Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moody sees red over Tuilagi tackle on Cueto in 2005

In 2005 England hosted Samoa at Twickenham in a match that produced a record score, with the visitors taking a 40-3 hiding, but the game was marred by a few ugly incidents in the second half.

Twenty minutes from time prop Justin Va’a was carded for bringing down the scrum, and then six minutes later Mark Cueto got taken dangerously around the neck by Samoan fly-half Tanner Vili, who was sent from the field.

With five minutes left in the game, Cueto was taken out again, this time in the air with a reckless challenge from wing Alesana Tuilagi. Cueto confronted Tuilagi, and a mass brawl ensued, with Lewis Moody running in, unleashing a barrage of punches.

Referee Mark Lawrence had little option but to red-card both Tuilagi and Moody.

"In hindsight, I shouldn't have reacted," Cueto said.

“Maybe Alesana thought I was going to do something, and he reacted in self-defence. My actions seemed to spark it, but it’s difficult to stand off and not get involved when fists are flying.”

Cueto said his reaction could in part be blamed on the fact that the incident occurred so shortly after being clothes-lined by Tanner Vili.

"With the two tackle incidents being so close together, it makes it a lot more difficult. If one had happened in the first minute, and the second had happened in the 80th, then maybe we wouldn't have had the situation we had," Cueto added.

Samoan coach Michael Jones defended his players, claiming Tuilagi was already committed to making the tackle on Cueto, with it being bad timing with no malice intended.

"I think the guys were getting quite frustrated, and they didn't appreciate one of their boys getting hit from behind, which is what I think started it."

Moody became the first England player to be sent off at Twickenham, and only the fourth to be dismissed in international rugby.

Moody was later suspended for nine weeks at a disciplinary hearing, while Tuilagi received six weeks for his part in the incident.

Time: 05:17


Monday, March 30, 2009

Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 7

The rugby so far this season has been first class with many of the franchises, from all three countries, producing some quality rugby. It’s the usual assortment of counter attack to set piece to individual brilliance this week as the tournament keeps getting better.

From Luke Watson's powerful individual effort to both Anthony Tuitivake and Christian Lealiafano's stepping, the bar has been raised yet another notch. Perhaps the Crusaders let themselves down in the case of the controversial Watson, but it was pure class from Brumbies flyhalf Lealiafano against the Sharks.

For the second week in a row, the Sharks have looked deadly from turnover ball, producing a precision 60m try under the sticks. The Chiefs have been on fire in that area too with that man Sivivatu cashing in for the sixth time in the past two games.

With Stephen Donald, Richard Kahui and Mils Muliana dominating the midfield the Chiefs could find themselves even further up the table in the coming weeks.

The Highlanders, Hurricanes and Crusaders all managed wins over their South African counterparts with the men from Dunedin pulling off a 36-12 taming of the Bulls. The Hurricanes squeezed by the Lions despite some end to end stuff from the home side, including American flanker Todd Clever's first try in Super rugby.

The Crusaders sit a lowly seventh but with half of the round robin sill to play; anything can happen. Check back next week as the chase for the top four playoff spots continues.

Time: 05:21
Music: Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC


Fiji beat South Africa to win the 2009 Hong Kong Sevens

Fiji won a dramatic final 26-24 against South Africa to claim their first Hong Kong Sevens title in ten years on Sunday. The game went right down to the final kick in one of the more exciting finals we’ve seen.

It was Fiji who dominated the first half with all the flair and power we’re used to seeing from them, but South Africa came back strong, fighting till the death.

It was a slightly new look Fijian squad at this years tournament, as many of the overseas players were axed following a poor showing at the Sevens World Cup in Dubai. But the selections paid dividends as they proved their naysayers wrong.

"Back home we were written off by our fans but it worked in our favour," Fiji’s coach Iliesa Tanivula said.

"There were no expectations. It gave us motivation to do better. Fijians around the world didn't give us a chance but all credit to the boys, I take my hat off to them."

South Africa scored after the hooter, setting up a conversion kick for captain Mzwandile Stick that would have tied the game and taken it into sudden death extra time.

The kick went wide though, and it was not to be for the South Africans this time, as Fiji celebrated a fantastic win.

They now move up to third on the Sevens World Series standings, behind South Africa and England.

Time: 10:00


Sunday, March 29, 2009

History of Rugby World Cup Sevens - Part 3

The third and final part of the History of the Sevens World Cup series coincides nicely with this weekend’s Hong Kong Sevens, which took place earlier today. Fiji came out trumps over South Africa in a rematch of the classic 1997 final, which is featured in this video.

It was back in 1994 though that a young giant hit the scene with a bang, lighting up the Hong Kong tournament in a way that was never seen before.

Eighteen year old New Zealander Johan Lomu made his mark on the tournament and in many ways, world rugby, as he terrorised defences from Fiji to Australia.
The 1997 tournament in Hong Kong was a huge event, culminating in one of the best finals ever to be seen. Fiji beat South Africa 24-21 in the end as the big name Springbok players couldn’t do enough to hold off the Fijian comeback.

