Rugby is definitely close enough to a fighting sport as it is. It is a tough contact sport that requires physical strength as well as psychological toughness.
The most successful team in this sport is undoubtedly the All Blacks. No doubt that the warrior spirit displayed by the Haka plays a crucial part in their success. Their passion and skill are world renowned and they are known as a force to be reckoned with throughout the rugby community.
I have stated in an earlier post that the martial arts are comprised of 3 elements- power, technique and tactics. This post briefly evaluates the All Blacks in these 3 respects.
Whether it is the front row taking and dishing out punishment in the scrums and the rucks or Dagg that can kick a ball hard enough to drop a sturdy built front row player to his knees- the All Blacks have shown us that their players have all the physical strength they need.
Being elbowed in the face, stepped on and knocked really hard during tackles serve to reveal another strength, though. This team is psychologically tough. Often involved in the most physical matches the sport has to offer they have shown that no amount of punishment can deter them from reaching their goal.
This is one area that sets the All Blacks apart from most teams. These players don't just play the game, but seek to perfect it in every kick, every pass and every maneuver they carry out. Having displayed the ability to accurately kick a ball into bins placed a distance away, to kick a ball through a basketball hoop or passing with enough accuracy over long distances to knock selected water bottles from a table (sometimes without even looking in the direction of the throw!) the All Blacks serve to demonstrate time and time again how valuable these techniques are and why they should be developed and perfected.
When these guys have their backs against the wall, seeming just about to buckle under the pressure of the opposing team's onslaught they suddenly conjure up the most amazing plays to be found in rugby. This, however, is not just luck and it is definitely not magic. What it is, however, is the ability to not only devise the most surprising of strategies, but also to execute them with seemingly the greatest of ease.
I'm not certain whether it is correct to say that the warrior ways of the Maori have found its way onto the rugby field, but just as mastery of any or all of the above elements have delivered martial artists who keep us in awe with their apparent superhuman abilities, these guys show us these principles in action whenever they are on the field.