The Top 5 Most Successful Rugby Nations

Throughout the history of rugby, two nations have consistently stood head and shoulders above the rest - New Zealand and South Africa.

Number one spot should probably go to New Zealand. New Zealand's national side, the All Blacks, is the most revered side in the world of rugby. Any New Zealander, who pulls on the famous black rugby jersey, will take the field with the backing and expectations of the whole country. Failure is not an option.

The All Blacks consistently field world-class players, who achieve results that other nations can only envy. Since their first test match in 1903, the All Blacks have played 487 tests, winning a staggering 75%, winning two Rugby World Cups and are the current World Champions.

The All Blacks have a long rivalry with the South African Springboks. Rugby in South Africa almost has the status of a religion and the supporters are fanatical. The country has a reputation for producing big, uncompromising players with immense skill and, before the introduction of professional rugby and neutral referees, the South Africans were almost impossible to defeat in a test series on home soil.

The Springboks have won the Rugby World Cup twice, in 1995 and 2007. Since their first international against a British Isles side in 1891, the Springboks have played 407 tests with a win ratio of 63%.

Although they are currently listed just above the Springboks, at second in the IRB rankings, the Australian Wallabies fall behind them if history is taken into account. As rugby is not Australia's most popular game, support there is less fanatical than in New Zealand and South Africa. Expectations, however, are just as high and the Wallabies usually deliver.

The Wallabies have played the majority of their rugby against the All Blacks and Springboks, which has greatly affected their win-loss ratio. However, this still stands at 52% from 507 matches. They have won the Rugby World Cup twice, 1991 and 1999, and are a force to be reckoned with whenever they play.

Currently ranked fourth in the world by the IRB are England. This is probably a fair reflection of their rugby history. England played their first, and incidentally the world's first ever international, against Scotland in 1871 - and lost. Since then, however, they have been the most successful of the European sides.

Overall, England has played 654 internationals with a win rate of 57%. Although this is better than Australia's, it must be remembered that the Wallabies have played the top two sides far more often. England's record is affected by the side's inconsistent performances on tour, some of which have been very poor, in the modern era mainly due to the unavailability of first choice players. At present, England remains the only northern hemisphere side to have won the Rugby World Cup (2003).

Rounding out the best five rugby nations is the rugby-mad Welsh. Although ranked at 6 on the IRB rankings list, one place below France, Wales' proud rugby history gives them fifth spot on this most successful nations list. The Welsh are passionate about their rugby but the national side has seen periods of greatness and gloom. The brightest period of Welsh rugby was probably the period from 1969 to 1979, when the Welsh side was considered to be one of the finest sides of all time. Almost impossible to beat at home, the team provided the majority of players for the successful British Lions tours of New Zealand (1971) and South Africa (1974).

Welsh rugby then fell into the doldrums until around 2006, when the national side won the six nations Grand slam. Although Wales have never won the Rugby World Cup, the future is looking brighter.

Osasuna Gives Barcelona a Hand

Real Mardrid lost 1-0 on the road at Osasuna and the price they paid was high, as now Barcelona has increased their advantage to seven points.

Keeping up the pace of a team that is breaking all the records in the Liga BBVA sure was a difficult task for any of the 19 clubs competing against Barcelona, and the only team that seemed qualified to do so was Real Madrid. After this weekend it is evident that not even Real Madrid has what it takes to do so. The white team stepped into the Reyno de Navarra stadium on Sunday with the pressure of being seven points away from the leader Barcelona, and needed to win in order to maintain the four point difference that separated them prior to match day 21.

Things didn't go well at all for Real Madrid as they lost 1-0 against Osasuna, and saw how Barcelona increased their margin of error as the defending champions won their match against Hercules on Saturday by 3-0. The last two road games for the white team have been a failure, as they tied to one against Almeria and with this loss they have seen how a two point difference turns into seven.

The road games have been the key for Barcelona, as they have a perfect record of 10-0-0 in contrast with Real Madrid's 6-3-2. With their win against Hercules, the red and blue team didn't just avenge the only game that they have lost this season - against Hercules 2-0 at home during match day two-, but also tied the record of most consecutive wins in La Liga, which had been established by Real Madrid in the 1960/61 season with 15 victories in a row.

In the first half of the season they also established a new record of points with 52, relegating to the second place the squads' previous mark: the 50 points they harvested in the first 19 games of the 2008-09 season. If they keep up with this pace until the end of the season, the 99 points with which they clinched their second La Liga title in a row will definitely be surpassed.

