On aggregate, Portugal won 24–23, sending them to their first World Cup. Having qualified for their first World Cup, several play
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is a men's rugby union tournament contested every four years between the top international teams. The tournament was first held in 1987, when the tournament was co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia; the winners are awarded the Webb Ellis Cup, named after William Webb Ellis, the Rugby School pupil who, according to a popular legend, invented rugby by picking up the ball during a football game. Four countries have won the trophy. New Zealand are the current champions, having defeated Australia in the final of the 2015 tournament in England; the tournament is administered by the sport's international governing body. Sixteen teams were invited to participate in the inaugural tournament in 1987, however since 1999 twenty teams have taken part. Japan will host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and France will host in 2023. Qualifying tournaments were introduced for the second tournament, where eight of the sixteen places were contested in a twenty-four-nation tournament; the inaugural World Cup in 1987, did not involve any qualifying process.
In 2003 and 2007, the qualifying format allowed for eight of the twenty available positions to be filled by automatic qualification, as the eight quarter finalists of the previous tournament enter its successor. The remaining twelve positions were filled by continental qualifying tournaments. Positions were filled by three teams from the Americas, one from Asia, one from Africa, three from Europe and two from Oceania. Another two places were allocated for repechage; the first repechage place was determined by a match between the runners-up from the Africa and Europe qualifying tournaments, with that winner playing the Americas runner-up to determine the place. The second repechage position was determined between the runners-up from the Asia and Oceania qualifiers; the current format allows for 12 of the 20 available positions to be filled by automatic qualification, as the teams who finish third or better in the group stages of the previous tournament enter its successor. The qualification system for the remaining eight places is region-based, with a total eight teams allocated for Europe, five for Oceania, three for the Americas, two for Africa, one for Asia.
The last place is determined by an intercontinental play-off. The 2015 tournament involved twenty nations competing over six weeks. There were a pool and a knockout. Nations were divided into A through to D, of five nations each; the teams were seeded before the start of the tournament, with the seedings taken from the World Rankings in December 2012. The four highest-ranked teams were drawn into pools A to D; the next four highest-ranked teams were drawn into pools A to D, followed by the next four. The remaining positions in each pool were filled by the qualifiers. Nations play four pool games. A bonus points system is used during pool play. If two or more teams are level on points, a system of criteria is used to determine the higher ranked; the winner and runner-up of each pool enter the knockout stage. The knockout stage consists of quarter- and semi-finals, the final; the winner of each pool is placed against a runner-up of a different pool in a quarter-final. The winner of each quarter-final goes on to the semi-finals, the respective winners proceed to the final.
Losers of the semi-finals contest for third place, called the'Bronze Final'. If a match in the knockout stages ends in a draw, the winner is determined through extra time. If that fails, the match goes into the next team to score any points is the winner; as a last resort, a kicking competition is used. Prior to the Rugby World Cup, there was no global rugby union competition, but there were a number of other tournaments. One of the oldest is the annual Six Nations Championship, which started in 1883 as the Home Nations Championship, a tournament between England, Ireland and Wales, it expanded to the Five Nations in 1910. France did not participate from 1931 to 1939, during which period it reverted to a Home Nations championship. In 2000, Italy joined the competition. Rugby union was played at the Summer Olympic Games, first appearing at the 1900 Paris games and subsequently at London in 1908, Antwerp in 1920, Paris again in 1924. France won the first gold medal Australasia, with the last two being won by the United States.
