2017 in Rugby
2017 promises to be a huge year for the world of rugby and certainly the biggest year until 2019 and the Rugby World Cup in Tokyo. From epic club rugby to the return of the iconic Lions, there is plenty to get you through the year.
Here we’ve highlighted three rugby events happening this year that will make 2017 one to remember.
1. The 2017 6 Nations
Despite criticism the last few years, the 6 Nations continues its tradition of starting early in the year and we couldn’t be happier. Nothing chases off the winter blues better than this legendary tournament. Despite that, there are some changes coming this year.
The 2016 tournament was far from boring, with England achieving a stunning Grand Slam under then new coach, Eddie Jones. But this year promises to be even more spectacular with the introduction of the bonus point system. Teams will earn a 1 extra point if they score 4 or more tries. How will this change the way the tournament is played? We’ll have to wait and see.
Of course the pressure is even higher for Home Nation players as this will be their last chance to shine on the Test level stage before the official Lions team is selected. Hopefully, this leads to even better stuff on the pitch.
Why Watch it: The incentive to score more tries should lead to some thrilling rugby.
When to Watch it: The first match between Scotland and Ireland kicks off at 14:25 on February 4th.
2. The European Rugby Champions Cup Final
Saracens were the Kings of European rugby last year after securing the double victory of the Premiership win and becoming Champions of Europe. This year the competition has only got tougher.
Take for instance Pool 2, which still has Wasps, Stade Toulousain and Connacht on 13 points each at the time of writing. While this is the tightest, most teams still have a chance of qualifying from their pools to the Quarter Finals. With everything still so fiercely contested, we can’t wait to see who comes out on top in the Final in Edinburgh this May.
Why Watch it: The Champions Cup will only grow in stature after such a tight season.
When to Watch it: Saturday 13th May
3. The British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand
The main reason 2017 will be huge for rugby is, of course, the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand. Warren Gatland has yet to select the men who will travel to other side of the world but has assembled a coaching team that has what it takes to lead a team to beat the best team in the world.
To see who make the team will be a huge talking point during the 6 Nations this year (Pick your Lions XV here) but whoever it is that dons the red jersey will have to give it everything if the Lions are to beat the All Blacks for the first time in over 20 years. Given the quality we saw in the 6 Nations last year, this could be the year for the Lions.
Why Watch it: To see if history can be made.
When to Watch it: The Lions will play their first of six warm up games on the 3rd of June before playing their first All Blacks test on the 24th of June.
What rugby are you most excited about this year? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter.