Little Passports is a monthly subscription program (of which I’m an affiliate) that introduces kids ages 5 to 10 to countries around the world. Every month kids get a little package from a certain country with souvenirs, an activity sheet, and access to online games. My kids have been marking where they’ve visited on their map. This article on rugby is brought to you by Little Passports.
Have you ever heard of a game called rugby? It’s a really fun sport, especially if you’ve seen a game being played. The rules are similar to games that are familiar to you (such as soccer or American football). Two teams, with 15 players each, try to earn points by getting a ball across the opponent’s goal line or between their goalposts. However, in rugby, you can only throw the ball backwards!
Rugby is popular in countries such as Australia, England, Italy, and Argentina. Can you find those countries on a map? It’s watched by over 2 billion people worldwide, especially during world championships. There are many different competitions each year- so don’t get confused! The Rugby Championship is an annual contest between the best rugby teams in the southern hemisphere (countries south of the equator)– including Argentina, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand! Let’s learn more about these countries.
The Argentinian national rugby team is nicknamed Los Pumas, and their emblem features a jaguar. It is the first year they have been included in this Championship. Argentina is the second largest country in South America, and people in Argentina speak Spanish. Argentina’s version of the tooth fairy is a small rat called “El Ratón Perez.”
The Australian rugby team is named after the Wallaby, an animal that looks very similar to the Kangaroo. Scientists are closely watching a volcano called Big Ben. They believe it may be the next Australian volcano to erupt! The last volcanic eruption in Australia was over 5000 years ago at Mt. Gambier. The warmest months in Australia (and the other countries in this tournament!) happen when people in the US, Canada, Europe, and the north part of Asia are having winter, because Australia is below the equator. Australians speak English.
The South African rugby team is named the Springboks, which is also a small antelope found in West Africa. South Africa has 3 capital cities: Pretoria, Cape Town, and Bloemfontein and 11 official languages, including Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa and English. An interesting fact: South Africa has a thriving penguin colony near its western coast, thanks to cold Antarctic currents.
New Zealand won the Rugby Championship last year in 2012. Before rugby games, players often chant a battle cry called a haka, to instill bravery and scare the opposing team (see below video). This country is made of many islands, though the 2 main islands contain most of the population. One of New Zealand’s popular animals is the kiwi bird, in part because it is native only to this country.
Resources to Learn about Rugby
Play online games that introduce the rules, history, positions, signals, values, and then learn more about the countries, including their flags and location.
Have you ever played rugby before? Have you ever watched a game? The 2013 Championship will run through October. Will you be watching?