How to finally settle rugby’s hemisphere debate?
Equator (noun): An imaginary line drawn around the earth equally distant from both poles, dividing the earth into northern and southern hemispheres. Dividing is indeed the word that comes to mind.
There is definitely one question that divides rugby union fans around the world. For as long as anyone remembers, this has been the question that will spur the fiercest of debates. And as every rugby fan knows, the equator does not only split the world in half geographically, but the rugby union world emphatically.
Or maybe I’m just slightly exaggerating it.
Nonetheless, the question is “Which hemisphere is better at rugby?”
There is only one way it can be settled. A Northern Hemisphere versus Southern Hemisphere match, the match to end years and years of debate.
Although many antipodeans will obviously point to the SANZAR nations’ stranglehold on the top three world rankings, the British and Irish Lions are not exactly regarded as a weak outfit. Throw the the likes of France and Italy in the mix (some may scoff at this reference to Italy, but I assume not many would scoff to Sergio Parisse’s face) and you have one hell of a side in prospect.
Likewise, a combination of the Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Argentina teams would be just as devastating. Can one imagine a backline of Ma’a Nonu, Digby Ioane and Francois Steyn facing up against Manu Tuilagi, Brian O’Driscoll and Vincent Clerc? My god.
This would be a rivalry that stems not only from geographical lines, but completely different rugby ideologies about how the game should be played. The flashy and slick running style of the South juxtaposed against the gritty and brutal physicality of the North.
Or maybe I am, yet again, making too much of this.
Despite its potential to be the most mouthwatering of rugby feasts, it just hasn’t happened yet. Why not? Some point to the congestion of the rugby calendar, and some point to the lack of interest. Yes, some will also say that there was already a SH versus NH match in 2005 for the tsunami charity. I’m not quite sure that it counts, though.
Still, I do believe that if this match were ever to happen it would be an absolute blockbuster.
I realise that I’m obviously not the first on The Roar to write about the North-South divide, and definitely not the last, but the question of which hemisphere holds superiority is one that just needs to be answered.
My question for the meantime, however, is who would be in your Southern Hemisphere or Northern Hemisphere XV?
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