In other important results, Villareal visited Espanyol and won three important points on the road thanks to a great goal from Guissepe Rossi after a good team play in minute 44 of the first half. With that victory Villareal keeps holding on to the third place that gives direct access to the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League. The yellow team reached the sum of 45 points, and increased the distance with Valencia to four points, as the Che team tied to one against Racing, losing two points.

Another team that took advantage of their contenders was Athletic Club that benefited from Espanyol's loss and their victory against Atletico de Madrid by 2-0. With their win they shorten distances with Espanyol (37) that is fifth -and are now just two points away with 35- and won the battle against Atletico for the sixth place that gives access to the 2011-12 Europa League cup.

Of the three teams -Levante, Almeria and Malaga -fighting against relegation -with 18, 17 and 17 points respectively-, only Levante obtained a victory. It was a 2-0 win at home against Getafe. Malaga lost at home to Zaragoza 1-2, while Almeria lost on the road 2-0 to Real Sociedad.

Match day 22 will be played this coming weekend February 5-6 with Atletico de Madrid at Barcelona as the main dish on Saturday.

Around The First Four of The Big Four I

Setback for Barcelona in Gijon

On their trip to Gijon, Barcelona tied their second match of the season 1-1 against Sporting for match day 22. La Liga leaders where down by one since minute 16, and with 11 minutes to go before the end David Villa was able to send the ball over golie Ivan Cuellar with a an elegant play to even the score. Barcelona gets to 62 points after leaving behind two points, something from which their closest contender, Real Madrid, would benefit from.

An eight-point difference separated Real Madrid from Barcelona prior to their visit to Espanyol. With a win the Whites could reduce that difference to five, which they ended up doing thanks to a lonely goal from Marcelo in the 23rd minute of the first half. From the first play of the game Real Madrid played with ten players after goalie Iker Casillas got a direct red card for a foul on Jose Callejon outside the penalty area.

In the fight for the third place Virrareal lost it to Valencia due to their defeat at La Coruna by 1-0 against Deportivo. That result combined with Valencia's on the road 2-1 win versus Atletico de Madrid, via two goals from Joaquin Sanchez, gave them the lead in the standings with 47 points over 45 from Virrareal.

Wonderfull Cassano

In Italy, Milan got back to the victory lane after tying two games in a row. Their victim was Parma, whom they defeated at home by a resounding 4-0. Antonio Cassano was the MVP of the game scoring one goal and assisting in both of Robinho's goals. Clarence Seedoorf had opened the score previously. With 52 points Milan continues on top of the Serie A after 25 rounds.

Three points away comes Napoli putting more pressure on them. The Azurri defeated Roma on the road by 2-0, both goals scored by their striker Edison Cavani, who reached to 20 goals in the season and is the top scorer of the Serie A.

No. 3 Lazio defeated Brescia 2-0 on the road and now has 45 goals where scored by Alvaro Gonzales in the first half and Libor Kozak in the second.

While for the fourth place and defending champions Inter this was a negative round, as they lost on their visit to Turin by 1-0 versus Juventus. Now their city rivals and Serie A leaders have increased to eight points the distance between them, but to their favor is the fact that they have one pending game against Fiorentina, which if won this Wednesday will reduce the difference to five points once again.

Rooney's overhead kick wins Manchester's derby

In the city of Manchester's derby between the Red Devils and the Citizens one of the best goals of the year was scored. It was an overhead kick by Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, when the game was tied to one in the 78th minute of play time. Previously Nani had given the lead in the score to the Red Devils with four minutes to go before the end of the first half. Later in the second half David Silva was going to even things up for the Citizens, until Rooney scored the winner goal that gave Manchester United three more points.

The Red Devils continue in the first place of the Premier League standings with 57 points and one pending match, while the Citizens remain in third place with 49 points after 27 rounds.

Second place Arsenal -who also has a pending game- defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers at home 2-0. Both goals where scored by Robinvan Persie, one in each half. The Gunners reached 53 points withthat victory, keeping alive their chances of winning the Premier League for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

Benefited from Chelsea's tie with no goals against Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur took the forth place away from the Blues with their 2-1 on the road victory against Sunderland. The Spurs overcame an early goal from Asamoah Gyan with two goal from Michael Dawson in the first half, and Niko Kranjcar in the second for the come-from-behind victory.Tottenham is now fourth with 47 points, two more than Chelsea.

The leaders lose two points in Kaiserslautern

Borussia Dortmund, leader of the Bundesliga with 52 points in 22 games, was only able to tie to one in their visit to Bender goal had put Borussia ahead in the score with nine minutes to go, but a crunch time goal from Jan Moravek evened things up for the home team, frustrating the No. 1 team.

