Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Zee Ngwenya's great hat-trick against Gloucester

Zee Ngwenya's great hat-trick against Gloucester

Takudzwa Ngwenya, the man who hit the headlines in 2007 after skinning Bryan Habana in a World Cup pool game, scored three great tries for Biarritz on the weekend as they beat Gloucester 42-15 in the Heineken Cup.

Known as Zee to his friends, the Zimbabwean turned American has shown that in the two years since that sensational moment that was awarded Try of the Tournament, hes no one-trick-pony.

His progression from a little known Sevens player in Texas, to playing with the big boys in Europe, has been somewhat of a fairytale.

He was hoping to make it big in American Football after his family moved there when he was 16. His transition into professional rugby came almost by accident.

"During the off-season, I played a bit of rugby sevens for Dallas to stay in shape," he said.

"One of the American national coaches saw me and it all went from here. I'd tried my best in American football but they had big boys of 240 pounds who could run almost as fast as I could.

"I didn't think I would make it because I was too light. When I started playing rugby, I didn't have any skills. I could just run."

On the weekend, we saw exactly how well he can run, as well as chip, swerve, and finish like a top class wing with years of experience. He scored a superb hat-trick in a quick fire fifteen minutes, one of the fastest in European Cup history.

All three tries were taken brilliantly, showing that the young man from Harare has come on in leaps and bounds in the short period of time that hes been playing rugby, a little over four years to be exact.

While some were sceptical about his signing in France so suddenly after the World Cup in 2007, hes since proven his critics wrong and has shown huge improvements in his handling, reading of the game, and defence.

He in fact made a brilliant tackle on big Lesley Vainikolo at one stage in the match, bringing down the bulky winger with ease, just 5 meters out from the tryline.

Zee Ngwenya sure looks to be here to stay. He's a great example of a man who took his chance when it was presented to him, and is now one of the most potent finishers in European rugby.

Time: 03:52
Community : Discuss the Heineken Cup on our forum here

Posted by Rugbydump at 12:35 pm | View Comments (73)

Viewing 73 comments

jack October 20, 2009 11:24 am

1st comment :-)
and we're baaackk!

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 11:28 am

a great prospect! incredible finishing!

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Maximus October 20, 2009 11:38 am

He has come on no end playing for Biarritz. He is a fne player now, not just lightning quick.

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 11:39 am

That chip for the second try was fuckin perfection!!

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 11:51 am

4 - 0 for french clubs against the rosbifs this weekend

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cp85 October 20, 2009 11:53 am

Chip try was incredible. First one with hand-off is equally good. Vainokolo really needs to pick up on his defence though. Positioning not the best. Thanks for getting this clip up!

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Zee October 20, 2009 11:59 am

needs to work on his defense, lets too many tries in for my liking.

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Andy October 20, 2009 12:18 pm

He just makes it look easy. He doesn't even look like he's running that fast.

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Lorcan October 20, 2009 12:18 pm

French clubs didn't have it all their way on the weekend:)) Hey RD how about a link to habana getting takin on the outside by the big guy!

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 12:19 pm

I love his play and pace - but really he could do with some modesty.... i hate the show-boating just before and after the try is scored. he did the same when he burnt habana. sure he's good - but really?

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RD October 20, 2009 12:47 pm

I've updated this post to include related links to other great moments from him, including the try against Habana.

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jay October 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Ever since he's smoked habana in the world cup he's been noticed.
I've been following him playing for Biarritz and his game has improved a lot. It's always nice to see someone with that speed but then you gotta see if the guy can uplift his vision and technique... in his case, he's improved really fast...while Gobelet still thinks his size is enough to play for BO...
I agree with the modesty thing... but it's kind of new so lez hope he doesn't get big headed...

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GTY October 20, 2009 1:30 pm

Tom voyce is awful at fullback.

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 1:32 pm

Someday, someone with a little money and vision will come to the United States and train top level African American athletes to play rugby. They are the premier athletes on the planet in terms of size, strength, and speed. There are many, many guys here with speed like Zee.

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 2:22 pm

comment above is so naive/false

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vinniechan October 20, 2009 2:27 pm

lol, the first try was just 7's style.
It's really nice to see a talent to truely come of age. Difference between him now and 2 years ago is probably that he didn't know WTH happened he smoked Habana.
Now that he's got the basics and game reading in his armoury, he's definitely one to look for in 2011

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David October 20, 2009 2:28 pm

being african american doesn't make much difference...

good try

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The Inside Shoulder October 20, 2009 2:33 pm

Great finishing.

Have to say that Sharples absolutely gifts him that 3rd try, not only does he spill the ball but in a bid to make up for his error he rushes across and takes out the man that Vanikolo is marking leaving Ngwenya open for the inside ball. Muppet.

B.O. play in some absolutely horrible shirts, almost as Bad as Bath's this weekend.

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ayeaye October 20, 2009 2:34 pm

Alright, slow down there, anonymous. No need to get all Dusty Baker and bring race into this...almost sounds like eugenics the way you talk.

Ngwenya had an awesome game - great to see. As I remember one commentator saying - if I had a player like Ngwenya on my team, I'd just give him the ball 20 meters out and say, "right, off ya go, mate." In most games this season, it seems like he at least makes on or two pretty good plays and that shows he's improving as a player...not just there for his speed, but he's coming together as a winger in all areas.

As for defense...not sure I agree. What was it, some 9 straight games at the Aguilra without Barritz conceding a try - he can't let in THAT many tries, can he? Plus, there's the old saying "the best defense is a good offense". If he can score three tries for every one he lets in, I see no reason to complain.

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vinniechan October 20, 2009 2:35 pm

Oh man, the positioning in the last try is perfect...

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marcus October 20, 2009 2:38 pm

I've heard the French commentary refer to Biarritz as something like "Biarr" (I spelled that wrong, I'm sure).

Is this just a nickname, or what? Unfortunately, I don't speak French so I don't really get it...cheers.

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jay October 20, 2009 2:42 pm

Biarrot... someone from Biarritz ^^
As simple as that !

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semperfimamba October 20, 2009 2:58 pm

I notice someone stated that if only "someone" with $$'s to spend could come develop the resource rich US, we could and probably would challenge anyone on the rugby scene.

300 million people, tons of potential, huge market, and the stadiums are awsome.

The Cowboys first game sold out 100 000 seats at their new stadium!

Now whos got the ching ching to come over and make it happen?


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pete October 20, 2009 3:10 pm

what a star quikest man in world rugby as we saw against habana and shows it again in that game what an incredible prospect

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 3:26 pm

He was playing division three rugby here in Texas just four years ago. He was fast then and now he has added I'd say about twenty pounds of muscle and a few more offensive skills. The chip kick is my fav! To bad he was playing for the DARC Vaginas.

Texas flyhalf trapped in a hookers body

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 3:43 pm

Zee said...
needs to work on his defense, lets too many tries in for my liking

when he can score trys like those who cares you score 1 ill score 3

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keh October 20, 2009 3:55 pm


I don't know. This argument will be played out for a while, but I don't know if it will ever make any ground...there's already so many sports here in the U.S. wanting to take some of the attention from NFL; soccer seems to have a better chance of that than rugby, and look how gimmicky they get bringing in Beckham and retired European players to boost interest here...

Just this month, there was a rugby match here in Denver - USA Select XV vs Arg. Jaguars. That's two national teams (2nd string, you could say), and maybe 100 paying people showed up...it was snowing, but I don't know if that's an excuse...it was a disappointing match where we lost by around 50 points, but my point is: are people in the States really going to pay to go see rugby?

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 4:03 pm

Yes he's not a bad player, but no he's not the new legend of the game like some american boys here seem to say. And no he's not a wing trapped in a hooker's body, far from that! he's still very light for rugby!

