Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gladiators in the Arena and Sporting Gents on the Touchline; 52 THE RUGBY UNION UTTLEY ON RUGBY with Roger Uttley

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gladiators in the Arena and Sporting Gents on the Touchline; 52 THE RUGBY UNION UTTLEY ON RUGBY with Roger Uttley

Article excerpt

DESPITE some of the things that go on in professional sport, rugby union remains the ultimate gladiatorial contest, as South Africa and New Zealand proved once again last weekend.

A titanic display took the game to new levels, and the mutual respect shown by the captains Jean de Villiers and Richie McCaw elevates it above all other sports for me.

How McCaw has reached 134 caps is just remarkable when you consider how hard he plays the game. I keep waiting for his form to fail, but he continues to impress. Even though there was nothing on the match in terms of silverware, they still threw themselves into it with abandon, and the way the captains spoke after the game was superb: hard as nails on the field and then fulsome in their praise afterwards - I really like that.

Both captains knew they had given everything, and it was another great game of rugby between the two.

Losing will hurt the All Blacks, but as we begin the build-up towards next year's World Cup, it will have taken the monkey off their back and Losing allow them to build once more. …

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