Bayer Leverkusen had no problems in their visit to Eintracht Frankfurt and comfortably won 3-0 to put themselves two points closer to the leader Borussia Dortmund, but the distance is still considerable as 10 points separates them. Simon Rolfes and Renato Augusto in the first half, along with Hanno Balitsch in the second scored the goals.

The same situation was experienced by Bayer Munich, who had no problems to overcome their rival TSG Hoffenheim at home by 4-0, but is still far away -13 point difference- from the leaders. The goals were product of Mario Gomes and Thomas Muller in the first half, and Arjen Robben twice in the second one. With the victory Bayern reached to 39 points in Bundesliga and is third.

No. 4 Hannover 96 did suffer a setback in their visit to Werder Bremen, as they tied to one a game that they were winning with Didier Ya Konan's goal in the 26th minute of the first half, but a distraction during the second half in a free kick allowed Per Mertesacker to tie the game. With that result Hannover now has 38 points in 22 matches.

UEFA Champions League Play-Offs Ready For Second Leg

The winners from each series will make it into the final 32 teams that compose the group stage, which kicks-off September 13-14.

There are only ten tickets at stake for Europe's finest football club competition, and none of the 20 teams fighting for one want to be left out from it. The 2011-12 UEFA Champions League Playoffs began this week with several surprises, such as Villareal's 1-0 on the road loss against Odense, which just like the rest of squads that are down in the scoreboard will have to come from behind on leg 2 to claim group stage berth. These decisive games will be disputed August 23-24.

German giants Bayern Munich will travel to Zurich with the tranquility of a two-goal lead, thanks to Schweinsteiger's and Robben's goals. The hosts were fully in control of a game that they were going to end without setbacks, as they were able to keep a clean sheet.

Despite defeating Udinese at home 1-0 (Walcott) Arsenal left many doubts that night, doubts that will be present next Wednesday at Friuli stadium. Mentally vulnerable after the departure of their captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, and most likely Samir Nasri to Manchester City, the Gunners have serious problems to overcome.

With just six more minutes to go Virrareal suffered the goal that has them against the rope versus Odense. Andreasen scored the winner goal for the home team that could become one of the surprises of the competition if able to defend their lead at Madrigal Stadium next Tuesday.

Stunned 3-1 at home by Viktoria Plzen, Copenhagen will have to row against the tide on Wednesday in Czech Republic. Kolar, Pilar and Fillo scored for the visitors' and Ottensen the discount for the hosts that last season reached the knock out stage of the competition.

Lyon did make the best from the home field advantage, and overcame an early goal from Rubin Kazan (Dyadyun at minute 3) with three from Gomis, Kvirkvelia and Briad in the 3-1 win. This two goal lead place the Frenchmen with one foot in the group stage, but they can't relax for Wednesday's game at Russia promises to be a very tough one.

An exciting game was lived at the Netherlands between Twente and Benfica, which ended up tied to 2. De Jong gave the visitors the lead early in the game, until Cardozo leveled the score momentarily for The Tukkers, but then Nolito putted things 2-1 for the Portuguese squad, result with which they went to halftime. And with ten minutes to go Ruiz kept Twente's group stage aspirations alive by scoring the definite 2-2. Next game will be Wednesday.

In other results Dinamo Zagreb imposed themselves a home 4-1 over Malmo, results that allows them to travel to Sweden for Tuesday's game with their group stage berth pretty much secured. Wisla will have a tough visit to Cyprus, since they defeated APOEL by 1-0. The s ame goes for Israel's M. Haifa that will travel with the minimum difference to Belguim, where Genk will try to overcome the 2-1 Leg 1 loss on Tuesday. And on Wednesday BATE and Sturm Graz will be breaking the 1-1 tie with which Leg 1 ended.

The group stage kick-off September 13-14 with the defending champions Barcelona as the team to beat.

Soccer Field Diagram – Tips On Soccer Positions

What's really surprising to know is that coaches refuse to use a soccer field diagram to teach several different soccer formations to kids. Or in case they do it, they fall short of making the players appreciate the significance of 4 main positions. These 4 positions are Forwards, Midfielders, Defenders, and the Goalie. Let's individually talk about these.

Forwards: These are the players who place themselves by the opponent's goal. Their task is to turn the passes into goals that other players at several positions in field make. Because they will be the ones who make maximum shoots to the goal, they need to be very tough. This is important even if they do not have other skills of great quality.

Nonetheless, the other players shall apparently keep shifting from one position to a different position. Forward players when playing in the middle are known as strikers and when playing close to the touch lines, they are called wings. However, in accordance with their chief job as forwards, they need to have a tough body and strong shooting toes.