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 4:05 pm

this guy is a prime example of NFL athletes being decades ahead of rugby athletes

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Andrew October 20, 2009 4:23 pm

wow, lot's of ignorance here.
1. He is Zimbabwean not African American, and for those of you who will say he's African and from America, that may be true but that does not make hime 'African American'. There is about 300 years of difference.
2. America will never be huge in world rugby simply because there is not enough time for commercial breaks in a rugby game so it will not get TV time. Plus it is too complex a game for the average viewer. No one knows the rules, no one watches.
3. Typical Northern Hemisphere School-boy Defense (NHSBD) on the first try!

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Andy October 20, 2009 4:42 pm

Rugby will never be big in America. They've already got their form of the game in American Football.

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 5:10 pm

what a change from a few years ago! any chance of the llanelli highlights, as sky cdnt be arsed to put it on tv? cheers


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Anonymous October 20, 2009 6:17 pm

any1 spot th one handed pick up in th stade bath game by stade no 6 i think get a clip up?

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 7:17 pm

Someone said....If only someone with money and vision came to the US and taught rugby or something like that.

oh yes because the US are so poor they cant afford to play rugby you can set it up yourself you dont need some english lad to go over and tell you to play rugby

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a-non-e-mouse October 20, 2009 7:43 pm

his runs are quicker than the runs i get after a kilo of dried apricots!!!

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FrankyH October 20, 2009 8:04 pm

Some Anonymous loser said:
this guy is a prime example of NFL athletes being decades ahead of rugby athletes
He's a little fast running Zimbabwean who wanted to make it in the NFL, but obviously never got a break or didnt know the game. Within a cpl of years of trying (at a decent age) he got spotted and took up rugby and the rest is history.

Please someone teach me to ignore the lame, childish, and stupid? I find it difficult to.

Anywaaaay.. effin great tries. All three of them were truly nothing but class. Even the third, which looked like just a run in - he positioned himself brilliantly before getting the pass, as someone mentioned here.

It would have been interesting if his family had made the move south rather than north. I wonder if he would have 'made it'. Habana on one wing, and Ngwenya on the other. Noice.

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Donkey October 20, 2009 8:44 pm

His overall game lacks, have you seen him clear the ball when the fullback isn't home? Seen him make any try saving tackles? usually he just watches the opposition wing run in... seen him link well in a set play? nope.

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Urban SA October 20, 2009 8:49 pm

Sad that an up and coming player like Zee is always named "THE GUY THAT SKINNED HABANA" even though he was already running on the front foot and Habana was trying to work out which way he was going, at a stand still.

Anyways, Zee can continue to play in low level rugby while Habs continues to win Super 14s, RWC, Tri-nations, Lions tours, Currie Cups... the list goes on.

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Chris October 20, 2009 8:55 pm

"I love his play and pace - but really he could do with some modesty.... i hate the show-boating just before and after the try is scored. he did the same when he burnt habana. sure he's good - but really?"

You're blaming the guy for celebrating after out-pacing Bryan Habana? In the world cup? Coming from a nation with no professional league or structure? All the while considering that at the time he was an amateur athelete and had only been playing the sport a few years? Come on now. I'd be over the moon if I out-paced Andrew Sheridan nevermind Habana.

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WelshOsprey October 20, 2009 8:59 pm

Never rated him. Sure he can score the odd try but has anyone heard of him since the WC?
Nalaga is the same, occasionally brilliant but mostly clumsy and a liability.

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 9:05 pm

Fantastic rugby talent. !!!!

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Dave October 20, 2009 9:12 pm

er WelshOsprey.. are we going backwards in time or is it now 2009 and we're sitting looking at him scoring a hatrick against Gloucester in the Heineken Cup?

Nalaga was top try scorer in the top 14 last season.. and is scoring again this season. How ignorant are you mate??
And to show such ignorance while posting with that name? hah.

I guess we should talk about shane williams then - Never rated him. Sure he can score the odd try but has anyone heard of him since the 2008?

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Dave October 20, 2009 9:15 pm

*minus 'the'

Not wanting to cause sh*t. just cant stand the negative attitude when the guy scored a great hat trick

peace out. love rugby. love these tries. thanks RD.

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Deans AscA October 20, 2009 9:18 pm

Agree with WelshOsprey.

He reminds me of Chavanga, except slower.

