Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Antarctic rugby

The world's southernmost rugby tournament has seen the Kiwi team in Antarctica triumph, keeping up one of the proudest records in the game's history.

In the 51 years since Scott Base was founded, its rugby team in Antarctica has never lost to the team at the far bigger neighbouring American base, McMurdo Station.

Unlike the heartbreaking All Blacks performance at the Rugby World Cup, the Scott Base team has maintained high standards and kept a record of stopping the US team scoring. The Americans, who began training months before, recruited Kiwi firefighter Liz Smith to aid their skills but conceded 12 points.

The game this month was particularly poignant because it was soon after the death of Sir Edmund Hillary, who established Scott Base in 1957. The game was dedicated to him and several players wore black arm bands.

Base co-ordinator Yvonne Boesterling said the US team played "extremely well and came very, very close to scoring".

"The US captain is again making a huge effort to get this game entered into the Guinness Book of World Records, and is looking after all the paperwork that is required," she said.

"We invited all the players and their guests to Scott Base, where both teams are celebrating the camaraderie and teamwork that it took to get this game together.

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