Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Italy 2010 Mario Mazzuca

Released 30 October 2010, the stamp celebrates the birth centenary of Mario Mazzuca. Mario Mazzuca was a pioneer of Italian rugby scene, dedicating over 50 years to the sport, first as a player, then a referee, and then in management at both national and international levels. He was founder and first president of Ciara, Italian Amateur Rugby Club, and has represented Italy in the Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur (FIRA) since 1966. In 1973, he was appointed Special Commissioner of the Italian Rugby Federation, and member of the Executive Committee of the Olympic Committee. mario passed away 3 October 1983 in Rome. In 2007, the City of Rome named a city street after Mario - "Largo Mario Mazzuca" - located below the Stadio Flaminio, which is the home to the Italian Rugby Federation.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Geogia 2010 3-time European Nations Cup Champion

This stamp, released 15 October 2010, celebrates the Georgian National Rugby Team becoming 3-time European Nations Cup Champions (2001, 2006-08, 2008-10). The European Nations Cup is the European championship for tier 2 and tier 3 rugby union nations. The championship is split into 7 divisions with 5 or 6 teams in each. The divisions play on a two-year cycle with the teams playing each other both home and away. In the latest round (2008-10), the top division (Division 1A) comprises Georgia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain and Ukraine.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

San Marino 2010 "The Football Players" by Henri Rousseau

This 1.50-euro stamp, featuring Henri Rousseau's "The Football Players", from San Marino was issued 26 July 2010 together with 3 other stamps featuring paintings by Botticelli (The Birth of Venus), Giorgione da Castelfranco Veneto (The Tempest) & Caravaggio (The Supper at Emmaus). This painting was first displayed at the Salon des Indépendants in 1908, the only exhibition held during Rousseau's lifetime; Rousseau died 2 years later. The painting links back to the first rugby matches held in France; and in it, Rousseau attempted to express movement.He used real models, representing them with care, and in particular, he creates the notion of distance by gradually reducing the size of the leaves. His painting style, deemed infantile at the beginning, sort of pioneered modernist painting styles - followed by famous artists like Picasso. "The Football Players" is currently located at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, as part of an exhibition to commemorate the centenary of Rousseau's death.

Interestingly, the stamp spells Henri as Henry, and printed its title as "Rugby Players" in italian. In the 1908 London Olympic Games, rugby was classed as football, and only Great Britain (represented by the team from Cornwall) and Australia were represented.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rugby Junior World Cup 2010

Argentina, host of the 2010 Rugby Junior World Cup, issued on 20 June 2010 a single stamp to commemorate the event. The players in this cup event have to be under 20 years of age. The Junior World Cup Trophy has been in New Zealand hands from the 1st tournament held in Wales in 2008, and remained so for 2010.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Papua New Guinea 2010 Rugby Sevens

Papua New Guinea came out with an issue for the XIXth Commonwealth Games (Delhi, India) on 3 September 2010, one month ahead of the actual games. The issue comprises 4 stamps, 1 miniature sheet and 1 sheetlet with 4 stamps. Rugby sevens, a sport that first appeared in the XVIth edition of the games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is featured in the 1K stamp and on the selvage of the miniature sheet (featuring tennis) at the bottom. The illustration is the same in both cases, a PNG player scoring a try in between the posts!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rugby World Cup 2011

Commencing celebration for the Rugby World Cup 2011, the Final to be held at Eden Park in Auckland on 23 October 2011, New Zealand post has released on 9 September a set of stamps and miniature sheet for this great event. This issue will probably be the first of many to mark RWC2011. As with NZ Post previous issue commemorating the All Blacks, there are 2 stamps in the issue, and 2 sets of the same stamps in different sizes are found on the miniature sheet. The stamps are illustrated with the official logo of RWC2011. The bigger sized stamps will probably be available only in October, as personalised sheets, as the 60c postage will only take effect then.

New Zealand 2010 All Blacks

New Zealand Post issue to commemorate the All Blacks was released 4 August 2010. Despite how the game of rugby has evolved in the last few decades, the All Blacks have always been marked by the silver fern on the left breast of their black jerseys. This distinctive emblem, a graphic representation of the native ponga fern (Cyathea dealbata), was adopted by the New Zealand Rugby Football Union in 1893.