In 2001 the Sevens World Cup moved to Argentina, and it was Lomu once again who featured prominently, particularly in the final against Australia as he scored some amazing tries, running through all before him, as he talks about in his interview.

Sevens has come a long way, with many fifteens players having honed their craft in the shortened version of the game, making it a valuable part of the sport of rugby overall.

Time: 09:22


Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Funnies - The Franciois Steyn rib tickler

The Sharks played the Force last weekend in Perth in an entertaining match where we saw pink vs black as the Sharks came out tops 22-10.

The Force kept the visitors under pressure for long periods, but the Sharks took their chances scoring three tries in a second half blitz.

The Sharks are now in an excellent position, having won five out of six matches, and with six of their last seven games at home.

This amusing moment from the match came when cannon-boot Francois Steyn attempted to clear a kick from the Sharks’ tryline.

Force scrumhalf Josh Valentine effected the charge down, but came off second best as the ball rocketed into his midriff.

Steyn is one of the hardest kickers of a rugby ball around, with a prodigious boot, one you certainly don’t want to get in the way of.

Valentine left the field a few minutes later.

Time: 01:18


Biggest hits of the 2009 Six Nations

One of our contributors from France has put together a Biggest Hits of the 2009 Six Nations video, for those of you who sent in emails requesting a video of this type.

He was a bit hesitant to do it, seeing as France had a tournament they’d rather forget, but he’s been a good sport and gone ahead with it nevertheless, making a pretty cool short vid that features some nice tackles from the past few weeks of Six Nations action.

We get to see some awesome, high quality slow motion shots of the hits that took place, including a few that were featured here on RD.

All sides are represented nicely, with some great hits from Brian O’Driscoll in particular, and then the compilation finishes off with one of the best tackles of the tournament – young Mathieu Bastareaud on big Jamie Roberts.

Time: 01:49
Note: If we've missed a favourite hit of yours, apologies in advance. Enjoy otherwise.


Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 6

Bags of quality tries have become the norm for this season's Super 14. This week, the New Zealand sides finally turn up to produce some end-to-end magic, the South African Sharks and Bulls defend their places at the top of the log while the Australian franchises have had a week to forget.

Two long range tries from the Sharks wingers punished the pretty in pink Western Force who struggled up front all evening. The Crusaders were back to their best with some of the best passages of play all season, from any team. With sweeping back play taking them from sideline to sideline and some brilliant interplay from typically athletic Kiwi big men, have the Crusaders sparked a turn around or is it all too late?

The Chiefs escaped the mid-table log jam with a nine try blitz of New Zealand rivals the Blues, squeezing themselves into the top four. The Sharks are leading the pack with the Bulls close behind. The Waratahs, despite a close loss to the Crusaders retain a third place ranking. It is a matter of a one or two point difference for most teams, meaning it could take just one good game (or one bad one) to see much of the table totally revamped.

A special mention goes to All Black flier Sitiveni Sivivatu, delivering twenty of the Chiefs 63-34 victory, in the form of four superbly taken tries. We've thrown in a few of the best tries for our Round 6 Pick of the Week.

Time: 04:27


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wales take on the Crossbar Challenge

It’s been a while since we’ve featured a Crossbar Challenge here on RD, so this week we’ve got one for you, even though it’s slightly different to what you’re used to.

In this clip we see the original form of the Crossbar Challenge, as the Welsh rugby team make an appearance on Soccer AM, attempting to hit the top of the goal post with a football.

As you can see in the clip, fun was had by all, with many of the Welsh players showing the fun side of their characters. There are notable appearance by Andy Powell the warrior, Alun-Wyn Jones the workhorse, and midfield maestro Paul Scholes.

Kicking a football is clearly different to kicking a rugby ball, as many of them get it hopelessly wrong. It’s all good fun though.

Stephen Jones, for those of you wondering, recited the longest welsh word, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. It's also the longest domain name in existence actually. Nice easy one to remember.

Time: 02:28


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

History of Rugby World Cup Sevens - Part 2

Last week we featured the first part of the very interesting History of the Rugby World Cup Sevens video. This week we’re featuring part 2 in this fascinating insight into how the game of Sevens developed into what it is today.

We see how in 1976 a group of businessmen looked to put a rugby tournament together in Hong Kong. From the humble beginnings of a simple idea, the Hong Kong Sevens grew into a world renown party event, with some amazing matches having taken place there over the years.

Twenty of so years ago, the game of rugby was very different to how it is today. The demands on the players in terms of their schedule was less, so the top players in the world game could compete at the Sevens tournaments.

David Campese was one who thrived in the openness of the shortened version of the game, and then came along a young Fijian whose name will forever by synonymous with Sevens.

Waisele Serevi hit the Sevens stage with bang on the nineties. His balanced stepping, incredible handling, and raw confidence made him one of the most exciting rugby players to grace the game.

He played his part in the classic Tomasi Cama try of the 1990 final, and only recently retired from the game having led his country so proudly for many years.

In 1993 we saw the inaugural Rugby World Cup Sevens, as the game returned to its roots in Scotland, with Edinburgh being the host city. England and Australia met in a gripping final in which the English came out tops 21-17, becoming the first team to lift the Melrose Cup.

