Don’t get left out of the Scrum
Very few sporting occasions can match the atmosphere of a top-flight rugby match. The sheer size, skill and physicality of the players can often make for clashes of gladiatorial proportions, making it one of the most exciting of all spectator sports.
This year may be drawing to a close but the season is already in full swing and fans can rest assured they are in for a real feast of rugby in 2013. In England, Harlequins and Saracens are setting the pace in the Aviva Premiership displacing for now the traditional powerhouse teams Leicester, Bath and Gloucester.
In the Rabodirect Pro12, Brian O’Driscoll’s Leinster team are making the early running with their traditional rivals Munster not far behind. Leinster got one over the men from Thomond Park in October so the rematch in April is likely to be something to savour. The tussle between the Welsh and Scottish regions look set to be equally exciting with the Swansea-based Ospreys returning to form and the robust Glasgow squad chalking up some notable wins so far.
January sees the culmination of the Heineken Cup’s group stages. French teams Toulouse, Toulon and Clermont have all made imposing starts to Europe’s premier rugby competition although Harlequins and Saracens are also fairing well. Sarries must however make the difficult trip to Racing Metro while Leicester will be looking to gain revenge for their defeat at Toulouse.
The LV Cup, which pits the best Welsh teams against their English counterparts, also boasts some mighty tussles with a mouth-watering double header in February set to be a highlight. The Ospreys take on an exciting Harlequins outfit at home while the Scarlets host English heavyweights Leicester at Parc-y-Scarlets.
The Six Nations, the showpiece of the rugby calendar, will see last year’s Grand Slam winners Wales seeking to retain their crown. The task for the Welsh looks tough however with a resurgent England squad – with new coach Stuart Lancaster at the helm – looking impressive. The strength of the Irish and Scottish forward packs is not to be discounted while France, who will be hugely disappointed with their performance last time, out, will be out for revenge.
This year, of course is British and Irish Lions year and thousands of fans are expected to make the long journey south to see their heroes take on the Australians in a thunderous three-match test series. The cream of the best rugby playing talent on these shores will also play seven other fixtures, including a one-off match in Hong Kong against the Barbarians.
Watching any top-flight sport these days isn’t cheap however and rugby unfortunately is no different. The cost of tickets, travel, pre and post match drinks (and snacks) can make for an expensive day out.
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