The miniature sheet shown above contains 2 sets of the same stamps, the smaller set is available at post offices as loose stamps, however, the bigger set comes from the NZ Post personalised stamp sheet. The lower denomination stamp valued at 60c is meant for increased postage for normal mail in New Zealand, effective October 2010.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Guinea 2008 Tortoises & Rugby Players

This issue has a curious mixture of themes, but that is the nature of philatelic material created specially for collectors, and little postal utility. The theme is African tortoises, and here they are all associated with international South African rugby players! We might imagine the rugby forwards ploughing through the field like these giant tortoises, but a few of these players are in wing positions! The players featured are Bismarck du Plessis, Bryan Gary Habana (IRB 2007 Player of the Year), John Philip "Bakkies" Botha, Jaque Fourie & Schalk Burger. The tortoises are Aldabra Giant Tortoise (Geochelone gigantea), African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata), Leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis) & Karoo Cape Tortoise (Homopus femoralis).

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

France 2010 Languedoc-Rousillon Pre-personalised Minisheet

The french post issued on 12 June 2010, 24 pre-personalised minisheets to illustrate regional attractions and specialities, each minisheet comes with 10 self-adhesive stamps. The one for the region of Languedoc-Rousillon illustrates rugby (scrum) and has one of the 10 stamps featuring a "Wallaby" rugby ball placed for kicking.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Zealand 2010 100 Years of Maori Rugby

I just received this notice from New Zealand Post informing of this issue on 9 June 2010, I thought it is an interesting postal item, except that there is no postmark. The issue comprises of 2 stamps, a 50c-stamp featuring the 2010 Centenary Jersey that will be worn by players in the 3-match Centenary Series, and a $1.80-stamp featuring the Centenary logo. The 2 stamps are reprised in a very nice miniature sheet carrying a photo of the 1st Maori rugby team. The FDCs illustration and the first day of issue cancellation are interesting collectors' items, too. It would be interesting to see what comes out of New Zealand as posted covers during the days the matches of the Centenary Series are played.

Monday, February 15, 2010

France 2010 Stade Toulousain Collector's Sheet

After writing about the Monaco issue for the 5 Nations Tournament, I suddenly remembered that France released a collector's sheet 4 days before the Monaco issue, on 4 February, featuring one of the better rugby team in France - Stade Toulousain. Some may argue that this is not a true philatelic issue, since it is even classed as pre-personalised stamp sheet by the french post, composing of 10 stamps for local use, featuring ST players.

Monaco 2010 Centenary of 5 Nations Tournament

This is the first rugby stamp in 2010 that I know of, from Monaco, released on 8 February 2010, to commemorate 100 years of the 5 Nations Tournament, the 5 being England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France. It was in 1910 that France joined the 4 nations on the British Isles that gave birth to the name of the tournament. The stamp features the flags of all the 5 participating nations, and 2 players challenging for the ball in a lineout, one spotting blue jersey decorated with the gallic cockerel, that should represent France, the other in white - the crest on the jersey isn't clear, so I'll hazard a guess that he is from the English team.
The first day of issue cancellation is an outline of the design on the stamp but without the flags, only the two players challenging for the ball in a lineout, with the goal posts in the background.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Caledonia 2009 14th Pacific Games

I purchased this New Caledonian stamp featuring Joemy, the mascot (a bat) for the 14th Pacific Islands Games to be held in 2011. Apparently the sheet border is decorated with icons of the sports featured in these games, and I was lucky to get the one that featured 7-a-side rugby!

Watching Invictus

I wanted to watch Invictus when I first found out about it early January, because the movie is linked to 3 favourites/heroes of mine - rugby, Nelson Mandela and Morgan Freeman. I only managed to watch it 10 days ago. Of course, it also reminded me of a few South African stamps in my collection, issued over the years, one for François Pienaar, another for South African celebrations featuring the Web Ellis Cup, and the set of stamps commemorating the momentous event in 1995.
This set of 3 stamps and one souvenir sheet was issued on 25 May 1995 to commemorate South Africa hosting the 3rd Rugby World Cup.
This pair of stamps was issued on 28 June 1995 to celebrate South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup!