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Do you NH fans realise that England has more people playing rugby than the tri-nations combined?

Answers:1   |   LastAnswerAt:2011.03  

Asked at 2011.03.02 23:27:37
I saw someone post the following comment:

"thats the difference so for nh teams to be even competing against teams like new zealand is an achievement i think considering the difference in numbers playing rugby in each country!"

Do you realise that England has more people playing the game than New Zealand, Australia and South Africa combined?

I'm certain France has more than NZ and Aus too.

Someone can feel free to try and prove me wrong.

England has every advantage, yet is still found wanting.
answer Dave M  Answered at 2011.03.02 23:27:37
There's nothing surprising about those figures. I recall decades ago being really surpised at statistics that placed NZ way down the list, and if memory serves me correctly player numbers in England were actually a quite astonishing ten times as great.

Possibly the relative emphasis of the sport in a country outweighs numbers. Rugby is the national sport of NZ and SA, and I suppose league is in Aussie so union has also become prominent. To the best of my knowledge Wales would be the only NH country that that would be true of.

In New Zealand, I suspect player numbers are actually declining, and I am fairly certain more school children now play soccer. But the passion to win will always be with rugby. It's a religion, part of the culture. Irrespective of numbers, wanting to be an All Black is a phenomenal motivation. Probably in the same way that masses of English kids dream of emulating their soccer stars.

Interestingly, the most truly passionate English team I've seen in my lifetime was the 2003 World cup winning team. The likes of Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dellagio... they weren't just good players, they seemed to have that passion and self-belief, dare I say a quiet arrogance. That factor doesn't come in vast numbers, you just need 15 of them.
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