There were some brilliant tries scored, most notably from flyer Andrew Harriman as he rounded David Campese on the outside. Campo got his own back though, scoring a classy chip and chase try in the second half.

We’ll feature Part 3 of this excellent series on here soon.

Time: 06:51
Note: The video ends abruptly for some reason unfortunately. Apologies on our behalf.


Classic Toulon counter attack and try against Perpignan

While this match took place over a week ago, we felt this try from Toulon's meeting with Perpignan should be shared with rugby fans around the world.

Perpignan snatched victory from Toulon in the 82nd minute with a 40 meter drop goal from scrum half David Mélé, disappointing the home crowd who witnessed their side put on a great performance against one of the most powerful teams in the country.

Just two minutes into the match, Toulon took the lead after an electric counter attack from their own 22. Sinoti Sinoti flew down the wing, gassing one player before sensationally stepping another.

The ball was recycled and it was Sébastien Fauqué who summed up the situation perfectly, putting in a nicely placed cross kick which was gathered by Jocelino Suta to finish off a great Toulon try.

After the drop kick though, it was Perpignan who won the match 32-29.

Time: 01:23


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top 10 tries of the Six Nations 2009

The 2009 RBS Six Nations is now a thing of the past, so as Ireland bathe in the success of their Grand Slam, it's time for us to reflect on some of the Championship's stand out tries, from all teams involved.

Over the last few weeks we’ve seen some memorable moments from all sides, and starting off the compilation is the man who some say might lead the Lions in South Africa – Brian O’Driscoll.

His return to form has been sensational to see. BOD is now reaching the heights and success he’s always aimed for, and always been good enough to achieve. His try against France looked like the legend of yesteryear, as he showed that he’s still got it.

Fellow countryman, eighthman Jamie Heaslip scored a cracking try in the same match, with an even more audacious step to finish. He himself is one of the new breed of Irish stars, so expect to see plenty of him in the future.

Scotland’s Max Evans scored a great try against Wales, Riki Flutey scored two against France, the second of which was setup excellently by Delon Armitage, and then at the top of the list we see Francois Trinh-Duc with a great individual effort in Italy.

A few lovely tries, some great memories, and an enjoyable 2009 Six Nations Championship, even if you’re not Irish.

Time: 05:25
Note: The order of the tries seems fairly random. You decide for yourself which are your top 3.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ireland beat Wales to win the Grand Slam in Cardiff

Ireland have arrived home in Dublin to a heroes welcome after they successfully claimed their first Grand Slam since 1948, beating Wales 17-15 in a thriller at the Millennium Stadium.

Ireland completed the unbeaten five match run with the win in Cardiff, after tries scored by Brian O’Driscoll and Tommy Bowe, and seven valuable points kicked by Ronan O’Gara, including a drop goal in the dying moments of the match.

While Wales needed 13 points and a win to take the Six Nations Championship themselves, in the end they simply lacked the firepower, but did have the chance to take the Grand Slam away from Ireland, through a last ditch penalty kick from Stephen Jones.

Jones’ kick sailed straight and true, but landed just under the cross bars, meaning Ireland won the Grand Slam for the first time in 61 years.

"We've been close before but it's an absolute delight that finally we achieved our goal we set out to do," said iconic captain O'Driscoll.

"The guts of this team have been together for a number of years and we wanted a big one, we wanted a slam."

"You need the occasional kick to drop short, you need the bounce of ball now and then, and the odd referee's decision. It all helps," he said.

"I felt that on overall performance we deserved it, but you need that bit of lady luck and thankfully 10 years of luck came today."

So 15 000 fans welcomed them home on Sunday, lining the streets of Dublin, desperate to catch a glimpse of the heroes who did their country proud.

It was an excellent Championship, and in the end, Ireland come out tops, and well deserved too. Congratulations to them.

Time: 04:38


England see off brave Scotland at Twickenham

England finished on a high yesterday as they regained the Calcutta Cup with their 26-12 win over Scotland at Twickenham. They have now won three of their five matches in their first Six Nations under Martin Johnson.

The Scots weren’t going to be an easy task though, and played hard, making the task a far more challenging thing than the ease at which England dismissed the French a week prior.

Tries were scored for England by Ugo Monye and Riki Flutey in the opening period, with the third being scored by Mathew Tait, two minutes from time.

Toby Flood kicked eight points with replacement scrum-half Danny Care adding a drop-goal which nudged England two scores in front with eight minutes left.

Scotland have now lost four out of their five matches, with their only win being that over fellow strugglers Italy.

Frustrated coach Frank Hadden said: "As you can imagine it's a very flat changing room. Considering the territory and possession England had today, after 70 minutes we were in the game and had the opp to pull off a special win for our long-suffering supporters.

"But one or two elementary errors cost us."

England coach Martin Johnson was satisfied with the result.

"We lacked a little cutting edge in the second-half, there was a bit of fatigue. It was strange to have that domination of possession and territory but to lose the penalty count 2-1. But it was good that the guys played for a full game to get the win."

