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Former Hawk influences German Rugby

2 months ago By Hugh Barrow

Ten things you need to know about German rugby

“Hagen Schulte who left Hawks for rugby in Germany ”

German sports fans may be at an all-time low ebb, after their beloved football team - defending World Cup champions - got dumped out of the tournament in Russia this week.

Never fear, meine fruende, your rugby team is still alive and kicking in their world tournament, and face Manu Samoa in Apia tomorrow in a crucial qualifying encounter.

In fact, they're only a couple of games away from potentially facing the All Blacks at next year's Rugby World Cup. Who knew?

Prime Minister warns Manu Samoa ahead of World Cup playoff
In case, like us, you weren't even aware they played rugby in Germany, here's all you need to know ahead of the home-and-away series.

Germany won a rugby silver medal at the 1900 Paris Olympics. Three teams contested the tournament - the French national team, FC 1880 Frankfurt represented Germany and Moseley Wanderers represented Great Britain. Only two games were played, with France beating Frankfurt 27-17 and Moseley 27-8. France took the gold medal, with Germany and Great Britain each awarded silver, although some claims Germany deserved their medal outright, due to points differential.
Many of Germany's top football clubs actually started out as rugby clubs, including Bundesliga outfit Hannover 96.
The German national team first played in 1927, losing 30-5 to France. Before the outbreak of World War II, they established themselves as the second-best national side in mainland Europe, twice beating the top-ranked French.
During WWII, German rugby lost a virtual First XV of players and was never able to recover its previous international footing.
Germany have flitted between the first and second divisions of European Nations Cup. This year they failed to win a game, with a points differential of minus-325 across five games, but they were unable to field players from their strongest club team, Heidelberg.
Despite the disastrous campaign, Germany were thrown a World Cup lifeline, when Romania, Belgium and Spain were all deducted points for playing ineligible players. That elevated Germany into a home playoff against Portugal, which they won 16-13 to advance to the next stage - the series against Manu Samoa.
The Germans could end up facing the All Blacks at next year's Rugby World Cup. If they lose to Samoa, they have another chance to qualify through a repechage, with the winners landing in the same pool as NZ, South Africa and Italy.
They are currently ranked 29th in the world. Their biggest-ever win was 108-0 over Serbia-Montenegro in 2005. Their biggest-ever loss was 89-6 against Russia in 2000.
The team are currently coached by former Uruguay player and coach Pablo Lemoine. He played at two Rugby World Cup tournaments and scored Uruguay's first World Cup try at Australia 2003. He later coached the national side at the 2015 World Cup. Lemoine replaced South African Kobus Potgieter as German coach this year.
Germany's first-five Hagen Schulte was born in Christchurch and played provincial rugby for Buller, before moving to the Glasgow Hawks and then Heidelberger RK. Captain Sean Armstrong is Australian-born.

Updated 12:17 - 30 Jun 2018 by Hugh Barrow

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