Rugby World Cup – thoughts so far

The Rugby World Cup is 12 days old and so far it’s already throw up lots of tries, controversy, upsetting losses, the shock result of the decade and even a bit of romance.

England got the tournament off to a nervy but winning start against Fiji on the opening night with 9.4 million UK viewers tuning in but the amount of TMO (television match official) stoppages put a bit of a downer on the evening. With such a high calibre world event the officials want to make sure they get things right and as the competition has gone on this area seems to be a lot smoother.

The opening weekend produced the shock result of the tournament/year/decade when unlikely hero’s Japan beat twice World Cup winners South Africa 34-32 scoring a try with the last play of the match. South Africa approached the match in a very arrogant way trying to physically dominate the Japanese and not playing any creative rugby but Japan were up to the task stepping up in the contact areas, moving the ball quickly into space and trying lots of different things making sure the South Africans couldn’t settle into the match. Scotland are looking like a very competitive side and I fully expect them to qualify for the knock out stages but have some tough games against South African and Samoa to come. Ireland who are probably the best placed northern hemisphere side to win the Rugby World Cup face their biggest challenge so far in Italy and France but with how secure they’ve looked so far in their 2 pool matches they should finish top of their group. New Zealand, tournament favourites, arguably have the easiest pool and will easily finish as pool winners but are likely to face France in the Quarter finals who have a habit of scaring New Zealand in World Cups and have knocked them out on two occasions, let hope this happens again.

England suffered a truly upsetting result against Wales last Saturday throwing away a 10 point lead to lose 28-25. England shot themselves in the foot with the amount of stupid penalties they gave away and Dan Biggar the welsh fly half didn’t feel like missing off the kicking tee. England’s team selection was far too conservative for my liking and it played into the Welsh hands. To really compete on the International level you have to threaten to score tries and England didn’t pick a side that could do that. In my opinion this English side doesn’t have enough international experience to win the World Cup but should still make it out of the pool.

Who do I think will win the Rugby World Cup? Its New Zealand’s to lose but my heart still wants England to surprise me. If I was to put money on it I would go for Ireland

A bit of romance to finish off with, Florin Surugiu, Romanian scrum half put his sides 44-10 loss to Ireland quickly behind him on Sunday as he proposed to his girlfriend on the pitch at Wembley following the game. He got down on one knee in front of the Romanian squad on the pitch and a few fans that were still in the stands. Rugby is a beautiful game.

 

Author: Guest Blogger John Naylor, Cambridge University Rugby Development Manager

Show your appreciation with a Living Sport Sports Award

Nominations for the Living Sport Sports Awards have been underway for two weeks now. This year sees the addition of a “Community Volunteer of the Year” award resulting in there now being 13 award categories. All the categories including Young Community Volunteer of the Year and Community Club of the Year can be found here.

The purpose of the Living Sport Sports Awards is to recognise and celebrate the achievements of talented sportsmen & women, coaches, volunteers, organisations and clubs from all across the county.

Speaking of their award on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire last Thursday, Catherine Blee, chairperson of Cambourne Netball Club who won Community Club of the Year 2014, said “Awards like this are so important. They go a long way in recognising just some of the volunteer hours that go into clubs. There are only so many times I can say thank you to the girls for all the hours they put in and an award like this really does go some way towards showing the appreciation we have for all those volunteer hours.”

Without volunteers, most local clubs or community activities wouldn’t run and it is important to ensure that they feel their contributions are valued. Our Sports Awards go somewhere towards doing that.

Below, Laura Mott writes about her experience winning the Young Community Volunteer of the Year award 2014:

Last year I was lucky enough to be nominated for the Living Sport Awards 2014. I hadn’t known I was nominated until I got the email saying I had been short listed. I was so shocked and pleased to be recognised for my volunteering.

Many people ask me why I volunteer. Many of them often exclaim “You give up your time?! For free?” and I always reply with “Yes because I know the impact sport has had upon me and how much it has changed my life and given my so many skills and opportunities that are difficult to find elsewhere – and by volunteering I have the opportunity to inspire others and impact and possibly even change their lives for the better and that is why I volunteer.”

