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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lifeimi Mafi smashes Seabass and a few Sharks

In one of the more enjoyable games of the weekend, title holders Munster fought off a brave fight back as they picked up the 24-16 away win over Sale Sharks on Sunday in the Heineken Cup.

New Zealander Lifeimi Mafi had a standout game as he continued to impress in the Munster midfield. His 40th minute hit was that of legend. Not because it looked overly spectacular, but because it was absolutely bonejarring, on a far bigger man.

A brilliant breakout run from another Kiwi, Luke McAlister, saw him glide downfield before popping a neat little inside pass to his support.

The ball was recycled and a rampaging Frenchman named Sebastian Chabal was stopped dead in his tracks as Mafi’s rib tickler left the The Caveman on his knees, puffing in the big ones.

Coach Tony McGahan was full of praise for the manner in which the team, and particularly Mafi, defended.

"He pulled off a couple of real turning points, we got turnovers on the back of them and we gathered momentum and it had a real focus for us."

Unfortunately Mafi’s second big tackle, as featured here, was deemed illegal as he lifted and dropped the Sale replacement. The technique initially was spot on and looked great, but he was warned for the manner in which he dumped him.

In the last ten minutes of the game, Mafi was yellow carded for a high tackle on Matthew Tait that could probably be best described as a stiffarm. In isolation he may have gotten away with staying on the field, but the ref cited his earlier warning as reason enough to send him to the cooler for the remainder of the game.

Time: 03:41



  • This ref was the one who gave matthew rees a yellow card for a (sort of) dangerous tackle for scarlets against harlequins, mafi's second tackle was worse so how he didn't get a yellow for that i dunno. The eventual yellow was deserved.

    By Anonymous geraint, at October 21, 2008 7:29 pm  

  • @ geraint
    I wouldn't agree that the second tackle deserved a yellow. It was technically perfect, he just dropped him... easy to do when you are trying to lift a 17-18 stone guy!
    As for the high tackle, yeah it probably deserved the yellow alright, but there was no intent, Tait kind of ducked into it.
    As for the performance, it was great from a Munster point of view, we really showed our fighting spirit!

    By Anonymous Donnacha, at October 21, 2008 7:36 pm  

  • Oh yeah, forgot to say... What an incredible tackle on Chebal! Mafi is a tackling Machine!

    By Anonymous Donnacha, at October 21, 2008 7:37 pm  

  • 2 illegal tackles 1 good tackle

    still real munstermen couldn't hit like the Kiwi islander

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 21, 2008 7:49 pm  

  • I'd personally give him the benefit of the doubt and say none were intentional.

    But 2 wreckless so probably a just yellow.

    By Anonymous Rancid, at October 21, 2008 8:11 pm  

  • He should have pushed chabal backwards, then it would be awesome but without that is just good. The second one, as the guy there said: borderline illegal and the last one... Well lets just say a well deserved sin bin.

    By Anonymous Eric, at October 21, 2008 8:14 pm  

  • Where is the Chabal big tackle on O'Connel ????

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 21, 2008 8:27 pm  

  • haha has nobody noticed stuart barnes say " SHIT, look at that break by mcalister" yet?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 21, 2008 9:16 pm  

  • "still real munstermen couldn't hit like the Kiwi islander"

    he is a really munsterman now, ya dick...

    Mafi = legend

    By Anonymous God, at October 21, 2008 9:17 pm  

  • Don't mean to critisize or anything,I just think his name is LIFEIMI not LEFEIMI.

    BIG hits though,a speedster combined with a big tackler is a great combo!

    By Anonymous rugbyfreak, at October 21, 2008 10:22 pm  

  • a little smarter with his technique and that would have been gold. just needs to drive as the commentators said. at least he seems like an alright bloke. offered his apologies to tait after the whack.

    By Anonymous limey, at October 21, 2008 10:45 pm  

  • Everything was fine up until the last swinging arm tackle. That was a red.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 21, 2008 10:54 pm  

  • ""still real munstermen couldn't hit like the Kiwi islander"

    he is a really munsterman now, ya dick...

    Mafi = legend"

    sure he played under 15 hurling for the glen

    sale were so rattled they had to bring on a saracens replacement (according to rugby dump anyway)


    By Anonymous jerry, at October 21, 2008 11:30 pm  

  • @ Eric,

    He should have pushed Chabal backwards eh? Personally I thought he should of flicked him up on his toe, solo'd him a couple of times and balanced him on his head as he sidestepped his way to the try line. You'd wanna lay off the drugs boy, dem steroids will obliterate your cock and nuts!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 21, 2008 11:56 pm  

  • the first two were fine but the last one was dangerous, the second one was not that bad, he landed flat on his back and with no real force refs are getting over zealous with this nowadays.