Time: 04:14


France outclass Italy in Rome

France pumped Italy 50-8 in Rome on Saturday as they bounced back from their emphatic loss to England last weekend. Their resolute performance saw them end their Six Nations on a high, but it is Italy who now face an uphill battle going forward.

The hosts were dire for the most part, and way too easily outgunned and outmuscled by the far more professional French outfit.

Coach Nick Mallet’s future now hangs in the balance after Italy’s whitewash of five losses from five matches, the first time that’s happened since 2005.

"I think that the score was 6-3 at 20 minutes," Italy’s coach Nick Mallett said. "Then there was an up and under on Paul Griffen, who missed it and they moved the ball quickly and Chabal scored. Six minutes later it was 21-3. If you give away so many points in such a short space of time, it is a long way back."

The next few weeks will be nervous for Mallett to hear if he will be kept on for Italy's tour to New Zealand and Australia.

"There are lots and lots of things (that need to be worked on). I have spoken to the president about how to improve Italian rugby, not only the national team, but also how to produce better players," Mallett said.

"It is too easy to blame the coach or the players when we lose. We need to look at what we can do to improve the level so that we are always ready for this level and not only now and then."

French coach Marc Lievremont was satisfied with the result from their side though.

"The main thing was to close the tournament with a win," Lievremont said. "The first half was good, the second less so. It doesn't make up for the loss at Twickenham, but it is good to win nonetheless.

Time: 05:05


Friday, March 20, 2009

Rod Penney 100m try vs Bath

Saracens have been the topic of much debate and discussion of late as they are in the process of a major shift in personnel in the club. Coach Eddie Jones has left, and many of the players have been told their services are no longer required.

Taking everything into account, their come from behind victory over Bath on the weekend was awe-inspiring. Three tries in the last 15 minutes meant that they snuck victory 20-16, showing fantastic spirit amidst the turmoil at the club.

Despite Bath dominating for practically 70 minutes, Saracens pulled off the impressive win, in front of a delighted 8000 fans at Vicarage Road.

Winger Rod Penney, who was later named Man of The Match, scored twice, with this 100m solo effort from an ill placed Butch James stab through.

The length of the field dash belied his age as he held off would be chasers to dive over for a sensational try.

I was a cracking match, a fantastic comeback win, and an excellent sprint for the try by Penney. With determination like this on the field, we can only hope that the men behind the scenes will sort out the disorder off it.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

History of Rugby World Cup Sevens - Part 1

The 2009 IRB Rugby Sevens World Cup came to a close in Dubai recently with Wales coming out victors over Argentina in a tournament that produced some exciting rugby and more than a few upsets.

Sevens rugby has come a long way since its humble beginnings in Melrose in Scotland, way back in 1883. What started out as a venture to raise funds for a struggling club is now a worldwide phenomenon, spanning the globe with its brand of fun and excitement, not only on the field, but off it too.

In Part 1 of this excellent video series we get to see how the shortened version of the sport first started out, how it spread, and we see highlights from the 1973 tournament in Edinburgh, in which Ireland and England battled it out for the honours in a keenly contested final at Murrayfield.

With old footage and interviews with legendary players, this video is a must watch for rugby fans who’d like to know more about the history of this fantastic version of the game.

Time: 08:38


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Best tries of the Top 14 - Round 19

It’s been a while, but we have another Best Tries of the Top 14 video for you, this time from Round 19 as the tournament reaches the last few rounds, with relegation battles and places at the top becoming a tight affair.

There’s a few excellent tries in this round, with superb build up play being a feature of many, as well as great inter-passing and support play.

Fulgence Ouedraogo once again showed his quality as a flanker with turning up in the right place at the right time once again, followed by some finishing that a wing would be proud of.

Australian Rugby League convert Mark Gasnier got on the end of an excellent Stade Francais try that was started deep in their own half by Lionel Beauxis, then had some excellent exchanges amongst various players before finding Gasnier. A classic try at number four on the list.

Johan Dalla Riva’s try for Montauban also came from excellent lead up work, culminating in Dalla Riva collecting the neat chip over the top.

The number one try, as chosen in this compilation, comes from former All Black prop Carl Hoeft. It’ll make the front row fraternity proud as Hoeft showed that the big boys can also be up in support and take scoring passes nicely.

Nice collection of tries. We hope you enjoy.

Time: 04:23


England stun France at Twickenham

English coach Martin Johnson finally had something to smile about as his England side produced an emphatic 34-10 win over visitors France at Twickenham on Sunday.

Wing Mark Cueto got on the score sheet after just 67 seconds, crowning a simple but well worked move off the back of a ruck. It was the first of their five tries, which had them leading 34-0 early in the second half.

Riki Flutey scored twice, with Delon Armitage and Joe Worsley also crossing for nice tries.

After successive defeats to Wales and Ireland, and being handed 10 yellow cards in their previous four matches, this result was welcome relief to Johnson, who hasn’t had the smoothest of rides as coach so far.

"When we do what we did today we look like a good team," said Johnson. "That was great.

