An article for the Sporting Life 360 website following England’s defeat in the final of the 2007 Rugby Union World Cup:
The high expectations that England could possibly retain the Rugby World Cup in 2007 now lie shattered on a Paris field. But wasn’t this totally predictable? After all, although Australia have won the trophy twice, no country has ever successfully retained a Rugby World Cup, and there are good reasons for that fact.
Unlike soccer, where individual brilliance can regularly alter the course of a game, Rugby Union is a team sport. It is also physically combative. Those two factors combine at the highest level, where it is not only necessary for players to avoid injury for long periods to enable them to establish their international credentials, but in so doing they build-up their understanding with other players who are also playing regularly. So, in essence, for a team to win a World Cup, it requires a six to eight year programme of grooming, developing and playing a squad of players with sufficient depth of experience and talent to survive six weeks of mortal combat at the highest level. Read the full article