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A few weeks ago, one college XV beat another 199-0. It’s unimportant who. And, we’re positive the winning coach substituted freely without trying to run up the score to embarrass the opponent. That total of 199 points equates to about 28 converted tries.
After the last World Rugby scoring changes, rugby tallies exploded throughout the world, creating a wider disparity than gridiron football. Of course, in football, there exists a defined offense and defense so the possible time to score is less than rugby with its dynamic, back and forth the pitch fluidity. Still, a weekly perusal of results of clubs and schools in the USA and abroad, constantly reveals rout after rout by wide margins.
(The famous Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland all-time football scoring rout in 1916 occurred because Cumberland dropped football, but Georgia coach, John Heisman, insisted the other school play or pay a penalty of $3,000 - valued today at about $70,000).
To address this outcome solely in the US, the question becomes one of a school’s commitment to developing the sport. Domestically, some, but not all of the variables contributing to the scoring disparity, are:
- Varsity status with university sanction as opposed to club;
- Hiring a paid, seasoned, full-time coach with or without a staff;
- Accessibility to fields and training facilities;
- Alumni financial solicitation and overall support; and,
- Student recruitment and commitment.
Do these factors and others create a have versus have-not status among universities where those institutions that treat rugby as a casual activity are consigned to lose week in and week out by big scores? Judgmentally, if so, how dedicated will men and women rugby athletes be to playing season after season, knowing some opponents will win convincingly?
Are landslide school victories hurting the sport? A question for discussion, perhaps?