"I don't think our intensity level was higher. Our precision level was better - the guys saw opportunities and took them.

"I am very happy for the guys and there's a good feeling of satisfaction in the changing room."

"It just showed that when we executed what we wanted to do we could open them up and score tries.

"The guys have confidence in what we are doing and to turn them into clinical tries was great.

"There are still lots of improvements to make, but in the heat of the game there are always going to be mistakes and it's about minimising them."

"Centres Mike Tindall and Riki Flutey are getting better and better," he said. "Mike brings that leadership and his defence work is solid, while Riki even ripped the ball off Sebastien Chabal in the build-up to one of the tries."

"The important thing now is to have a good performance next week. Scotland had a real go against Ireland, they'll want to finish off their season by beating England at Twickenham."

Time: 02:58


Monday, March 16, 2009

Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 5

It was do or die in Round 5 of the Super 14 for many teams. Some delivered, giving themselves a fighting chance at making the top 4, while others have seen that dream come and go. Twelve tries of this weekend's action have been jam-packed into yet another RugbyDump Pick of the Week.

There was plenty of everything this week. Storming set-piece play brought crowds to their feet from Newlands to Dunedin while some superb build-up play from the likes of the Brumbies and the Chiefs brought the house down; Adam Ashley-Cooper's two minute try had to be condensed.

The Crusaders were up to their old tricks despite a long injury list that is partially responsible for their current 11th place on the table. Though unable to perform as well as they would have liked, the Cantabrians ran in two beauties with Ryan Crotty and Isaac Ross finishing off. A lack of concentration in the second-half, not to mention two magical Matt Giteau moments, saw the Western Force come back to draw the match.

Fortunately for the spectator, blow-outs have been few and far between this season but round 5 saw the Blues beat down the last place Cheetahs and the Stormers run away from the Lions. Jacque Fourie's interception and offload to speedster Henno Mentz was a flash of brilliance amongst an otherwise one sided contest for the Stormers. Sireli Naqelevuki also showed what a lethal and well balanced runner he is, scoring a neatly taken try.

It's all to play for next week in round 6 as the Bulls, Waratahs, Sharks and Blues fight to maintain their spots at the top of the table.

Time: 04:42


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ireland beat Scotland, keeping Grand Slam hopes alive

Ireland beat Scotland 22-15 in a bruising Six Nations clash yesterday to close in on a first championship in 24 years and edge within one victory of repeating its one and only grand slam of 1948.

A powerful Scottish effort gave the home side a 12-9 advantage at the break after fullback Chris Paterson outkicked Irish flyhalf Ronan O'Gara by four penalties to three.

Ireland's recalled scrumhalf Peter Stringer sent replacement number eight Jamie Heaslip away for his second try of the campaign and O'Gara followed up his conversion with a drop goal. He traded penalties with Paterson before the visitors saw the game out.

Ireland faces defending champions Wales in Cardiff next week with a two-point lead on top of the standings and a much greater points-difference advantage as it hopes to at least end its long championship drought.

Time: 03:50
Credit: Reuters


Wales unconvincing in their win over Italy

Wales survived a monumental scare at Stadio Flaminio but their hopes of a successful RBS 6 Nations title defence look bleak following a 20-15 win over Italy.

Wing Shane Williams scored his 46th Test try and substitute Tom Shanklin touched down eight minutes from time, while fly-half James Hook added 10 points from the boot to thwart an Italian side after full-back Andrea Marcato kicked five penalties.

Six Nations strugglers Italy, without a win in the tournament this season, led 15-13 entering the closing stages before Shanklin's vital score.

Wales, though, will need to record an emphatic victory over Grand Slam-chasing Ireland in Cardiff next Saturday - possibly by 20 points - to retain Six Nations silverware.

Italy, who went toe to toe courtesy of a wonderfully-committed effort by their pack, arguably deserved at least a share of the spoils.

Wales, captained for the first time by lock Alun-Wyn Jones, had expected a fierce onslaught during the opening 20 minutes, and while that duly materialised, Italy then refused to follow the script by wilting.

Williams' try saw him equal Gareth Thomas' Welsh record of eight against Italy, while he is now only one behind Gareth Edwards' Welsh-best of 18 in Five or Six Nations rugby.

But Welsh highlights proved few and far between during a performance that was comfortably their worst in the Six Nations since Warren Gatland took charge 15 months ago.

Time: 04:17
Credit: press association


Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Funnies - A day in the life of Paul O'Connell

With the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa only a few months away, there's been plenty of talk about who will lead the side to battle against the world champions. For many, Paul O’Connell is the man for the job.

O’Connell is as hard as they come, an inspiring leader, and has been at the helm of what is one of the most successful clubs in the Northern Hemisphere currently, Munster.

With his country Ireland, he’s become one of the most respected locks in world rugby, and as is seen in this first clip, is a rousing figure.

This week’s funny comes from a skit that was performed by an Irish National radio Station – Today FM.

The first clip seen here comes from a documentary and shows O’Connell’s ‘manic aggression’ psyche-up talk before Ireland’s match against France in 2007. It gives you the background knowledge needed for the second clip.