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Shaft October 20, 2009 9:22 pm

A Zimbabwean team comprising players who left the country would be an interesting prospect :)

Skinstad, Teichman, Garvey, Chavhanga, Ngwenya, Mujati (for that extra push), and the Beeeeeaaaast.

Still missing a few players, but not a bad start.

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 9:38 pm

Welshosprey Nalagahas been the top 14 top try scorer for two years now you must really have no brain at all to think he's a liability stop the booze man

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Anonymous October 20, 2009 10:44 pm

the person commenting on someone coming to usa and training other african american athletes is only half correct, being black has nothing to do with it. i think he ment football players(gridiron). imagine a usa backline with terrel owens***, brian ulacher, and ocho cinco, they have the physical, so thats proof that the usa just needs the quality of skill, and a more indept knowledge of the game!!!

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falafel October 20, 2009 11:57 pm

Haha, was that a pun there, Shaft? Mujati for an extra push, hmmm?


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WelshOsprey October 21, 2009 12:48 am

Yeah i suppose Nalaga's MIGHTY 1 cap speaks for itself.
Its just my opinion, no need to explode dave.

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depogs October 21, 2009 12:59 am

Considering that this guy was barely learning how to play rugby four years ago and now is scoring a hat trick of tries in the freaking Heineken Cup, you gotta tip your hat. I'm proud to have him represent the USA Rugby. How awesome was that chip and chase, brilliant.

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Canadian Content October 21, 2009 1:01 am

American football is the evolution of rugby as was rightly pointed out earlier. Forget the idea that the US will ever become a rugby nation.

Have to disagree with an earlier comment that criticized the fellah who made the statement about African American athletes.

Have you ever watched a 100 metre Olympic sprint final? 8 of the 10 competitors will be either West African or of West African descent (Caribean, African American, British African). This is not due to social conditioning. This is the most prestigious event in the world, would not every nationality want to win it? Absolutely, but a West African or West African descendent has for the last 6 Olympics at least. For some reason their bodies are simply more adept at sports which require power and speed.

That being said, who gives a f#%K. Great set of tries, the guy who complained about show boating probably never scores, not even in warm up touch games.

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Dave October 21, 2009 6:28 am

Fair enough WelshOsprey. Apologies if I came across rude.

I do still disagree though, and think that Nalaga is a great player, despite fiji's selection policy. If he can score tries consistently in one of the toughest leagues around, he must be doing something right.

Same would go for Ngwenya, although he still has far more to prove obviously. In terms of his progression though, he's done excellently so far.

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Andy October 21, 2009 8:40 am

Shaft, wasn't Simon Shaw born in Zimbabwe as well?

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Anonymous October 21, 2009 1:12 pm

showboating?! didn't see a silly swan dive or an exuberant underhand ball punch...yeah, i saw the uplifted finger. as far as beating BH in '07, if I was able to pull that off, I might be doing frackin' cartwheels!

Rugbydump, love ya!

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kevdetoulouse October 21, 2009 1:51 pm

he's got pace but he came very late in the game and has technical issues to solve.
I've seen a few biarritz's games and he wasn't stunning like that
don't get exited boys
wait and see...

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Anonymous October 21, 2009 1:52 pm

All you traditional rugby nations should be thanking the sweet lord that the US is run over with american football. If we were to eliminate that one sport from existance, the athletes who play it (and make gobs of money doing it) would be in other sports, no doubt. And yeah, I could see our national soccer team and rugby team at that point giving all of your countries a run for your money if not smacking you up well.

But like someone mentioned earlier, american football already has the upper hand in tv contracts and fan support here. But soccer is gaining in popularity and it is only a matter of time until we catch up with the rest of the world powers on that pitch. Unfortunately it will be another century before rugby will have the same equal footing in homegrown talent.

But as far as population and resources are concerned, yeah, we got you all on those. Tick tock, tick tock; boys. Our time is coming.

posted by

THE flyhalf trapped in a hookers body

ps - not trying to be rude, just telling it how I see it while admiring all the fine rugby played by your countries around the globe...ruck on!

