What is the Sipi Tau?

What is the Sipi Tau?  Akin to the Haka, famously performed by the New Zealand All Blacks, the Sipi Tau is a ferocious war dance performed by the Tonga national rugby union team, a.k.a. the Ikale Tahi, or Sea Eagles, by way of laying down a challenge to the opposition. The current version of the Sipi Tau was written at the best of the erstwhile King of Tonga, Tāufaʻāhau Tupou IV, to commemorate a successful, albeit short, tour of New Zealand in 1994. The dance, which originally took over two minutes to perform, is accompanied by an emotional, highly charged war cry, which warns, ominously, ‘Today, destroyer of souls, I am everywhere.’

The Sipi Tau was first performed, in its contemporary form, at the third Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995. Nevertheless, while far from being an ancient ritual, the Sipi Tau serves as a reminder of the history and culture of the Pacific Islands and, for the Tongan players, evokes the warrior spirit of their seafaring ancestors. Prior to the Sipi Tau, the Sea Eagles traditionally performed another Tongan cultural dance, known as the Kailao, which involved clubs or sticks.

When, and where, did Italy last win a Six Nations match?

When, and where, did Italy last win a Six Nations match?  Following what is best described as a ‘purple patch’ in the history of Italian rugby, in 2000, the ‘Azzurri’, as the national rugby union team is known, joined the Six Nations Championship. Indeed, Italy marked its Six Nations debut with an emphatic 34-20 win over defending champions Scotland at Stadio Flaminio, Rome. However, despite some encouraging performances, Italy has, on the whole, found competing against the top rugby union-playing countries in Europe rather heavy going.

At the time of writing, Italy last won a Six Nations match since beating Scotland 22-19, courtesy of match-winning penalty try, at Murrayfield on February 28, 2015. Indeed, the Azzurri have lost every Six Nations match since, with their latest crushing 50-10 defeat by France, in Rome, extending their losing streak to 28. Unsurprisingly, Italy won the Six Nations’ ‘Wooden Spoon’ in

2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and may be hard pressed to avoid winning it again in 2021.

Recent results are a far cry from the ‘halcyon days’ of 2007, when Italy recorded back-to-back victories over Scotland, away, and Wales, at home, and finished fourth in the Six Nations’ table. So far, in fact, that some observers to question whether or not Italy still deserves a place in the competition at all.

Who is credited with inventing Rugby Union?

Who is credited with inventing Rugby Union?  Traditionally, the person credited with inventing Rugby Union is William Webb Ellis, although there is little or no direct evidence to support this view, however popular and widely accepted it may be. Legend has that, in 1832, Webb Ellis, a student at Rugby School in Warwick, sought to gain an advantage in a game of ‘football’ by picking up the ball and running with it in his hands. Of course, that was in direct contravention of the rules of the game, such that they were, but by introducing a handling element Webb Ellis sowed the seeds for what would become the modern game of Rugby Union.

This possibly apocryphal account, which has been called into question more than once, was cited in ‘The Origins of Rugby Football’, published by the Old Rugbeian Society in 1897 and, by the early twentieth century, was well established, regardless of its veracity. What we do know for certain, though, is that Rugby School was instrumental in the development of Rugby Union, including the adoption of the first written code of rules in 1845. Rightly or wrongly, William Webb Ellis is commemorated by the ‘Webb Ellis Trophy’, which is presented to the winners of the Rugby World Cup.

Who scored the fastest recorded try in a rugby union match?

Who scored the fastest recorded try in a rugby union match?  According to Guinness World Records, the fastest recorded try in a rugby union match is credited to Doncaster Knights’ winger Tyson Lewis, who scored after just 7.24 seconds against Old Albanians in a National Clubs Association (NCA) Rugby match in St. Albans in 2013. At professional level, the same source credits Leeds Carnegie winger Lee Blackett, who scored after 8.26 seconds against Newcastle Falcons in a Premiership match at Headingley in 2008, with the fastest recorded try.

That said, in a World Rugby Junior World Championship match in Pukekohe, New Zealand in 2014 Wales’ wing Dafydd Howells chased down the kick-off and scored after 7 seconds against Fiji; although his effort was not ‘officially’ recognised, it was one of the fastest, if not the fastest, try ever scored in international rugby union.

As records stand, at senior international, or ‘Test’, level, Scottish centre John Leslie, who scored direct from kick-off against Wales in the last ever Five Nations match at Murrayfield in 1999, in less than 10 seconds, is credited with the fastest try ever. At the Rugby World Cup, Australian fly-half Elton Flatley crossed the line just 18 seconds after kick-off against Romania at Lang Park, Brisbane in 2003 and holds the record for fastest try in that sphere.

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