After watching the first, hit play on the second and you’ll hear the radio station doing their take on a ‘Day in the life of Paul O’Connell’. Eddie O’Sullivan and Brian O’Driscoll feature in the clip too, although O’Connell doesn’t have much time for BOD.

Have a good weekend, and enjoy the Six Nations, Super 14, Guinness Premiership, Top 14, Magners League... and whatever else is going on. It's a great time to be a rugby fan.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wales beat Argentina to win the IRB Sevens World Cup in Dubai

Wales lifted the Melrose Cup for the first time as they won the IRB Rugby Sevens World Cup in Dubai on the weekend, beating Argentina 19-12 in the final.

On a day of major shocks, the 80-1 outsiders knocked out New Zealand and Samoa to reach their first ever final.

The young squad, who have only been together two years, can now add their names to the list of English, New Zealand, and Fijian stars who have won the World Cup in this shortened version of the game.

The Welsh, who lost to Argentina in the pool stages, opened a 12-7 half-time lead with tries from Richie Pugh and Tal Selley before the Pumas drew level. But Aled Thomas flew down the wing to seal the victory for Wales with the decisive try.

The tournamentitself was a roaring success as it lived up to the sports unpredictable reputation, with upsets and surprises at every turn.

With Olympic committee delegates there for the weekend, there is no doubt that the event went a long way towards convincing them that Sevens should regain it's rightful place in the Olympics.

Time: 09:52


Behind the scenes with the BBC on matchday

The Six Nations kicks into action again this weekend as we see Italy host champions Wales, Scotland welcome Ireland, and in possibly the biggest game of the weekend, France travel to London to play England.

With these games in mind, we have an awesome behind the scenes video for you from the BBC, showing us exactly what goes into matchday preparations for a big Six Nations day of rugby.

We get taken around Twickenham before the England vs Italy match a few weeks back, and get to see what goes into bringing you the match live on tv.

From the temporary production studio, to the awesome track-cam pitchside, the BBC show us the ins and outs of what the different crews have to do before kick-off.

HD cameras, sound mixing, commentary, the lunch bus - we get to see it all in a really interesting video clip that gives us, the fan at home, a better appreciation for the combination of technology advancements and precise organisation that go into making the experience better for us all.

Time: 05:37


Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 4

It was another exciting week’s action in the Super 14 as we saw some impressive performances from a few of the travelling sides, as well as one or two standout excellent tries.

First up we have the Chiefs vs the Force and the lighting quick Leilia Masaga scoring a fantastic try early in the match, after some speedy shifting of the ball out wide.

In the same match, Brendon Leonard and Richard Kahui crossed for nice tries as we saw the Chiefs run the ball freely.

The Cheetahs went down to the Hurricanes in Wellington, but managed to create a nice try for big flanker Wayne Van Heerden.

The Sharks are looking like one of the teams to beat this season, and will look to pick up a third away win on the trot when they face the Reds this weekend. The Bok trio of Ndungane, Jacobs, and Pieterson combined for their excellent breakaway try against the Blues in Auckland.

Isaiah Toeava crossed for the Blues in the same match, and then we finish with Stormers hooker Deon Fourie showing some excellent acceleration to score a try a center would be proud of.

Time: 03:05
Music: F*cking in the Bushes by Oasis


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Midweek Madness - Rugby Cheerleaders

When it comes to the most talked about and controversial incidents on the rugby field, we’ve always done our best to bring you all the action. Eye-gouging, fighting, high tackles – we don’t endorse or encourage it, we simply show it.

It’s under that premise that we’ve got a rather different video for you today. As we strive to bring you the best in rugby, from interviews to funnies, we thought it was about time we featured a different side of the game.

While the purists or prudish out there may not approve, we’re pretty sure the vast majority of rugby supporters have no problem with, and even enjoy, rugby cheerleaders and dancers.

While foreign to rugby until the rise of professionalism, cheerleaders and dancers are now common place, particularly in the Super 14, which is where this footage comes from.

From the famous Sharks flasher girls, to the Hurricanes’ blondes, the fans get to see their favourite teams parade a bevy of beauties before, after, and during the match.

The girls themselves are now even featured on the team’s individual websites, causing locker-room talk about which team has the best looking girls.

Yes critics, this isn’t actually rugby, but neither is Austin Healey arm wrestling, or David Strettle making a fool of himself on a gameshow. We try to give you an all round rugby experience, so kick back and enjoy this look at one of the finer aspects of the game.

Time: 02:13


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

England and Samoa's great Sevens quarter final

The IRB Rugby Sevens World Cup came to a close this past weekend in Dubai as we saw a thoroughly entertaining festival of running rugby capture the minds and hearts of the crowd and watching audience around the world.

One of the best games of the tournament came in the Quarter Final stages as England and Samoa battled it out an epic match that went to sudden death extra time.

Samoa scored early but it was the in form Tom Varndell who answered back from the restart with a trademark try. Samoa scored again, taking the score to 21-7 at the break.

