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British and Irish Lions Tour to New Zealand - The Lions, representing the four Home Countries (England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland), enjoyed a successful tour in New Zealand with five wins, three losses. and two draws. Importantly, the All Star XV, tied the All Blacks at 1-1-1, in the three Test Match series.
The team, under the aegis of Coach Warren Gatland, started out poorly with two losses to New Zealand Super League clubs followed by a 30-15 thrashing by New Zealand. The visitors rallied in the second Test to win 24-21, and managed a 15-15 tie in the final Test.
The three Tests proved that the All Blacks were not invincible, and that July loss to the Lions marked the first of two defeats in 2017 as the All Blacks faltered against Australia in October, playing away in Brisbane.
Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland – The eighth edition of the Women’s RWC took place in Ireland (Dublin, Belfast) with New Zealand emerging as the winners in a 41-32 Cup final against England, 2014 champions. The Black Ferns, led by Portia Woodman, Women’s Player of the Year, went undefeated in the contest, and avenged an earlier in the season loss to the Red Roses. Total attendance of the thirty matches set a record with 45,412, but a smaller, Cup final tally of 17,115, was down from over 20,000 at Stade Jean Bouin in Paris 2014.
France won the Bronze medal beating the USA 31-23, the Eagles attained a fine fourth-place result, two higher than their sixth place finish in 2014 WRWC.
World Rugby Flubs 2023 RWC Selection – The effort to be more transparent on the quadrennial RWC selection backfired when a second vote reversed the preliminary choice of South Africa to host the 2023 Cup. That larger, second vote awarded France the RWC for the second occasion since 2007. The ultimate vote used money as the sole criteria with France’s bid significantly greater than South Africa or Ireland.
Sevens Sets Attendance Records – The post 2016 Rio Olympic Games witnessed more attendees for the Men’s ten-circuit, HSBC World Rugby sevens. More fans showed up in Cape Town and Sydney, which replaced venues from other cities. South Africa won the tournament as Fiji and New Zealand experienced off years. The USA’s Perry Baker was named Men’s Sevens Player of the Year. The Women’s Sevens managed six events, including a last-minute tournament in Las Vegas. New Zealand with five circuit wins (Canada the sixth) finished far ahead of Australia, the 2016 circuit and Olympic Gold winner. The USA ended sixth after a disastrous start of only two points in the Dubai event, the first of the season.