Rugby World Cup set to win more fans for Union code

Coinciding with the last fixture of the Women's Super League, the 'Continental Shot Stoppers' Road Show'Gary Woods and Mary Earp

Coinciding with the last fixture of the Women's Super League, the 'Continental Shot Stoppers' Road Show'Gary Woods and Mary Earp

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RUGBY Union is set to get a huge boost over the next month or so with almost daily coverage on terrestrial television of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

No doubt the name of the competition, which makes no distinction between the two handling codes of union and league, will continue to infuriate followers of the latter, including - I would imagine - some Dons’ fans - just has it has done since the competition was launched back in 1987. Whilst it can be argued that rugby league is virtually unheard of in a lot of the countries competing in the RWC, the 13-a-side code is played at professional level in England, Wales (just about) France, New Zealand and Australia.

The amount of column inches devoted to the 15-man game in the national press during the competition will no doubt prove another bone of contention particularly at a time when the coverage of rugby league has declined dramatically in recent years.

I can understand the league fans’ frustration and the difference in media coverage by no means reflects the difference in quality between the two codes having played both and reported on both for many years.

To be fair to union, the game has come a long way in terms of entertainment over the last 20 years and the players are fitter and more skilful than ever.

It is certainly a far cry from when I played the game many years ago. In those days the majority of games seemed to involve a succession of set pieces.

The ball would be won from a scrum and, providing he was not in the opponent’s 20, the fly-half would invariably kick the ball to touch for a line-out.

It might have been enjoyable for the forwards, whose handling skills often left a lot to be desired, but speaking as a back (centre, wing, full-back) the lack of ball in hand was often pretty frustrating.

I’m certain that I would have enjoyed the modern game more.

DONCASTER Rovers’ first-team keeper Gary Woods gave his support when the Continental Shot Stoppers’ Road Show visited the Keepmoat Stadium recently.

A joint initiative launched by The FA and the Continental Tyre Group, the Roadshow aims to boost girls’ participation in the sport, in particular, young goalkeepers

Nearly 100 youngsters participated in the programme which started at 9am as part of the pre-match build-up to Doncaster Rovers Belles’ last home WSL game of the season. Woods, who passed on advice and happily signed autographs, was joined by Belles’ England Under-19s keeper Mary Earps,

Everyone attending the Roadshow received goodie bags and free tickets for the Belles’ game.

Two girls were selected to participate in the Continental Shot Stoppers final at The FA WSL Continental Cup final at Burton on September 25. The two winners will demonstrate their skills at half-time during the televised final.

n TENNIS might not be everyone’s favourite sport - though Doncaster boasts two thriving clubs - but anyone who watched the US Open Men’s Singles final on Monday night between defending champion Rafael Nadal and world No 1 Novak Djokavic can’t fail to have been impressed by the fitness levels and sheer athleticism of the two men in an epic battle which lasted over four hours and didn’t finish until nearly 2am (UK time).

The skill levels on show will have certainly given Britian’s top player, Andy Murray, food for thought.

He must have serious doubts as to whether he will ever win a Grand Slam given the level of tennis produced by the two finalists.