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, June 30, 2009

Peter De Villiers speaks out on Schalk Burger, rugby, and of course, ballet

Controversial Springbok coach Peter De Villiers has yet again come out with some puzzling views on the recent second Test in the British & Irish Lions series.

De Villiers, who often baffles journalists with his strange analogies and generally confusing approach to the media, came out saying that he didn't think the Schalk Burger eye-gouge incident was worthy of a sending off at all.

Yesterday in at a press conference in Johannesburg, De Villiers once again faced the media, and once again defended Burger, adament that his actions werent deliberate. He also went on to suggest that if you can't appreciate rugby as a contact sport, you should take up ballet.

"I'm telling you, I watched the TV footage and I'm not saying anything otherwise I will go against everything we decided as a team. I watched the TV footage and I am still convinced there was nothing that he did on purpose. For Schalk himself when he watched it, he was like: 'Oh my!'. But he never meant to go to anybody's eye," De Villiers stressed.

When asked if he thinks the Burger incident overshadowed a historic win, De Villiers lit up.

"You know what, 29 years we've waited for this grrrreat occasion. 29 years! And we are going into the third Test with the series sealed. We are the winners of the British and Irish Lions series, and we are happy about it. This country can now rejoice and be positive for the next twelve years. So I would love the Lions supporters to honour the fact that we won this thing.

"It was tough and the hardest Test series I have seen in a long time. We came back from a a poor start and I never thought we would be able to do that, because this is a brilliant Lions team that we are up against," he said.


Late on Monday he cleared up what he had said about the incident, apologising for the misconception and explaining that he made his comments based on what he knows of Burger the player, not on what occurred.

"It was never my intention to suggest that I condone foul play. That is the last thing I would ever do and I apologise for that impression," he said.

SARU president Oregan Hoskins made an official apology: "We would like to apologise to the rugby community for the erroneous impression that acts of foul play are in any way condoned by South African rugby."

Is PDV barking mad, or just misunderstood and really bad at working with the media?

Time: 02:28


Monday, June 29, 2009

Sergio Parisse suspended for eight weeks for eye-gouge

Italian captain Sergio Parisse has been suspended for eight weeks after an eye-gouging incident during his teams 27-6 loss to New Zealand on Saturday.

Parisse was cited after TV replays showed that he made contact with the eyes of All Black lock Isaac Ross in the second half.

He appeared before a IRB judicial officer in Christchurch and was punished following television footage and reports from the match referee and linesmen.

They found that he had not acted intentionally, but deemed his actions to be reckless. He was charged with the lower range offence, which carries a recommended sentence of 12 weeks.

It was reduced to eight weeks because of mitigating circumstances, as they noted that the initial contact with Ross had been on his cheek, before the hand slipped to the eye, causing only brief contact.

Ross was also unharmed, which helped Parisse’s cause, as did the fact that in 65 Test matches, he’s never been yellow or red carded.

Parisse’s suspension will be delayed until the start of the Italian club season. He will be eligible to resume playing in late September.

Lets hear your thoughts
This is second suspension of the weekend for eye-gouging. Is the punishment for this offence too lenient, or is 8 to 12 weeks fair?

Time: 01:15
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Bakkies Botha suspended for two weeks after injuring Adam Jones

Springbok lock Bakkies Botha has been banned for two weeks after being found guilty of 'dangerous charging' on Adam Jones, an incident that left the British & Irish Lions prop with a dislocated shoulder.

Botha will now miss the third and final Test next weekend, as will Jones, who left the field at the time, with the injury requiring surgery.

Both Botha and Schalk Burger attended a hearing in Pretoria on Sunday night, which resulted in the two week suspension for Botha, and 8 weeks for Burger after his first minute of the Test eye gouge on wing Luke Fitzgerald.

While there has been plenty of talk about dirty tactics, former England captain and British & Irish Lion Will Carling has come out in defence of the Springboks.

"When all is said and done though, South Africa won the test and with that the series and have proved that they are one, if not 'the', strongest team in the World at the moment," Carling wrote on his website.

"Did the Boks cheat, were they just thugs?" Carling continued, " No, not in my mind. If Burger gouged that is inexcusable and the referee should have sent him off there and then. But apart from that, what else did they do that was thuggery? It was hard for sure, bloody hard, but isn't that Test rugby? Botha's illegal challenge on Jones? well what about BOD's illegal tackle? It is swings and roundabouts and the Boks have always been a very very physical side. It is nothing new," he said.

"The Lions can and should be proud of what they have achieved in throwing four 'teams' together in a matter of weeks and secondly the Boks are a bloody good, tough side, with many great players and great characters, and they should not be branded thugs, or cheats. They have won the test series, and congratulations to them."

Lets hear your thoughts
Worthy of a two week suspension, or was it a legal clear out with an unfortunate injury? Also what do you think of what Carling had to say?