Being recognised for the work I do meant so much to me because it shows the impact volunteers have. Without volunteers most clubs and events wouldn’t run, for example the London 2012 Olympics with the Games Makers and how key they were to the Games being run so smoothly.

If you haven’t already done so it is so important to nominate because it gives people such a motivational boost and encouragement in the fact that they know they are doing the right thing. Sport changes lives and by nominating someone it proves to them that they are worth it and they get the recognition they deserve.

If you think there is an individual/organisation/sports club or school worthy of nomination and they meet the criteria for an award then don’t delay and nominate them today!

Photo: Laura Mott with Sue Dougan, host of the Living Sport Sports Awards 2014.

Living Sport Sports Awards – let the nominations begin!

The Living Sport Sports Awards launched yesterday on 1st September and due to another fantastic year of local sport our team is now waiting in anticipation to start receiving nominations.

Across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough we have seen another successful year in sport with outstanding performances in international competitions from locally based athletes, teams and clubs. In the local press we have read stories of inspirational individuals overcoming adversity and/or making a positive contribution to our community and now we wait to see if people will nominate them.

There are 13 award categories this year – yes that is one more than last year! Although we have had the Services to Sport category which recognises the commitment of individuals over a long period of time, we have now added the category ‘Community Volunteer of the Year’ which is to recognise the hard work of volunteers whether it be over recent months or years. It is important we recognise the impact that volunteers have as, without them, many sports and many clubs would struggle to keep momentum.

Many athletes and clubs have truly excelled themselves this year through national events but also more locally, whether it’s promotion to another division or reaching a new personal best. We are all happy to cheer our guys and girls on from the comfort of our own sofa or from the side-lines at the events themselves but, by our nominating them; they can receive recognition for their hard work and achievements.

This is not to say that the onside support isn’t great, after all it is instant recognition, and when the crowd cheers it can really inspire the athletes to push themselves beyond their limits. However, our annual Sports Awards are a great opportunity to recognise their achievements throughout the year – not just for one occasion. If these people can put in the effort to train, develop and improve themselves then surely we can spend 5 minutes to nominate them for one or more award?

There are 13 categories to choose from and it isn’t all about the sports performers. We also have awards for those who have dedicated their time to develop their sport, or sport in general, within their local community. These awards include the Power of Sport, Services to Sport and Young Community Volunteer of the Year awards. And then there is the Jonnie Peacock award which recognises those undertaking sporting challenges to make a difference in their own way.

With the introduction of the Workplace Challenge, we have had numerous businesses over the year who have entered our events and competitions; developing their sporting abilities as well as skills such as leadership and teamwork. If your workplace can give you the time for sport and achieve a healthier and fitter lifestyle, then surely nominating them for Workplace of the Year award is a massive thank you?

A common reason people give is that they don’t have the time to fill in nomination forms or they take too long. However, we do need to make sure each nomination really reflects a nominee’s achievements that year against a basic set of criteria so that each nomination can be judged fairly. Another reason why people don’t nominate is that they think someone else will nominate that person/club, or didn’t think they could nominate – and actually anyone can nominate; whether that is the individual themselves, a family member, friend, colleague or even someone unknown who is inspired by the achievements from afar. If you think someone is worthy of a nomination, then don’t wait – we would rather receive 10 nominations for 1 person or organisation than none at all.

It is important to recognise the hard work people put into their sport or in promoting sport within the county so they will feel inspired to continue their hard work. We see the importance of recognising those who invest time in sport, in whatever guise, and thus see the importance of the hosting our annual Awards which are now in their 10th year.

What we would say is – ‘Don’t delay, nominate today!’ Please spend those 5 minutes to complete and submit your nomination. Details of how to nominate and the categories can be found here.

Photo: Young Sports Performer of the Year award winner Daniel Bullen with award sponsor Samantha Triggs, from 3B Design and Print.