Wales v NZ info from The Rugby Channel

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Wales v NZ info from The Rugby Channel

by dom_pedro on Fri Nov 04, 2005 2:55 pm

One of my spam emails from The Rugby Channel (on http://www.mediazone.com ) including an interesting preview of the Wales v New Zealand clash.

WALES VS. NEW ZEALAND!
By Matt Brown
Rugby Channel correspondent

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In a year that has featured some incredibly huge matches, this Saturday’s test between Wales and New Zealand can lay claim to being the most interesting and significant on the worldwide rugby calendar and I am extremely excited to know that I’ll be watching it LIVE from start to finish on MediaZone’s Rugby Channel.

As a rugby writer who’s accustomed to previewing all sorts of domestic, interprovincial, and international rugby contests, I can’t ever recall a match that’s had so many different, relevant, interwoven storylines. The lead-up to Wales vs. New Zealand on Nov. 5 allows you to take your pick of topics from coaches, injuries, new caps, Lions issues, tradition, Grand Slams, etc

The most obvious, of course, is the historic angle. This fixture in Cardiff marks the centenary of the first time these two squads met in a classic encounter that is one of the most written about rugby matches of all time. Historians, journalists, and fans to this day are still debating whether or not Bob Deans legitimately scored a try that would have prevented an Originals defeat at the hands of the Welsh.

Ask yourself, how many other specific games that took place a century ago in any sport do people still talk about, and that should give you some indication of how deeply ingrained this rivalry is in the collective rugby memories of these two proud countries.

In the context of their combined history, All Black lock Andy Haden’s famous dive that led to a late New Zealand win in 1978 at Cardiff Arms Park is considered a current event.

The fact that Wales and New Zealand, small countries of about three and four million people respectively, are the two nations in the world whose national identity is most closely associated with rugby has a lot to do with why they consider themselves brethren.

In truth though, until recently the respected adversary part of the relationship has gotten a bit stale, mostly because Wales hasn’t beaten New Zealand in more than fifty years.

That began to change with a near upset in the 2003 World Cup, followed by last year’s one point loss in a match that the visiting New Zealanders were more than fortunate to win.

The 2005 face-off comes at a time when both sides are riding high. Wales are the reigning Six Nations champions, winning their first Grand Slam since 1978, and are now ranked fifth in the world. New Zealand comes in having swept the Lions, holding the Tri Nations title, and are the number one team in the game.

You can call it a North vs. South championship if you’d like, or the halfway to the 2007 RWC derby, or simply just a mammoth test match that will be played at a raucously loud, closed-roof Millennium Stadium with 75,000 fans in attendance.

What impresses me the most about the lead-up to this contest is the attitude towards it of everyone involved. Coaches Mike Ruddock and Graham Henry are sincere in their assessments of their team’s chances and of the opposition, the players are genuinely humble in expressing how much it means to them to be a part of such a fixture, and both countries’ supporters are good-naturedly anticipating a serious battle that will be a joy to watch no matter the outcome.

It’s matches like these which reaffirm my belief that whatever its problems, rugby is a beautiful game that embodies the best aspects of sporting competition.

If you are at all curious about Rugby Channel, this is the perfect match to test out MediaZone’s offerings because if you love the sport, missing this one would be an outrageous act of self-denial.

FRANCE vs. AUSTRALIA, CANADA, TONGA, AND SOUTH AFRICA
In our never ending quest to bring you as much rugby as possible, Rugby Channel has purchased the rights to France’s slate of November matches to be aired on a 24 hour delayed basis. Love them or hate them, the Tricolors are one of the most entertaining teams in all of rugby because they possess the power and flair to beat anyone, anywhere, anytime, or they can struggle tremendously and look like a bunch of inept amateurs.

That’s the beauty of watching Les Bleus, you never know which team is going to show up on the day. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see four completely different sides take the field against this diverse quartet of opponents but I do know that I’ll be watching all four fixtures intently and looking for clues as to how France will be developing over the next two years.

The only place you can watch the three England and four France Internationals, and all ten Celtic Tests LIVE is on the Rugby Channel where MediaZone is offering all-inclusive annual, competition specific, and individual match subscriptions. All you have to do is go to www.mediazone.com and click onto the rugby page.
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