Time: 01:03
Please note: Keep things clean and respectful, or your comments will be removed. Random Anonymous comments will also be deleted, so use a name rather.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Wallabies defeat the French in Sydney

Sydney was the venue on Saturday as the Wallabies hosted France in a once off Test match that resulted in the hosts coming out convincing winners, 22-6.

Star flyhalf Matt Giteau ran the show as he scored all the points for the home side as they stretched their dominance over France to four consecutive victories.

France, on a tough tour that saw them facing the All Blacks two weeks in a row, were surely fatigued as they struggled to break the Wallabies unrelenting defence.

Australia on the other hand, came into the match relatively fresh after convincing wins over the Barbarians and Italy.

Giteau scored the only try of the match, which he converted. He also slotted a handy five penalties, which helped the Aussies pull away in the second half after leading 10-3 at halftime.

"It's been a solid month for us and it's good background for us and that was better than a solid performance," coach Robbie Deans said.

"There were elements there that we've been working on, our defence was obvious and it was a full team effort, everyone got into the game and added something."

French coach Marc Lievremont wasn’t pleased with the way their tour has ended.

"We are very disappointed about the end of our tour and it was a very good Australian team that showed us a real level."

"They had a better start than us and everything we did wrong we paid for it. The Wallabies scored very quickly and we were very undisciplined.

"Our players were very courageous but after two very hard games against the All Blacks it was probably one game too many for us tonight."

Time: 04:34


All Blacks disappointed after low-scoring win over Italy

New Zealand put in an unconvincing display as they beat Italy 27-6 at Lancaster Park in Christchurch on Saturday. It was the lowest NZ score against the Italians in their last ten matches, and the first time they’ve failed to score more than fifty points.

Joe Rokocoko, Isaac Ross, and George Whitelock crossed for tries with Luke McAllister adding three conversions and two penalties. Australian born Italian fullback Luke Mclean scored the points for his side with a penalty in each half.

The All Blacks will have been hoping for a better performance ahead of the upcoming Tri Nations, but struggled to find their rhythm and tried too hard at times.

"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves by trying to run it from everywhere and that probably reflected in the score at halftime," said captain Mils Muliaina

"There were a lot of opportunities there but we just didn't execute and it's very disappointing."

Italian coach Nick Mallet was happy with the way his side performed, and satisfied with the outcome of the three Test tour.

"Everything has to be taken into perspective. Italy is a small rugby nation...and to come on a tour like this, Australia, Australia, New Zealand, and to concede just an average of 30 points in each game is a fantastic effort," he said.

"I'm incredibly proud of them. The coaching staff were very happy with the way we hung in there.

"It was a dry night, dry ball and a very good attacking New Zealand side. We got beaten by 70 points in the World Cup so we had a lot of pride to get back.

"Conceding 13 points in the first half and 14 in the second, I'm very happy with that."

Time: 05:14


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Last minute penalty wins epic contest, and series, for the Springboks at Loftus

A last minute penalty from the darling of Loftus, Morne Steyn, decided the fate of the 2009 British & Irish Lions as they went down 28-25 to the Springboks in Pretoria in an epic contest. The Springboks win the series, 2-0.

It was a thrilling Test match that served up plenty of ferocity and quality play from both sides. The Lions led up until the 74th minute, with a win looking on the cards.

They had scored early through Rob Kearney while Schalk Burger was in the sin bin for what was described by the assistant referee as a clear eye gouge. The try was converted by Stephen Jones, who also kicked two penalties and a drop goal.

JP Peterson scored off the back of a lineout for the Boks, but it was the Lions who led at half time after having a large majority of the possession for the second week running.

The Springboks fought back in the second half though, scoring through Bryan Habana and Jaque Fourie, both of which were coolly converted by replacement flyhalf Morne Steyn.

A courageous late penalty from Jones, who looked like he had just badly injured his leg, took the match to 25-25, with a draw on the cards.

As the Boks pushed closer into drop goal territory, they hastily had a shot from far out. The ball was kicked down field, then hoofed back, before Ronan O’Gara launched an up and under.

O’Gara himself chased, but took Fourie Du Preez out in the air, earning the home side a shot at the win from within their own half.

Morne Steyn stepped forward and landed the kick of his life under immense pressure, winning the game for the Springboks and helping to secure the series win.

Time: 09:47


British & Irish Lions fans on tour - Scrum Safari

An estimated 30 000 British & Irish Lions fans will squeeze into Loftus Versfeld this afternoon for the second Test against the hosts, the Springboks. While it's predominantly a rugby tour, for those fans, it's been a holiday like no other.

Touring South Africa is a great experience, with or without rugby. Obviously going with a whole hoard of rugby supporters, all following the same side, makes it that much more enjoyable.

