The Breakdown year in review: Ruby Tui brings a breath of fresh air

Players of the Year

1) ruby tui (New Zealand) A constant threat on the pitch, a breath of fresh air outside. All together now: Ruby, Ruby, Ruby…

2) Josh van der Flier (Ireland) Never seems to have a bad game for club or country, no matter how good the opposition.

3=) Just Etzebeth (South Africa) At 31, he already has 110 Springbok caps and shows no signs of letting up.

3=) Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina) As precise under pressure as any of his football compatriots.

Head Coach of the Year

1) Andy Farrell (Ireland) Guided his team to a historic series victory in New Zealand. Enough said.

2) Wayne Smith (black ferns) Architect of one of the greatest repair works in the game, leading the Black Ferns to retain the World Cup.

3) Steve Diamond (Worcester) Showed impressive leadership through adversity during Worcester’s financial crisis.

The most memorable games

1) New Zealand 34 England 31 Women’s Rugby World Cup Final, Auckland, 12 November. One of the great games and a defining occasion for women’s rugby.

2) New Zealand 22 Ireland 32 Wellington, July 16. Not only did they win the series, but Ireland were leading 22-3 at half time in the third decisive test.

Johnny Sexton celebrates Ireland's victory in Wellington
Johnny Sexton celebrates Ireland’s victory in Wellington. Photography: Phil Walter/Getty Images

3) Japan 31 New Zealand 38 Tokyo, October 29. A weakened All Blacks side, of course, but the Brave Blossoms were sometimes irresistible.

Most eye-catching essays

1) Edward Padovani, Italy v Wales, Six Nations One of the great scores of the championship, created by the jinking Ange Capuozzo and finished by Padovani.

2) Abby Dow, England v Canada, Women’s World Cup Semi-Final England were in control until Abby ‘Wow’ completed a sensational team try down the length of the pitch.

Abby Dow tries to score for England against Canada.

3) Rodrigo FernandezChile versus United States. A truly remarkable individual effort on a saturated lawn in Santiago.

Emerging players to watch

Kurt Lee Arendse (South Africa), Henry Arundell (England), Angel Capuozzo (Italy).

Rugby Ambassadors of the Year

1) Doddie Weir (Scotland).

2) Kevin Sinfield (Leicester and England).

3=) Sarah Hunter (England) & Ellis Genge (England).

Most Uplifting Moments

1) Women’s Rugby World Cup, New Zealand The rising profile of women’s football is great to see.

2) Chile qualified for RWC 2023 men Chile’s qualifying playoff against the US Eagles produced as dramatic a final as anyone (Americans aside) could have wished.

3) Appointment by New Zealand Rugby of Lady Patsy Reddy as the union’s first female president Late but still great news.

Lady Patsy Reddy
Dame Patsy Reddy, the first female president of New Zealand rugby. Photographer: Kai Schworer/Getty Images

Most depressing moments

1=) The financial death of Wasps and Worcester.

1=) the Wayne Barnes family abuse.

1=) by Bernard Laporte corruption case.

1=) Benetton player Cherif Traorand receive a rotten banana from a teammate as a gift from Secret Santa.

Most Influential Premiership Players

1) Julian Montoya (Leicester).

2) Theo McFarland (Saracens).

3) Tommy Refell (Leicester).

The most likely male Premiership champions in May

The Saracens have improved their attacking game and seem all the more happy.

Erasmus Rassie Award for Arbitration Decision of the Year

Mathieu Raynal (France) The last moments of a tight test match between Australia and New Zealand in Melbourne It was an interesting time to hand out a decisive penalty for wasting time against Wallaby fly-half Bernard Foley.

Best game day atmosphere

1) Eden Park, Auckland (see above).

2) Northland Event Center, Whangarei.

3) Stoop of Twickenham.

Rest in peace

Phil Bennet (Wales), Eddie Butler (Wales), Mike Davis (England), Tom Kiernan (Ireland), Doddie Weir (Scotland), See ‘Inga’ Drought (New Zealand/Manu Samoa), Joel Vidiri (New Zealand), Pedrie Wannenburg (South Africa), Kelly Meafua (Samoa), Paul McNaughton (Ireland), jerry holland (Ireland), John Brain (Gloucester), Steve Black (Newcastle & Lions Fitness Advisor), Dave Rollit (Bristol and England), Donald McLeod (Scottish doctor and Lions), Thomas Smith (Scotland), david sims (Gloucester and England).

Young players to watch in 2023

Ben loader (London Irish), Dafydd Jenkins (External), Joe Carpenter (Sale), Sam Maunder (External), Let’s see (Leicester).

2022 key quotes

“I was quite confident that we were on the right path, leading to the World Cup. And I still have that belief. But if the others don’t share that, then it’s their decision. Eddie Jones, now former England manager.

Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones, who lost his job in England after seven years. Photography: Andy Rain/EPA

“We are encouraged by the solid progress of the team during this Six Nations Tournament…” RFU statement in March. Eddie Jones was sacked in December.

I wouldn’t be here doing the job if I didn’t think we were capable of winning things. Warren Gatland on his return as Wales head coach.

“He was a success at Racing, at the Crusaders and now at La Rochelle. It’s no accident… if he has his mind set on something, he will get there. La Rochelle assistant coach Ryan Brown salutes the impact of Ronan O’Gara on the new European champions.

“I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to those who are still in the game. We want to make sure we’re the only generation of players that it happens to. The 44-year-old former English prostitute Steve Thompsonwhose beginning-onset dementia left him unable to remember winning the 2003 World Cup.

“I was definitely dead. I died twice. My doctors told me I had a 1% chance of surviving. God saved me. I now live differently. I don’t worry about little things. things or stupid things that I thought were important before. Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvilireflecting on his survival after contracting Covid-19 in South Africa in 2021.

“It was the most phenomenal rugby moment of my life, standing there and hearing that crowd chant those girls’ names.” Wayne Smith on training theblack ferns to their World Cup victory.

“We don’t need that in the game and I would have thought he would have learned his lesson by now, if he’s the one doing that.” Nigel Owens offers his verdict on Rassie Erasmus’ online comments on refereeing decisions.

“I think the rolling maul has gotten out of control, personally. Maybe in England the number of spectators manages because of the size of the population but in this part of the world it is not the case. I think that’s a part of the game that we could look at and say, “Can we make this a bigger contest?” Former All Black head coach Graham Henry.

“We thought we could turn the tanker around, but unfortunately it ended like the Titanic. The ship sank, the captains are nowhere to be found. Financially Worcester director of rugby Steve Diamond.

“Rugby is the little brother of football, it approaches the table to try to grab food. To do that you have to make a constant effort to do more. I could be wrong, but I am not sure rugby does that. Maro Itoje on the need for rugby union to sell better.

“They’re standing there almost like little school kids going, ‘Uh, uh…’ I just say, ‘Call me sir.’ I really don’t mind. Sara Cox (Best Female Referee).

Three wishes for 2023

1) A superb men’s rugby world cup. The sport as a whole badly needs it.

2) More help and support for former players suffering from early onset dementia symptoms.

3) Greater success for teams willing to run the ball from their own half.

And finally… a big thank you to subscribers and readers who have followed our coverage of rugby in the Guardian and the Observer. I wish you all a happy new year and look forward to seeing you in 2023.

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