ASM Sports Preview to 2015

AS 2015 FAST approaches members of Aber Student Media’ Sports Team look ahead to a year of sporting events, including and away Varsity, a Rugby World Cup and a fateful year for Welsh football.

Calvin Biddle

One of the main sporting events of 2015 that I am looking forward to is the Rugby World Cup being hosted in England and Wales. I was not the biggest rugby union fan before I came to university but since joinWebb_Ellis_Cuping, the Six Nations and the Autumn Internationals have become two of my favourite sporting events of the year, mainly because of the atmosphere that Aberystwyth has during these two events. With the world cup being in England during September and October the whole town will have an extra dose of rugby, which will help that intense rivalry between the home nations. But the biggest question will be can any team stop New Zealand from claiming the tournament?

Two other sporting events that are also going to keep my attention during 2015, are Wimbledon and the Ashes. As a huge tennis fan, Wimbledon for me is the best of all the grand slams. The quintessential English feel of the tournament makes it stand out from the rest. And with many questions facing the top players from the men’s and women’s games, it is certainly one to keep an eye out for. Similarly the Ashes of 2015 will give a chance for England to try and win the ashes back after the dreadful 5-0 whitewashing in Australia, during the 2013-2014 series. Hopefully Alistair Cook’s men will give the home fans some joy during the summer of 2015.

Lewis Owen

I think I speak on behalf of all fellow Welsh football fans when I say that 2015 could be the one. 56 years of hurt, which has included anguish and heartbreak for each generation, could be swept aside in the space of a little more than eight months between March and November as the Welsh national side face their remaining Euro 2016 qualification fixtures. Having successfully navigated their opening four matches with an unbeaten record, Chris Coleman’s men will hope to carry forward this momentum into the new calendar year, as they aim to achieve what has eluded Welsh football for far too long: the opportunity to compete at the final stage of a major tournament. With tricky fixtures away at Israel and Bosnia-Herzegovina still to come, not to mention the fact that previous memories of agonising near-misses still linger ominously in the narrative of Welsh football, most supporters will undoubtedly endeavour to retain a cautious and level-headed outlook during the upcoming months. However, as I look forward to the new year, I can’t help but feel an exhilarating sense of expectation that is increasingly overriding the pessimism that has been hard-wired into me through years of disappointment as a Welsh football fan. In 2015, I dare to dream.

Morgan Nock

This year I’m really looking forward Uruguay 4 - Chile 0to the Copa America. It’s not until June so it’s a long way away but I’m very excited. This time around the ten CONMEBOL (South American) nations are joined by Mexico and Jamaica from CONCACAF (North America) who were invited so they can have three groups of four. It’s being hosted by Chile, who have astonishingly never won Copa America. They’ve been runners-up four times whilst even Bolivia and Peru have been victorious in previous tournaments, so the pressure is really on for Alexis Sanchez and co. Holders Uruguay, who became the outright leaders in all time tournament wins with their 15th title in 2011, will be looking to fend off the likes of Brazil (8 titles) and Argentina (14 titles), while Columbia and Mexico have proven they are both capable of upsetting the odds after strong showings in last year’s World Cup. Paraguay didn’t make the finals of FIFA’s biggest tournament but they were runners-up in the last Copa America. The hosts of last year’s World Cup, Brazil, have a lot to prove following their embarrassing exit from the tournament and it really is set up to be a spectacular couple of weeks.

Illtud Dafydd

I agree with Calvin that the Rugby World Cup in September and October could be a huge one, especially when we look at the home nations and hark back to how the 2011 tournament panned out. My main rugby focus of 2015 is mainly on what happens after the World Cup and the wave of southern  hemisphere players that will surely follow Dan Carter (Racing-Metro), Ma’a Nonu (Toulon) and Adam Ashley-Cooper(Bordeaux-Begles) in signing for European clubs. Names like Will Genia, Israel Folau and Duane Vermeulen are just three to wet the appetite.

On the round ball front, it’s a big year for Welsh football as Lewis mentioned, with both ties against Israel looking key to our qualifying hopes for France 2016. I’m looking forward also to seeing what Adidas will produce as the new kit manufacturers for Manchester United. A simple red jersey with three white stripes down the sleeve would do, especially if you look at United kits from the late 1980s, early 1990s.

With the Olympic Games being held in Brasil in 2016, there are many sports holding either test events or international-level competitions this year, so it will be interesting to see who has the form early on in their preparations for the Olympics which will see Golf and Rugby Sevens being presented to the Games.

Varsity is the final thing I’m looking forward to, the first time in three years that it will be held in Bangor, and the event is pencilled in for Saturday the 18th of April with football being the main event. The match could well be played at Bangor City F.C’s Book People Stadium with Aberystwyth the current holders of the trophy.