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Rugby in Oceania

Papua New Guinea will host the 2011 Oceania Cup. The Oceania Cup is an international rugby tournament among the island nations of Oceania. The participants this year will be American Samoa, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Papua New Guinea are the reigning champions, though the tournament has not been held since 2009.

Rugby has become a major sport in Oceania, brought over by British colonists in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many of the participants are still colonies or protectorates of the British, but even those that are independent or are colonies or protectorates of other nations have picked up the game of rugby. The sport fits in well with the tribal, warrior mentality common to the histories of many of these regions. In fact, many Oceanic teams perform a ritual haka or war dance before each game. These are always performed facing the other team and the custom itself if rooted in war. Prior to battle, each army would muster in formation and perform their tribe’s haka as a way to both psyche themselves up and to intimidate their opponents. The most famous of these modern hakas is that of the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks. There is a fantastic video of it here, complete with subtitles and translations as the chant is done in the traditional Maori language.

If you’re interested in learning more about the sport of rugby, there’s a pretty straight-forward explanation available here. If you’re interested in going a little bit deeper, visit the International Rugby Board’s website for the complete rules and regulations of the sport.

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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in Oceania, Sports

 

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Japan Wins Women’s World Cup

Just four months after a tsunami devastated northern Japan, the Japanese women’s national soccer team shocked the world to win the Women’s World Cup. They beat the heavily favored women of the United States in a penalty shootout. They came rom behind twice in the game to tie the score; once in regulation to force overtime and once again in overtime to force a shootout. It was the Japanese women’s first win ever against the US in 25 matches. The game was dramatic and rivaled anything seen last summer in South Africa. Japan finished the tournament with just one fewer goal than the U.S. despite having 18 fewer shots on goal (an average of three per game). Japan is the first Asian team to win the  World Cup, men’s or women’s.

Sunday also marked a social media milestone as the micro-blogging service Twitter set a new record for tweets per minute. The Women’s World Cup final caused quite a flurry of tweets; 7,196 per minute to be exact. This shows both the growth of popularity of the service in general and its popularity in Japan in particular. According to ComScore, Japan has the fourth highest Twitter penetration in the world. Twenty percent of Japanese citizens use Twitter. That means with an estimated population of about 128 million people, there are 25.6 million Japanese twitter users and each one of them had a huge point of pride to tweet about on Sunday.

Congratulations to the Japanese women and their win for the ages.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Asia, Sports

 

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Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings – Recap – June 12, 2009 – ESPN

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Detroit Red Wings – Recap – June 12, 2009 – ESPN.

Also, just in case you missed it.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2009 in Sports

 

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New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera from time to time shows a decline in performance – ESPN

New York Yankees’ Mariano Rivera from time to time shows a decline in performance – ESPN.

A fascinating piece on Mariano Rivera. One of the game’s greatest closer and argueably the greatest post-season closer of all time.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2009 in Sports

 

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Complete 2009 draft results – ESPN

Complete 2009 draft results – ESPN.

A brief rundown of the first 111 picks in the 2009 MLB draft.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2009 in Sports

 

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Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Box Score – June 08, 2009 – ESPN

Colorado Rockies vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Box Score – June 08, 2009 – ESPN.

There is a disturbing trend going on with the Cardinals. They have been staying close until about the 5th inning or so. Are they getting tired? Is the youth and inexperiece leading to being over-hyped at the start of the game? If this is the case, we may be in for a very tempestuous season. I’m not too concerned though, we’ve got two thirds of the season left and we are still in the hunt for the division. Plenty of time for TLR to even the guys out and make them into a dangerous ball club.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2009 in Sports

 

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Jayson Stark: Randy Johnson's 300th victory is one to remember – ESPN

Jayson Stark: Randy Johnson’s 300th victory is one to remember – ESPN.

This is hugely historic.  Stark mentioned briefly that the next one to win 300 may not have been born yet. The only other oactive pitchers with even 200 wins are Andy Pettite and John Smoltz and they only have 220 and 210 respectively.  It’s going to be a very very long time before another human being wins their 300th Major League game.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2009 in Sports

 

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