With December 31st fast approaching, it is a time to reflect on successes. Those on the rugby field, and from the team here at LWOR. And on behalf of Last Word on Rugby(LWOR) we would like you to enjoy a variety of our First Pick XV articles of 2017.
This is not a playing top XV – though you will undoubted find individual candidates within the selection – but more so, in the variety and range of topics tackled by our team of writers across 2017.
Our team report on all the domestic and International competitions around the world, celebrating players and teams across the ‘rugby globe’. It’s what gives us a point of difference, as we celebrated 1000 articles here at LWOR.
— LWOS UK (@LWOSUK) December 10, 2017
And with the incredible array of posts over the last year, our Editors all hope that you will enjoy our First Pick XV.
Editors Choice: LWOR First Pick XV Articles of 2017
In the last of three features (3/3), this series counts down the first pick XV articles from our team of writers. And after we brought you the opening ten from our ‘team’, we now share the backline–the speed and offensive line in the selection.
This final group of five examples, show the adaptability required from numbers 11 to 15.
#11 – Rugby Rules Interpretation a Constant Concern
When any rugby rule is discussed, interpretation is often the variable. How a referee or assistant referee see’s the action, can determine the ‘reaction’. And calls made by the Television Match Official (TMO) have in particular been of concern to rugby’s stakeholders.
To counter the inconsistent rulings, World Rugby took a proactive stance on the high tackle in 2017. Last Word on Rugby, and our resident rugby referee Scott MacLean dissecting the policy, and regularly reporting on law variations that also impact on the rugby fans understanding.
And that is critical. Informed readers, make for better rugby fans.
#12 – Talented Players Show the Games Strengths
As shown in our first feature, special players take pride of place in the sport. A 15 man side, but game breakers and game-drivers are required. Whether a forward like Courtney Lawes, or backs like Owen Farrell and Beauden Barrett. And some new stars joined the ranks in 2017.
Many more features have been written on talent, from across the full spectrum. Top 14 (as above) to Super Rugby. Maintaining an awareness of talent is beneficial for the LWOR reader, as it is when a First Pick XV is assessed.
In 2018, our group of writers will continue to point a spotlight at the grassroots, at the development level and always toward the elite. Because this is where the fans enjoyment, and collective accolades are afforded the ‘best of the best’.
#13 – League Coverage to the Delight of Aussie RLWC Hosts
One of the highlights for footy fans in Australasia, was the ‘other codes’ World Cup. And LWOR staff gave the sport it’s credit, covering the men’s and women’s tournament from start to finish.
With so much talent in Australia and the Tier One nations, Rugby League policy changed so that players were eligible for countries that represented their family heritage. It surprised some–with the New Zealand Kiwi’s having several leading figures choose Tonga. It did lead to controversy, but also built in a representation that ensured Lebanon and Italy had leading players and coaches involved.
Note: that conversation then affected Rugby Union, with eligibility calls for change to benefit Tier Two nations, and former Internationals (see story link here).
From the knockout stages, the results certainly ‘knocked over’ the regular faces. Tonga holding their own, as Fiji too showed their passion would ruin the Kiwi’s chances. But after the semi finals, it proved to be an Australian double-act; both men and women hosting the full day at Suncorp Stadium.
The good feeling was a positive for the 13-man game. Although England and the New Zealand women had little chance to stop the home sides from running away with the silverware.
#14 – We Present the ‘new’ Guinness Pro14
From June until the final announcements were made by the Celtic League, Pro12 was enlarged to fit two of the rugby sides culled by Super Rugby. After much debate and conjecture, LWOR writers were key in informing, debating and then confirming the story as it developed.
Once the news had been confirmed, staff from Wales, England and in South Africa commented on the pros and cons, and the enlarged competition. From the Pro12 into the Guinness Pro14, both South African teams might see some ‘short term pain, for long term gains’.
But fortunately, some teams have earned well deserved wins. The Cheetahs have beaten several of the big players, with the Southern Kings and even the Italian sides taking vital points at home or away.
Some big results in the #GuinnessPRO14.
Cheetahs stun Leinster: https://t.co/RZSActwpT8
— ESPN Scrum (@espnscrum) September 23, 2017
And other stories evolved in similar ways. The third culled team in Australia was the Western Force. A franchise whom some believed had been sacrificed by Rugby Australia, but who proudly declared their solidarity.
#15 – A Full Calendar of Articles from the Team at LWOR
Our first pick XV is both rugby focused, and full of variety. And like any team, specialists exist. From our Sevens coverage from Jovilisi Waqa, to the Under 20’s World Championship–reported live, from Aaron Tillyer.
This range offers you the reader, the widest choice possible. And LWOR do feel that this is a strength of the team–as well as the popular, our team look for the unique.
Currie Cup to the Heartland Championship, our writers ‘love grassroots rugby’. Schools First XV to Under 20’s, you will find all age grades covered. Men’s and women’s matches, our team plays no favourite, as the sports engagement levels are more balanced than ever.
Plus, the way fans watch rugby is changing. Managing Editor Scott Hornell spoke of ‘21st Century Rugby‘ where the enjoyment of watching a game first-hand can be supported by technology. Cellular services and new apps [like the All Blacks TV app] help fans engage with teams, statistics and on-demand video of Live or delayed matches.
But what LWOR can always guarantee is that, after viewing any of our articles; whether they are featured here in the First Pick XV or an item of your choosing, if it inspires you to want to participate, the ‘door is always open’. Just click on this link, send us a sample and you too can be a part of our team.
“Main photo credit”
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