Varndell scored another try shortly afterwards with a fantastic step before gassing it to the corner. Samoa came back with another try, before Ollie Phillips touched down, taking the score to 26-19 to Samoa.

As the buzzer went for full time, it looked as though Samoa had won the match, but a controversial decision meant that the lineout was to be played, which resulted in England scoring through Josh Drauniniu, taking the game into extra time at 26-26.

In sudden death it was stalwart Ben Gollings who somehow made a terrible choice to not pick up a loose ball, resulting in Samoa scoring first and winning this classic match of Sevens rugby.

Time: 07:07
Note: We'll get footage of the final up for you as soon as possible.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Leicester Tigers and London Irish classic at the Madjeski

While we play catch up after a busy few weeks of rugby, we’ve got another classic Guinness Premiership match for you from last weekend at the Madjeski Stadium.

London Irish staged a brave fight back against the Leicester Tigers but eventually came up second best as the Tigers withstood the pressure to win the match 31-28.

Matt Smith scored two tries for Leicester, Marcos Ayerza one, and it was Julien Dupuy who kicked 16 points.

They had a 31-16 lead with six minutes left in the match, but Irish came back, scoring two tries in three minutes through Seilala Mapusua and Steffon Armitage, setting up a tense ending to the game.

But the Tigers held on to win the pulsating game and claim a first away victory in the Guinness Premiership since September. Captain Aaron Mauger was named man of the match for his part in the impressive victory.

Time: 08:39


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Gloucester and Bath go toe to toe at Kingsholm

Last weekend in the Guinness Premiership we saw Bath take on league leaders Gloucester in a derby match that turned out to be somewhat of a classic. Gloucester won 36-27 at Kingsholm, outscoring Bath by four tries to three in the thriller.

Winning coach Dean Ryan hailed both sides for their displays.

"I thought it was an outstanding game – and credit to everyone who took part in it. Of the games I've seen between Bath and Gloucester, that was right up there," said Ryan.

"There's a Six Nations going on – and that game went on underneath it. That's a tremendous credit to both clubs. And I think both clubs showed they are where they deserve to be – at the top end of the league.

"There were quick minds out there – from Bath as well as us – and a lot of the things that happened came from sharp thinking.

"When people think quickly, they find opportunities – and I thought everyone out there was on that level."

The level of intensity in the match also added to the spectacle.

"That was as big as the game here last year, it just had more points," said Ryan.
"For physicality, enterprise and ambition, I thought it had everything."

"That's as well as we've played for a while and I thought Carlos Spencer really pulled the strings."

Time: 06:21
Note: We'll have more Premiership action for you where possible.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Friday Funnies - Austin Healey 'Never been beaten'

We came across this quite amusing vid of ex Leicester Tigers and England international Austin Healey showing himself to be quite the character once again.

While many find his antics irritating, obnoxious and arrogant, there's no doubting that he's a funny guy, and he's respected enough to now be considered a serious rugby pundit with the BBC.

We don't know much about this clip, and the quality isn't great, but its pretty funny anyway.

It's not every day you walk up to a former international rugby player and ask to arm wrestle, but these guys did it, with the smug Healey being more than ready for the challenge, with the aim of earning 12 pints in mind.

Enjoy the weekend.

Time: 01:58


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Stirling Mortlock wins it for the Wallabies in 2000

Last weekend we saw Wallaby Stirling Mortlock kick the crucial winning kick for the Brumbies against the Crusaders in the Super 14. Mortlock called on all his years of experience in international rugby, reminding us of another huge moment in his career, way back in 2000.

It was the Tri Nations nine years back and Australia visited Durban hoping for their first series victory, and an away win against the Springboks.

Making his debut in the same year, Stirling Mortlock had a brilliant first season for the Wallabies, breaking numerous records including becoming the fastest Australian to reach 50 and 100 Test points, scoring the most points and highest number of penalties in his first five Tests, and making history by becoming the first Australian to score 20 points of more in four consecutive internationals.

It was his composure under pressure though that was truly tested in this famous match, as with time almost up, the Wallabies looked to be out of it after a massive Braam Van Straaten penalty.

They snuck in the backdoor though as referee Paul Honiss awarded a penalty close to the sideline. Up stepped the young Mortlock, with his full head of hair and skinny frame, but with the same coolness we saw against the Crusaders recently. He slotted the kick, breaking the hearts of the Springboks and the Kingspark faithful, but sending the Wallaby players and fans into raptures.

"I was not thinking about the championship, just the match. I have been in that situation several times and missed during the last couple of years," Mortlock modestly stated afterwards.

The win secured the visitors the Tri-Nations crown, with the special moment being a stand out highlight in Mortlock's highly successful career thus far.

Time: 03:12


Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 3

Whether they were scored as a result of powerful build-up from the forwards, a scything set-piece move or raw pace, this week's Super 14 Pick of the Week brings back more of what we have come to expect from the highly regarded Super 14.

Round 3's look at the weekend’s action takes us from wet conditions to dry, from Johannesburg to Christchurch and from the backs to the forwards. Australians amongst you need not worry if you find yourself thus far without a mention because its not only you who have noticed two Australian franchises in the top four (Waratahs at 2nd and Western Force at 4th) with the Bulls and Sharks.