Fancy dress has been rife, as the red tide of Lions supporters washed into Durban last week dressed in all sorts of atire. From full military uniforms with white pith helmets, to super hero get-up, they've made an effort to have a laugh and keep the spirits high. Some have even taken to wearing the local Zulu outfits, complete with shields.

A bottle of beer was never far off either, often shared with South African fans while standing around a braai (barbecue).

The atmosphere has been great, with the experience of being on a Lions tour being second to none. No matter what's happened on the pitch, these men and ladies have enjoyed every minute of their time in the country.

This great feature from the BBC shows us the side of a rugby tour that we dont often get to see, as they show us what goes on behind the scenes with the fans as they move around the country.

Time: 06:14
Note: Thanks to the BBC.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Mathieu Bastareaud admits he lied about being assaulted in New Zealand

Young French centre Mathieu Bastareaud, who initially made claims that he’d been attacked by between four and five men in Wellington on the weekend, has now changed his story and admitted that he actually lied about what actually happened.

Bastareaud sustained several facial injuries in New Zealand after a night out, with his original story being that he got them from a racial attack by a group of thugs on the streets of Wellington. It has now been revealed, that they actually came from a drunken fall.

He suffered a broken eye socket, facial cuts, and severe bruising. The ‘attack’ was such an embarrassment for the country ahead of the 2011 World Cup, that the New Zealand Prime Minister even issued a written apology, along with the mayor of Wellington.

He is now back in France, where he came clean about the story. Mayor Kerry Prendergast is furious, especially as it seems that he wasn’t alone in the cover up.

"There were other players involved, the team doctor was involved, the coach (was involved) because he got sent back so quickly. This is wider than just one player and I think we need an apology.

"My understanding is that other players knew about it, so we can’t just say that this is one player. Clearly the doctor who did the stitching and the fact that he was sent back... other people knew."

Security footage has shown him returning to his hotel uninjured with four other people, at 5:22am. He's said that he made up the story to avoid getting in trouble with the French RFU.

"On Saturday evening, I returned to the hotel after having drunk too much," he said.

"I fell in my bedroom and scarred my cheekbone on the table in the room. I was ashamed and panicked and I thought I would be sent packing by the team management.

"I told the original story because I thought it would be believed, but given the coverage it has subsequently received I thought it would be better to tell the truth."

We’re yet to find out what kind of punishment the 20 year old Stade Francais player will receive. Perhaps the shame and worldwide criticism he'll face is enough at this stage.

Time: 04:45


Stirling Mortlock hit on Sonny Bill Williams - Thats the way the big boys do it

We've had a number of requests for this bone-jarring hit from the Barbarians match against the Wallabies in Sydney a few weeks back.

As always, Sonny Bill Williams making an appearance in a big rugby union match was surrounded by hype and speculation. Many people questioned his ability, and he no doubt was a prized target for the opposition players.

Stirling Mortlock chopped the League superstar down to size early on with this great tackle.

At the end of the match Sonny Bill apparently thanked Mortlock for the sore ribs, to which the Wallaby captain replied "That's the way the big boys do it. "

"He seems like a good bloke and a very funny character," Williams said later. "But I'd love to come back here in a few years' time and show him how I do it."

"I know I am going to have my critics and they are going to come out and bag me but I know that there is definitely a lot of improvement in my game and hopefully in another 10 months you will see a different player."

"I knew there was a lot of pressure on me and I knew that a lot of people wanted to see me get pumped but that's cool," he said.

Williams did show a few touches of class, even getting the better of Mortlock on a couple of occasions, but it was the Aussie center who came out on top overall.

Time: 01:03


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lions legends Gareth Edwards and Gavin Hastings discuss the Second Test

The British & Irish Lions head to Pretoria on Saturday to take on the Springboks in the second Test of the series following the 21-26 loss in Durban last weekend.

The Lions came back well but came up short, despite a frantic last 10 minutes. There were plenty of positives to be taken from the match though, so they’ll want to build on that at Loftus.

Lions legends Gareth Edwards and Gavin Hastings have a wealth of Test Match rugby between them, so they got together to discuss the upcoming match, and reflect on what can be taken from the previous test.

The big question on everyone's mind if if the Lions can actually win the match at altitude, in front of the passionate Loftus Versfeld crowd. The atmosphere will be intense, but if they can overcome that and level up the series, it’s all to play for at Ellis Park the following weekend.

Edwards and Hastings touch on, amongst other things, the turning points from the match in Durban, the lethal looking combination of Roberts and O’Driscoll, and the precision that is needed to take down the Boks.

Time: 09:20


Kenyan rugby and Safari Sevens tournament growing in popularity

Kenyan rugby has come on in leaps and bounds of late, as the national Sevens side have proven to be giant killers on this years IRB World Sevens Series circuit. With wins over the best in the business, the Tusker Safari Sevens was the perfect homecoming for the side that has done a great deal for rugby back home.