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kevdetoulouse October 21, 2009 2:04 pm

Love ya Urban SA:

"Anyways, Zee can continue to play in low level rugby while Habs continues to win Super 14s, RWC, Tri-nations, Lions tours, Currie Cups... the list goes on."

Incredible how an SA fan can insult our competition by calling it "low level rugby". You must certainly be a low level fan to write such a pill of shit

Love the game, respect the top 14, super 14, the guiness, magners, amateur, currie... but hate stupid fans (worst kind)

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kevdetoulouse October 21, 2009 2:09 pm

probably my last comment on the blog

can't stand much more patriotic or nationalist bullshit leaded by ignorance

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Phil October 21, 2009 3:36 pm

I reckon RD should conduct an experiment. Post a video of a cat playing with a ball of string. Let people comment on it. See how long it takes before someone manages to slag off the other hemisphere/league/nation. My guess would be about 15 comments.

To keep things in proportion though, I reckon the comments on here are way better than on Youtube. Has anyone else noticed how virtually every video's comments just degenerate into horrible, hateful tirades?

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Anonymous October 21, 2009 6:24 pm

canadian content, i dont like the showboating either, and when someone on my team does it i let them know it is not how a rugger conducts himself.... minus maybe scoring in the 80th min to win a game

a fellow canadian

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Anonymous October 21, 2009 10:53 pm

I really don't give a crap about american football. It's boring and slow and merely a pretext for obese americans to eat chicken wings, watch a lot of commercials, and get even fatter and uglier

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Bill October 21, 2009 11:59 pm

I think it's great how he celebrates.
It's fine.

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Anonymous October 22, 2009 12:53 am

Population and resources are an asset but not indicative in making a great national rugby team. Look at New Zealand population 4.3 million. England have the population and resources and the largest number of rugby players in the world but they're not exactly the best.

Saying that I would love to see rugby popular in America.

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Tommo October 22, 2009 2:43 am

If rugby was as popular in Amercia as NFL is, I have no doubt they would be the best in the world.
The money and athletes in the NFL is incredible.
Luckily for us, rugby is not a mass market sport there at all.

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istya October 22, 2009 5:40 am

"Rugby will never be big in America. They've already got their form of the game in American Football."

I completely disagree. American Football is losing its luster for a lot of fans. Rugby will only get popular in the US when we start winning something, and the Olympics Rugby 7s are a chance to go for that. There are over 1500 rugby clubs in the US right now, and it's growing.

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Anonymous October 22, 2009 6:10 am

This guy's electric, sure love to see him in action again RWC 2011

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Andy October 22, 2009 9:38 am


Rugby may be growing, which is great but it will never get to the level of American football (which is americas version of rugby, that's where it came from).

Rugby will keep growing there but can you see the 80,000 people turning out to watch the games, how are they going to fit advertisments in every 5 minutes when they're shown on tv? How are they ever going to have the money to lure the athletes away from NFL?

It's a possiblity in the future but not for a very very long time. Which is a good thing becasue i agree that the US would be one of the top sides if rugby was a major sport.

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Anonymous October 22, 2009 6:04 pm

Anyone know any information on salaries for pro players in Magners, Guinness P, Top 14, Super 14, etc?

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Greiffel October 22, 2009 6:32 pm

Phil, well said mate. Thank you.

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NGWENYA IS ZIMBABWEA October 24, 2009 2:44 am

His name is Takudzwa Ngwenya, Zimbabwean born and raised. The nickname ZEE comes from the fact that americans cant say TAKUDZWA!!! Oh and the coment from canadian: what the fuck has any of this got to do with west africa or african american. ? Zimbabwe is Southern Africa!!! YOU IDIOT.

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Anonymous October 26, 2009 10:50 am

Of course United states and NFL have plenty of great athletes that would make great rugby players.
But NFL players also can work on building muscle half the year when professional rugby players play 30-40 games in the season. And with all respect we could also talk of doping, which is a tradition in the NFL...How can 240 pounds people can run as fast as Ngwenya as he says in an interview?

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