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Georgia Tech vs. Cumberland

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?





If the gap gets over 60 points - the team that is ahead - kickoffs regardless of which team scores. That way the team winning by a landslide will get some kickoff practice also and the losing team gets some experience returning kickoffs.
Unfortunately this will not work. I will only run the scores up more. Rugby is a game of field position. Allowing the team with the 60+ score to kick off after scoring only puts the ball into the 60- teams end of the field making the the field position advantage for the 60+ team even better.
After a certain point it is no longer a match and it really is a scrimmage. The losers should have the opportunity of work on some skills other than just defense. For the lopsided losers it might be better than – kickoff – other team scores – kickoff again – repeat 29 times until the final whistle. For 199-0 a try is scored every 2 ½ minutes. The losing team is probably not well conditioned so they will not be rushing to make the kickoff. So maybe out of every 2 ½ minutes there is, at most, one minute of play? If the losing team can catch the ball they might be able to hold onto it for more than a minute before turning it over. Just a thought.