Rugby World Top Stories August 2016

Despite August not being a traditional month for rugby union in the Northern Hemisphere, much has been happening throughout the month, in the rugby world.

The Olympic rugby sevens tournament was the first time the sport had been played at an Olympic Games in this format and it was a great success. Rugby Union was last played at the 1924 Olympics and both the men’s and women’s events made it a triumphant return for the sport. Fiji came away with the gold medal in the men’s event, defeating Great Britain in the final and Australia took the gold in the women’s event, defeating their rivals, New Zealand.

Following the Olympic rugby sevens, the 2016 Rugby Championship began, with Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa competing for the title. With Argentina now a full member of SANZAAR and a match between themselves and Australia being played at Twickenham, it’s going to be an interesting year for the event. There are six rounds of fixtures in total and New Zealand and South Africa both started with wins. South Africa defeated Argentina 30-23 and New Zealand crushed Australia in Sydney, 42-8, to cement their status as championship favourites. It’s going to take a monumental effort, from the other teams, to stop New Zealand winning the 2016 Rugby Championship.

Perhaps one of the biggest off-field stories to emerge in August, was prior to the meeting between Australia and New Zealand. The All Blacks found a bugging device in their hotel meeting room in Sydney and the police were called in to deal with it. The Australian Rugby Union have said it was nothing to do with them and judging by the score line come the end of the match, they are obviously telling the truth.

Remaining in the Southern Hemisphere and Hurricanes were crowned winners of the 2016 Super Rugby season in August. It was their first Super Rugby title and they defeated the Lions 20-3 in Wellington. Having played superbly up until the final last year, only to fall apart on the big occasion, this was a great win for the Hurricanes, who will be looking to dominate over the next few years.

Finally, and with the Lions tour of New Zealand coming up next summer, it looks likely Warren Gatland will be the man to take charge again, as he did in Australia in 2013. The official announcement is not due until the 7th September but with the other leading candidate, Eddie Jones unavailable, the man who led the Lions to their first series victory since South Africa in 1997, is sure to get the nod.