No doubt the notoriously slow starting New Zealand teams will hit their stride and as many staunch Kiwis will point out, "If they handed out any trophies in March, the Waratahs would win everytime." It is, of course, early days and rather than telling the future we'll do what we do best.

Tom Carter's stepping igniting a try on half-time from Waratahs back rower Ben Mowen along with a Matt Giteau back door flick perhaps demonstrate why the table sits as it does. Block-busting Jared Payne of the Crusaders refused to let the likes of hat-trick scoring Cameron Shepard have all the fun as he stole the spot light with a devastating counter attack that set up Casey Laulala a phase later.

Conrad Smith and Zac Guilford combining to score in the corner for the Hurricanes early on was great to see. Pierre Spies popped up in the right place, as any back rower should, and if we are going to single out anyone, it has to be Digby Ioane for his sprint and then some against the Cheetahs.

Impressive set piece play from the Blues against the Stormers and the Force against the Brumbies also made the pick this week.

Time: 04:18
Music: Name of the Game by The Crystal Method


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Benjamin Boyet calls for the TMO, and gets it

Toulon are finding form finally as they conquered Bourgoin 23-12 at the Stade Pierre-Rajon on Friday. It was their first away from home win this season, and another positive step towards Top 14 survival.

The victory for Toulon was all the more sweet as they scored three tries more (edit) than Bourgoin, earning them a bonus point.

One of the most interesting and possibly discussed incidents of the season occurred when French flyhalf Benjamin Boyet, of Bourgoin, kicked a penalty at goal that flew high and handsome, but was adjudged by the assistant referees to have missed.

Boyet felt otherwise though, and feverishly asked the referee to call for the TMO to check the kick. The ref did, and it was then decided that the kick was above the upright, but would in fact have gone over.

The assistant referees were overruled, and the three points were given, with Boyet being possibly the first ever player to request the TMO, have the ref listen, and get a decision in his favour.

It begs the question – surely the players have a slightly better feel for what’s happening on the park, which should therefore entitle them to have the right to officially ask for the TMO when they feel it’s necessary?

It was trialled in South Africa last year, with a White Card being afforded to each captain, which he could then use a certain number of times in a half. If the technology is there, and we all want the correct decisions at the end of the day, maybe the scope of the TMO should be extended to allowing players themselves to request video replays, once or twice in a half only?

I’m sure there will be mixed opinions, so let’s hear yours please.

Time: 02:22


Monday, March 02, 2009

Scotland beat Italy at Murrayfield

Scotland beat Italy in a convincing manner at Murrayfield this past weekend to record their first win of this years the Nations championship. Simon Danielli scored an excellent try, helping the hosts to a 26-6 win.

"It feels great at Murrayfield, getting the win," Danielli, scorer of Scotland's first try, said. "I thought we really deserved it. The forwards were really good today; they gave the backs some space."

Both sides went into the showdown having lost their opening two fixtures, but though Italy had beaten Scotland in the previous two tournaments, they made too many handling errors to seriously threaten a third consecutive win.

Chris Paterson kicked Scotland into an early 6-0 lead with two penalties and though Italy fought back, with a drop goal from Sergio Parisse, Phil Godman then kicked a penalty to make it 9-3 to Scotland.

The home side made a break through on 34 minutes when Danielli tore down the right flank for the first try of the afternoon. Godman converted and Italy's Andrea Marcato then missed with a penalty from near the halfway line, making it 16-3 at halftime.

Italy squandered chances through poor handling and wayward discipline, repeatedly dropping the ball in scoring positions.

Luke McLean cut Scotland's lead to 16-6 with a 55th minute penalty, but Scott Gray then dived over in the 60th minute and Paterson converted to make it 23-5.

Paterson then kicked a 68th minute penalty to complete the scoring, leaving Italy rock bottom of the table.

Time: 04:09


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Ireland beat England at Croke Park

Ireland survived a late scare to beat England 14-13 on Saturday and keep its chances for a Six Nations Grand Slam.

Ireland was leading 14-6 with two minutes left when Delon Armitage touched down for the visitors. The conversion pulled England to within a single score but time ran out when wing Mark Cueto spilled the ball in a tackle.

The result leaves Ireland atop the Six Nations standings with a maximum six points from three matches. The Irish are the only team still able to complete a Grand Slam of wins.

England improved vastly on the performance that resulted in a 43-13 mauling on its last visit to Dublin two years ago, but paid for undisciplined play yet again as two yellow cards meant it spent 20 minutes with 14 men.

"It makes life a lot easier when you're playing against 14 men," Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll said.

O'Driscoll played the whole match despite appearing to be slightly below his best because of an injury and scored eight of his team's points. But his try and drop goal both came after a first half that surprisingly left the teams tied at 3-3.

"It was a hard game," O'Driscoll said. "I'll have to look back at it because some parts are a bit hazy for me…

"I don't think people give England the credit they deserve. They're always a hard team."

Time: 05:08


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