This years Super 14 is hotting up and it's going down to the last few games to decide who makes it through. The top 4 spots are changing all the time, but for the top of the top it's all about home semi final spots. Every game is important, and I know I'll be cheering the Sharks on in Durban this week.
Some great hits and all the usual this week. The Hurricanes' Ma'a Nonu SMASHES Rico Gear with his shoulder, Percy took a great catch, and Juan Smith got the dropsies.
Donnacha O Callaghan of Munster and Ireland decides that with his shorts ripped and the lineout about to form, there's no time to wait for the trainer to bring on the new pair. The look on his face is priceless as he gestures to the ref and the players to continue with the game.
The ref disallows it though, and demands that some new shorts get brought on. Classic clip.
Springbok & Sharks flyhalf Butch has always had a reputation for putting the shoulder in on players, normally resulting in trouble for being too high or with not arms.
A few years back he was infamous for it. He had a reputation for being a dirty player and refs started to pick on him because of his past indiscretions.
An advert even came out on local tv about it, showing him giving blood, with him saying "Use your arms". Those bad rep days seem to be over though. He's found form with the Sharks, and is almost a certain choice for the World Cup squad.
His tackling has also come right, with him still being a physical player, but keeping on the right side of the law, as seen below with this fantastic hit on Stirling Mortlock in the 2006 Tri Nations.
Super 14 Plays Of the Fortnight rolls around once again. Noticeable items would be the incredible banana kick conversion by Dan Carter. A bit of reverse swing in a rugby match is a first. Was he shining the one side of the ball before taking the kick?
Ali Williams with ball in hand effected a massive hit on Dwayne Vermeulen, which resulted in the pic above. Lights out buddy.
Jason Robinson brought down the curtain on his club career with a fairytale last-minute try to beat Bath 25-23.
What a way to end his club career. One of the best finishers in the game waiting until the clock was dead to write his own script and go out in style, showing the kind of vintage Robinson class and explosiveness that made him one of the most feared runners in the game.
Update: Clip has been edited and shortened, so doesn't show the other highlights any more, just features the Robinson winner and interview.
Waisale Serevi displayed some sublime skill at the recent Hong Kong Sevens tournament. He's been doing it for years, and continues to impress.
With seconds left on the clock, the 38-year-old Serevi shows why he is rated as the best player in Sevens history by running circles around the younger Kiwis. Putting his teammates into gaps, he then receives the ball again and scores the winning try.
Tomasi Cama junior can't take it and dives on him very late. He gets a few pats on the head for his troubles. Funny, cos his father (Tomasi Cama senior) would have played with Serevi. Bit of history there, as you can tell by the way the Fijians act towards the young 7's All Black.
This occured between the All Blacks & England in 2004, and is more of a talking point than a spectacularly violent incident.
Simon Shaw gets red-carded in the 10th minute for kneeing All Black lock Keith Robinson during ruck-time. England, who had had a decent start to the test match, had to play with only 14 men for the rest of the match. They lost 36-12.
Clive Woodward, the English coach, was furious about the sending-off: "We had an incident in Wellington last year when Ali Williams (All Black lock) stomped all over Josh Lewsey's head and was cited, but got off scot free in front of the judiciary."
All Black's Coach, Graham Henry, had no comment. The New Zealand Captain, Tana Umaga claimed that a 15 vs. 15 game would have been better, as the sending-off greatly altered the composure of the two sides.
Keith Robinson, the played who got kneed, said this: "I was on the bottom of a ruck and I heard the crowd go off. I didn't know what had happened. When I got up I saw the red card, but I can say he didn't hurt me in any way. They are a physical forward pack, but I don't think they were trying to target anyone in particular."
Check out Tana Umagas face when he sees that Shaw has been red carded.
Weeks 8 and 9 of Plays of the Week were compiled into one action packed episode. Some brilliant moments, including Doug 'The Hitman' Howlett showing once again that wingers can use their speed and strength to make an impact on defense, not only attack.
Plenty of 'Percys', including Francois Steyn with a few classics. Eyes on the ball plz Francois.
Peter Hewats 'Phantom Percy' was the best in my opinion though, with the commentators "Naaaooo naaaooo naaaooo!" saying it all.
I also loved Jerry Collins' comment to the 'Rif' about whos REALLY reffing the match. Classic.
With less than 15 minutes left on the clock and the score tied at 13-13, Juan Leguizamon shows the world that there's always one vital thing to remember when diving outrageously over the try line - don't forget to hang on to the ball.
He was apparently trying to mock a fellow premiership player, but this went horribly wrong.
Remember the Amateur Hour try on here? That has nothing on this complete balls up.
Young Sharks & Bok sensation Francois Steyn is fast getting a reputation for being a hard runner and one of the best drop kickers of a rugby ball around. He proved that again on friday, where he pumped a 53 meter kick over with ease against the Force. Great reactions from the commentators.
He did the same against the Blues, so I've edited this post to include both monster kicks.
The Waratahs played in a thriller against the Crusaders on the weekend. If it weren't for some poor play by Peter Hewat (missing a vital conversion and dropping the ball in open play, as well as him & Lote stuffing up an intercept) the Waratahs may have snuck victory.
The 19 year old Lachlan Turner arrived though, scoring a fantastic try in which he outstripped Rico Gear and beat Leon McDonald. Huge potential shown, and a possible find for the Aussies for this years World Cup? Still early days though.
Besides Lote Tuqiri's shocking intercept try attempt, he redeemed himself here with an excellent run and set up a try, showing the skills & strength expected of him, and expected of a guy who gets paid that much.