Sports, City Picks

International Rugby

When: Sat., July 4, 4 p.m. 2009

Most people, myself included, have only an inkling of what rugby really entails. A typical image is of a barbarian horde of 15 grizzly brutes bashing their heads together until blood spews from their brows. And with an injury rate reported to be nearly three times higher than both soccer and football, this image seems perfectly valid. Take the player from Brisbaine, for example, who played for more than three months last year without knowing that an opponent’s tooth was embedded in his head. Who are these freaks of nature? They’re rugby players — and they’re coming to Charleston. This Independence Day, the USA Men’s National Team will take on the rival Canada in a 2011 World Cup Qualifier match at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island. The cross-border clash is the first of a two-legged North American Qualification playoff between USA and Canada, with the second match to be played on Canadian turf. “It is imperative for us to reach the Rugby World Cup,” says USA Eagles Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan. “We have got to beat Canada on July 4 and 11 to go straight through.” We’d say this is one game both the players and the spectators won’t be taking lightly. When the two teams met last year in Chicago, the USA suffered a devastating loss after Canada thundered back in the second half. This time around, a healthy blend of next generation players alongside more experienced veterans could do the trick for Team USA. The match will be broadcast LIVE in HD on ESPN.

Nick Rosser

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