Mid-fielders: As is clear from the name, these players play in the middle of the soccer field. Their task is to get the ball, then pass it to the forward players so that they can move them into goalposts for scoring. There are either normally 5 or 6 mid-fielders. Define their position clearly in the soccer field diagram.

The coach should focus on improving the tackling and dribbling abilities of the players. This is really instrumental in stealing the ball from the opposition and attacking the opposition. Apart from this, they should be good at passing the ball. These are crucial soccer positions on the field diagram.

Defenders: These players protect the goal from attacks and hence are called defenders. As you can visualize, their position is crucial. They are 3 to 5 in number and guard the goal closely to avert attacks.

Apart from this, their task is to collect the ball from the goalie and pass it to the players. One skill that is primary to their armory is kicking the ball to far off midfielders and therefore the coach must help them develop this ability.

Goalie: This is the person who defends the goal post and never allows the attacks to convert to goals. When all other players are unsuccessful in defending the goal, the goalie must use his powers to subvert the attack.

Because the goalie can use his hands and the only one in the team allowed to do this, the coach should invent special soccer tactics, drills and exercises to make the most of it.

Now that you are armed with this information, you must create a soccer field diagram and then discuss these positions with your players. This will let them understand the significance of the various positions. Our youth soccer coaching community has several useful newsletters, articles, and videos. Enroll today to make the most of them and rise in your coaching career.

Drills For Soccer: Who Else Want To Learn Heading

Don't you just hate it when undertaking drills for soccer, your players are not able to head the ball properly? Heading the ball is an important skill that aids the players in controlling and maneuvering the ball when it's still afloat.

Several times in a match the ball will have to be passed in the air to get from one point to another. When it's easy for the players to use their head for stopping and capturing the ball, it means they'll retain the control of the ball in majority of instances.

A few soccer drills are there that have been devised with just one goal; developing player's heading talent. Let's discuss a few of those:

The players must be divided in groups of 2 to 3 players maximum, prior to starting with these drills.

Heading volleyball: The flawless method to master the skill of heading the ball is this. It is simple for two players to perform it alongside each other in such drills for soccer. It is exactly same as playing volleyball with the exception of that players throw the ball over to the other side of the net with their heads instead of hands. However, they can use their hands to serve the ball.

The points are given based on the players successfully heading the ball across the net. Badminton net can be used for performing this drill.

Juggling: Like in the previous drill, this too can be performed with 2 players or just one. In case of a single player, he or she can juggle the ball with their forehead. So hurl the ball aloft and start practicing immediately. It is but obvious that this drill is comparatively tougher and the player gets better at it by practicing.

In case of 2 players, they can throw the ball in the air and use their heads to throw it back to each other. The player who does not let the ball get down emerges the winner.

When you throw the ball, keep 2 players standing apart by 10 feet. Hurl the ball at them randomly and ask them to head it back. Keep in mind to tell them to jump before hitting the ball. This will help them learn the trick efficiently.

Here is a word of caution; Teach the players to head the ball in a way so that they use their forehead instead of top or side of their heads. If they do not do this, they will have headaches and there are chances of injury too.

This soccer practice is best achieved the following way; when the ball is approaching the player, he or she should focus on it and bring their forehead in line with the ball. Then they jump and hit so that the ball gets height and momentum.

Move ahead and include these drills for soccer in your training sessions. The sight of them using their head to hit the ball will surprise you. Our youth soccer coaching community has many more informative articles, newsletters, videos and other resources that will help you train your kids even better. Enroll today and reap the benefits.

Soccer Lessons How To Kick a Soccer Ball Adequately

The hints created here are for soccer model place kickers.

1. Positioning the ball:

The area kicker lines up 7 yards powering the middle. For practice reasons, start out about twenty yards from the intention posts. The ball need to have a slight backwards tilt irrespective of whether it is being set by the holder or put in a kicking tee.

2. Positioning the location kicker:

1st. Get one stride backwards from wherever the ball will be positioned.

2nd. Consider two or far more strides, relying on your comfort zone, to the aspect, measuring off the distance from in which the ball will be addressed.

third. It is very significant spot kickers constantly measure off the same distance irrespective of the distance essential to kick the discipline target.

4th. The correct angle for addressing and kicking the ball. Productive spot kickers come in on the ball from fifty percent the distance of their facet steps. Should subject intention kickers get 6 methods to the aspect, they want to take three steps in as the solution and kick the ball.

three. Appear at the up rights, visualize the ball sailing via, splitting the purpose posts.