    By Anonymous martin-offload, at October 22, 2008 12:02 am  

  • mafi is unreal, cant wait til he plays for ireland

    By Anonymous chickencheers, at October 22, 2008 12:56 am  

  • sorry to burst your bubble but Mafi cant play for us. he has a new zealand 7s cap. and thats that, hes kiwi for life. still, even if he could,id rather ireland had irish players. we aint england(Vainikolo)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 22, 2008 1:34 am  

  • nice execution on chabal but he should have hit harder...wasnt like a smash

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 22, 2008 1:35 am  

  • The second tackle was better than the first IMO...the third, well it deserved a yellow.

    Am I the only one or does anyone else think that islanders who've played 7s for other countries, especially NZ, should be able to play for their island teams as well as the Pacific Islanders team?

    By Anonymous kempo, at October 22, 2008 2:27 am  

  • feargal, u ain't england?

    Matt Mostyn: Australia
    Issac Boss: New Zealand
    Mike Mullins: New Zealand

    the list goes on...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 22, 2008 2:50 am  

  • The first 2 were not close to yellow, but that LAST ONE...Yeh...Yellow, no questions.

    By Blogger Don, at October 22, 2008 7:42 am  

  • well done munster lads, anytime there s post and something less than "amazing tackle" or "fuckin cool hit" all you get is munster boys screaming in giving out, get a grip lads, hes not Irish and hes not Munster and he doesnt tackle like Munster, hes a fuckin kiwi wit fuckin dreads. Great tackles and great affort from Mafi, always plays his heart out which has nothing to do with Munster. If he was at any other team he would be putting those hits in. Munster has nothing to do with this post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 22, 2008 11:09 am  

  • The tackle where he lifts the guy horizontal and drops him should have been a yellow. The rule/law book clearly states that you can't lift a player up and drop him and it is punishable with a yellow.

    By Blogger Hennie, at October 22, 2008 11:54 am  

  • 1st tackle good

    2nd tackle is penalty. Although by law is a yellow - if you want to lift the man then you have to bring him down.

    3rd tackle - straight yellow

    By Anonymous andy, at October 22, 2008 4:23 pm  

  • Mafi (14 stone) V Chabal (18 stone)...

    By Anonymous Mike, at October 22, 2008 6:13 pm  

  • hahaha shit look at that break by mcalister lol nice one anon! get a name tho wilya....

    By Anonymous bD, at October 22, 2008 6:48 pm  

  • the pass to chabal was high anyway, so it's not like him running into mafi, but great tackle nevertheless.

    By Anonymous jeroz, at October 23, 2008 2:57 am  

  • loved this game must have been one of the best this weekend at one stage in the 2nd half when sale were ont he attack (think around 53 mins) it looked more like a full international with the intensity of the attacks and tackles great game!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 23, 2008 3:25 pm  

  • agree with the commentator. The swinging arm was a straight yellow.

    However, I think from the referee and TJ perspective, it wasn't clearly a yellow. However, give the recklessness of this and the prior tackle, they called the yellow.

    In sum, they got the call correct.

    As for tackle #2, this is by Jason White is the best form tackler out there.

    When White gets a great tackle, he picks the guy up, and rather than throwing him down, he drives the player a few meteres backwards, making the on-sides lines favorable for his team and unfavorable for the opponent.

    He truly makes his teammates -- the arriving players -- better at the breakdown.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at October 23, 2008 6:57 pm  

  • Sale should have brought Hodgson and Tait on earlier. They really went up in intensity and skill with them on the field.

    Nevertheless, awesome match and full credit to Munster, who deserved the win.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 24, 2008 7:18 am  

  • No Irish player tackles like he does. Always knocks them back and does it consistently throughout the game. Maybe Neil Best, Jennings and BOD(occasionally)come close but that fast, aggressive defensive style him and Howlett have is missing from the Irish international team. Hopefully some of the Munster lads will learn it off them and pass it on !

    By Anonymous Third Centre, at October 26, 2008 5:35 pm  

  • personally i i thought the first tackle was grand. stuart barnes said border line which means it shouldnt have been a penalty. the second one would have been good but tait ducked into it. the tackle on chabal no doubt one the best tackles in the match. who ever said real munster men couldnt tackle like that is so stupid. real sale men couldnt play like luke mcallister. (just saying)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 18, 2009 1:54 am  

  • That 'spear tackle' was completely legal and not a spear tackle at all.
    Another example of the soft standards the NH has when it comes to tackling.
    It was just a good hit, there is absolutley nothing at all ilegal about dumping, dropping or slamming players onto their backs or shoulders. The rule is you can't lift beyond the horizontal and the only reason it's a rule is to prevent players getting dropped on their heads or necks. That's it, everything else is kosher.
    In the SH, that hit would never, ever get pulled up, it'd be considered a good clean hit.
    That's why SA, NZ and Aus are better teams. They're tougher and the game in the SH is tougher, more physical. It's always been that way and it won't change until the NH realises it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 24, 2009 7:38 am  

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