Best rugby feature stories of 2020 – Last Word on College Football

Known as much for our rugby feature stories, as well as news and analysis, Last Word on Rugby presents our Top 10 best of series.

Amid the range of published rugby feature stories submitted over this year, our readers were given a selection of themes. From developing stories, to Tier One player profiles, the variety is what our site is known for. Covering all corners of the globe, from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, we have enjoyed more terrific growth over the last 12 months.

And while the pandemic halted rugby for a time, the writers did not stop providing quality rugby feature stories. In March, April, and May, we continued to focus on the best aspects of the sport. When rugby emerged out of the darkness, all writers celebrated just like the fans and stakeholders did.

New and fresh storylines developed, and this is shown in the articles highlighted below.

As shown in the main photo – of a deserted Twickenham hosting the cup finale of the Autumn Nations Cup – fans and rugby writers have had to enjoy a totally new experience in 2020.

From our team of contributors, we begin with Managing Editor Ryan Jordan. Right from the beginning, LWOR has been blessed by Ryan’s aptitude and dedication to bringing rugby feature stories that investigate and discover the real values and ideals of the game.

One of the features compiled by Ryan was a poignant recollection of some of the ‘golden voices’ who have graced radio and television commentary. It hit the right note in both rugby-respect, and in identifying callers from both ends of the rugby-globe.

Rugby commentary: The golden voices

More examples can be found on Rugby Anthems, and as ever Ryan always commented on the status of the game in South Africa.

Lead writer and Senior Editor, Robert Rees. A pivotal member of the team, Rob’s rugby featured stories enjoyed huge popularity. Amongst the most read articles, Rob has chosen three pieces that show the range and variety of styles that or site has developed.

Indigo Group Premiership playing budgets

Several of Rob’s key pieces have been player-focused. None more so than one exclusive selected personally by the author.

Exclusive: Greg Bateman released by Leicester Tigers after contract disputes

Rob is also passionately aware of the future of Welsh rugby. He has contributed many leading articles on the success and struggles of clubs in the Valleys. His most fond one being, Ebbw Vale. Rob was also accredited to the Gallagher Premiership, as were several other LWOR writers. In this way, it gives our site journalistic credibility, that many others will be envious of.

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James Barker has again produced many rugby feature stories over this year. A senior editor and always providing an authoritative voice on the sport. James’ contributions have underlined our analysis and has continually made a valuable input for the entire 12 months (never missing a beat during Lockdown).

Callum Sheedy leading Bristol Bears play-off charge

The above article came after Sheedy led Bristol to their West Country derby win at Bath back in March. Since then, he has gone on to represent Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup. He will hope to step up to the Six Nations in 2021 then establish himself before the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Continued excellence from Last Word on Rugby writers

From our team of contributors, they cover so much more than simply just ‘cover items’. Many look deeper, and none so more than Raheem Bashir. Based in Toronto, Raheem’s brilliant variety means he covers many sports; from Basketball [on the Last Word on Sports network], as well as rugby and his preferred topic, Rugby League.

The Toronto Wolfpack and their five best players in franchise history

Another of our dedicated contributors is David Challis. One of our established writers and an associate editor, David’s ability to describe players/team’s efforts is accomplished and insightful. Considering the view from both the reader and of rugby fans, he and many of the other contributors offer views complimentary to our website’s mission statement to inform and to support rugby’s growth.

Gareth Steenson – A Career Retrospective

While the ability to play International rugby was interrupted, fans still got to enjoy Six Nations rugby, and it is here that contributor Charlie Inglefield produced some fine efforts worth a mention. Back in March, his analysis of the ENGvWAL fixture gave praise whilst also questioning the strategy of Eddie Jones. This is an area that LWOR like to create and continue the ‘rugby conversation’.

England v Wales: England improving but is Jones’ gameplan the right one?

Finally, Managing Editor and feature writer, Scott Hornell, continues to shine a light across the rugby globe. Writing on women’s rugby, sevens, rugby league, and on many relevant topics, and breaking news stories. Unequivocal in his diligent output, regular yet, always reflective of the latest trends in the sport, and new players who will be stars of the future.

A new star found, as All Blacks win comfortably at Eden Park

During Lockdown, Scott worked with the writers to motivate and to drive rugby feature stories that maintained the department’s relevance and influence. And as soon as the path was open for a safe return to rugby, our team celebrated just as the fans did.

Covid-19 health/family focus now switches back to rugby training mode

When considering all the rugby feature stories added by the LWOR team, only 10 could be highlighted above. We gratefully thank many many more contributions from active writers Gav Harper, TJ Davies, Mark Holman, Paul Peerdemen, Christian Evans, Elizabeth Cartwright, Lowri Jacob, Sam Harris, David Jones, Charlie Hynes, Andre-Pierre Cronje, Enda Fahy, and David Chapman.

We must also thank former-contributors, Steve Kendall, Scott MacLean, and especially note the sad passing of rugby sevens lead writer Jovilisi Waqa; who passed away sadly in September 2019. We also congratulate one of our alumni, Fiona Thomas, who has gone on to great heights as a feature writer for The Telegraph.

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“Main photo credit”
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