However rugby union ceased to be on Olympic program after 1924. The idea of a Rugby World Cup had been suggested on numerous occasions going back to the 1950s, but met with opposition from most unions in the IRFB; the idea resurfaced several times in the early 1980s, with the Australian Rugby Union in 1983, the New Zealand Rugby Union in 1984 independently proposing the establishment of a world cup. A proposal was again put to the IRFB in 1985 and this time passed 10–6; the delegates from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa all voted for the proposal, the delegates from Ireland and Scotland against. The inaugural tournament, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, was held in May and June 1987, with sixteen nations taking part. New Zealand became the first champions, defeating France 29–9 in the final; the subsequent 1991 tournament was hosted by England, with matches
Italy national rugby union team
The Italy national rugby union team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship against the other top rugby teams in Europe. The team is known as the Azzurri. Italy has been playing international rugby since 1929, for decades were considered one of the best European teams outside the Five Nations Championship. Since 2000, Italy competes annually in the Six Nations Championship with England, Ireland and Wales, they were the holders of the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy for 2013, played annually against France. Italy is ranked 15th in the world by the IRB as of 22 April 2016. Italian rugby came to prominence in 2000 when it was added to the Five Nations, creating the Six Nations. On the end of some heavy defeats, the side has grown in competitiveness, recording a fourth-place finish in 2007 and 2013, in defeat, lop-sided losses are less frequent; the Azzurri have shown respectable results when playing at home in recent years: during the 2011 Six Nations, the side defeated France 22–21, in the 2013 Six Nations, Italy won again at home against France, defeated Ireland 22–15.
Italy have competed at every Rugby World Cup since the first tournament in 1987, where it played the inaugural game against New Zealand, but have yet to progress beyond the first round. The team has developed a reputation for being a consistent middle player at the tournament. Italy's showings since the inception of a new group stage formula in 2003 have followed a pattern where they managed two wins and two losses; the current head coach is Conor O'Shea. Number eight Sergio Parisse is their current captain; the first match played by an Italian XV was in 1911 between US Voiron of France. On 25 July of the same year the "Propaganda Committee" was formed which in 1928 became the Federazione Italiana Rugby. In May 1929, Italy played their first international losing 9–0 against Spain in Barcelona. In 1934, Italy was one of the founder members of today's Rugby Europe. World War II meant an hiatus for Italian rugby union. Post-war, there was a desire to return to normal and Italian rugby union entered a new dimension thanks to the help of Allied troops in Italy.
In the 1970s and 1980s rugby union made enormous progress thanks to great foreign players and coaches in the Italian championship. Foreign coaches were and continue to be chosen for the national team, like Bertrande Fourcade and Georges Coste. In 1973, the national team went on a tour of South Africa, coached by ex-Springbok prop Amos Du Plooey. Tours of England and Scotland followed, as well as games against Australia and New Zealand, the masters of their day. In 1978, Italy first played Argentina at Rovigo, winning 19–6. Since the mid 1980s, the Italian national side had been pursuing the ambition of playing in an expanded Five Nations Championship. Winning against nations that now play in the European Nations Cup, good results against the major nations such as France, Scotland and Ireland meant that they were talked as strong candidates. In 1986, Italy hosted an England XV squad in Rome, drawing 15–15; the Azzurri took part in the first-ever Rugby World Cup match against New Zealand on 22 May 1987.
The match proved a one-sided affair with New Zealand convincing 70–6 winners against a young Italian side. John Kirwan to become the Italian national coach, scored one of the tournament's greatest-ever tries for the All Blacks. Italy beat Fiji but finished third in their pool, failing to make the finals. In 1988, they played Ireland for the first time. At the 1991 World Cup, Italy were grouped in a tough pool with the likes of England and the All Blacks, they lost both of these games but beat the USA. Italy first played Wales in 1994. At the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, Italy came close to beating England, they finished third in their pool again above the Argentines. The late 1990s saw the Italians build a formidable side and record Test victories over Five Nations opposition. In 1996, a deal between British Sky Broadcasting and the Rugby Football Union meant that England home games were shown on Sky. England were threatened with being expelled from the Five Nations to be replaced by Italy; this threat was never carried out.
In 1996, Italy toured England and for the first time Scotland, losing all matches. The team recorded two consecutive victories over Ireland in 1997. On 22 March 1997 they recorded their first win over France, 40–32. In January 1998, Scotland were the victims with Italy winning 25–21. At the 1999 World Cup, Italy were lost again, they went home before the knock-out stage. Italy joined the Six Nations Championship in 2000 but their admission coincided with the departure of some of their best players, they won their opening game against the reigning champions Scotland 34–20. Thereafter they struggled to compete against the other nations and their participation was called into question; the 2001 and 2002 tournaments were disappointing as they did not win a