4. Approaching the ball for the location kick:

1st: Kind of jab at the floor with the plant foot to begin the forward momentum.

2nd. Get the firs move with the kicking foot.

3rd. Get started coming in in direction of fifty percent the distance stepped out.

4th. As you are all set to kick the ball, beginning at the heel firmly get the plant foot planted in the floor.

5th. The plant foot must be pointing straight towards the aim posts, even with the ball and about 1 foot from the ball.

five. Kicking the ball

1st.Resting the excess weight on the plant foot, make guaranteed the entire body is dealing with the purpose posts.

2nd. Strike the ball with the higher bone of the middle of the foot.

3rd. Kick the ball in the reduce 3rd, in any other case you probability topping the ball. Kicking Decrease on the ball adds height.

4th. Hold the head down and abide by by means of extending the kicking leg as far as probable. Lifting the head early can induce the ball to go to the right for perfect footed kickers and left for left footed kickers.

Kickers really should do about 20 minutes of warm up workout routines just before practicing. These warm ups ought to contain stretching workout routines to keep away from pulled muscle tissues and get the most out of location kicking apply. Bear in mind it is top quality and not quantity that results in productive discipline intention kickers.

Finding out how to kick a soccer ball might get you a even though. As with every little thing else, training is the critical. You need to not be troubled if you can't get it correct specifically, alternatively focus on executing right and the success will come, I promise. Now, let us consider at what you want to know although training on your soccer kick.

The Soccer Kick Do's

Ordering Stanno Football Kits – How to Use The Team Dresser?

Notice that when you shop for clothes through local shops that you need to try the products on. You go inside a cubicle to fit the clothing. Well, with the team dresser provided whilst you order Stanno football kits, everything else will be easier. This particular tool or feature of Stanno's website will make your purchase all worth it. Get ready to use the team dresser to help you order your Stanno Football kits.

The team dresser is your virtual closet. It is as if fitting your clothes in department stores. The only difference is that you are not there to fit the clothes in your body. It may also be your shopping cart where you are given design and colour choices for the different parts of Stanno football kits.

How does the team dresser work for Stanno football kits?

Going to the team dresser site starts from the Stanno official website. From there, you are taken to the overview page of the Team Dresser where you are given options to click. From shirts and shorts to socks and suits to pants and jacks, you are given a wide array of choices. In fact, you may also order your bags as part of your Stanno football kits. From this part, you may proceed to the ordering process through the following steps.

Utilising the team dresser to order your Stanno football kits is easy. You just need to follow the process above and everything else will be convenient. It is just like playing a game. If in case you need more information about the team dresser and your Stanno football kits, you may press the help button.

All About Soccer Drills

As we all know, soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Millions of people from all walks of life enjoy watching it because it is exciting. To master all skills of the game, it takes some effort and dedication from a player. There are a few drills that anyone can use to improve on his/her soccer skills. In fact, most of them are tailored with the amateur in mind.

Controlling the ball

To do this, one needs to have a partner and if not, a rebound board. Having control of the ball is very important because once one is able to take full control of the ball; he/she can be able to learn the next move. The player learning ball control spends time kicking the ball off the rebound board and trying as much as he/she can to control it when it comes back. The secret is using just one touch to kill the speed. Once one is able to control the ball effectively with the feet, it will also be possible to control it with other parts of the body like the chest and also the knees.

Passing the ball

This is another very important drill that each and every football player should know. This should be done by standing ten feet apart and trying to pass the ball to the next person. Once the ball arrives at one player, he/she should try to pass it to the next person as fast as possible. With more progress, the players can move further apart and continue with the drill until they become efficient. Both passing and controlling the ball are fundamentals and therefore each soccer player should be good at them.

Heading the ball

This drill requires two players and one ball. One player throws the ball into the air to the other player who heads it back. Both players should take chances to practice so that they both become good at it.

Dribbling the ball

This drill needs a few cones and a ball and it can be done by as many players as possible. The cones should be set out in a straight line approximately 4 or 5 feet apart. The players should take turns running with the ball between the cones and at the same time keeping the ball really close to the feet and under control. The players should increase on the speed so as to be able to perfect their dribbling skills because they are important when tackling opposition.

Once the players have perfected dribbling between the cones, it is important to set small opposition teams so as to be able to know how to get past another player. One player takes on a defender's role and tries to stop the other. An area should be marked in which the players must remain. Any coach watching should from that point will get an idea of who are his/her best strikers and defenders too. The above drills are in most cases used on players who are beginning to play soccer. However, even advanced players in the game still use them for regular practice.