With the sensational Collins Injera leading the way as top try scorer, Kenya have gone from being a minnow of the game, to finishing sixth on the IRB Sevens circuit for the season.

Together with captain Humphrey Kayange, Injera was nominated for IRB Sevens Player of the Year, the first time Kenya has been represented on the list in the tournaments 10 year history.

In Nairobi this past weekend, a crowd of 10 000 gathered to watch their heroes in action as they took on invitational sides that represented twelve different nations.

Kenya lifted the trophy for the second year in a row after they beat South Africa’s second string Sevens side, the Emerging Springboks, 40-19 in the final.

With the tournament's growth in popularity, and the sport of rugby reaching new fans, there is now talk of adding Nairobi to the IRB Sevens Circuit.

The Safari Sevens has been running for 14 years now, and while it was originally a development tournament, it’s now served that purpose and is ready to welcome the bigger sides in world rugby. This would have a great effect for the sport, as well as the local population.

With the sport of Sevens on the rise globally and fans flocking to exotic destinations to follow their sides in action, surely the Kenyan Safari Sevens needs to be looked at as a permanent IRB series fixture?

Who could deny the appeal of travelling to Nairobi for a weekend of sun, party atmosphere, and above all, top quality Sevens rugby. Mark it down in your calenders for next year.

Time: 02:41


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Scrum on the Beach this summer

As we saw in Cape Town, it’s winter down south with pretty chilly conditions for rugby being seen at Newlands, as well as Canberra and Dunedin recently. The good news for those of you up north is, it’s summertime.

O2 are once again putting on their Scrum on the Beach festival, which is essentially a big rugby beach party where you can have a crack at playing rugby in the sand, amongst other things.

There are plenty of prizes, giveaways, and you’ll stand a chance of playing with some of England’s stars. Test your skills in the O2 Play Zone, compete on Batak Duel competition stations, pick up rugby freebies, have a beer, eat ice cream, and grab some autographs.

England players will be on the lookout for the teams with the most flair, and if you’re chosen, you’ll get to play at Twickenham in a tournament.

Where is it being held?
Essex Martello Bay Clacton-on-Sea 4 July, 11-6pm
Great Yarmouth Marine Parade 11 July, 11-6:30pm
Southport Ainsdale Beach 18 July, 10-5:30pm
Bournemouth Boscombe Beach 25 July, 10-7pm
Dorset Weymouth Beach 1 August, 10-6:30pm
Newcastle Tynemouth Longsands Beach 8-9 August, 10-4pm
Lincolnshire Skegness Beach 15 August, 10-5pm
Newquay Lusty Glaze Beach 28 August, 12-7pm
Newquay Lusty Glaze Beach 29-30 August, 12-11pm

It’s a great event with plenty of fun for all, so if you can, get on down. This fun promotional video shows us top players Paul Sackey, Danny Care, Ben Foden, Lewis Moody, and Delon Armitage all trying their hand at beach rugby.

Time: 01:23
Note: For more info, checkout the official website here.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Emerging Springboks snatch a dramatic draw against the British & Irish Lions

The British & Irish Lions suffered their first non-Test hiccup in Cape Town earlier tonight as they drew with the Emerging Springboks after a frantic last minute of rugby in atrocious conditions.

Keith Earls, playing at fullback, scored the first and only try for the Lions as the rain pelted down on a soaked Newlands. Despite the weather, roughly 40 000 turned out to see the match, adding further fuel to the argument that the devout Cape fans should have been afforded a Test match.

Running the ball in those conditions proved challenging, but the Lions tried when they could, as they looked to have an edge in the first half after Earls' nicely taken try.

It was confrontational and tight, with the Lions leading 13-6 and looking as though they'd come away with another midweek win after James Hook slotted a penalty three minutes from time.

The Emerging Boks were awarded a penalty and Earl Rose kicked for the corner, which led to a really well worked lineout move. The ball was recycled, and replacement Willem De Waal spun it out wide to another replacement, wing Danwell Demas, who dived over for a great try.

The conversion was from the touchline as the rain poured down once again, but being the seasoned professional that he is, De Waal kept his nerve and slotted the kick beautifully, earning the home side a memorable 13-13 draw.

Time: 05:02
Note: This clip includes an interview with Willem De Waal from after the match.


Ireland A beat the England Saxons to win the Churchill Cup

Ireland A won the Churchill Cup tournament with a convincing 49-22 final victory over England Saxons in Denver, Colorado this past weekend.

In the sweltering heat, Declan Kidneys side ran in six tries in total after they led 20-12 at halftime after Devon Toner and Isaac Boss crossed in the first half.

Sean Cronin increased Irealand’s lead just 24 seconds into the second half, followed by Felix Jones, Johne Murphy, and John Muldoon all notching up tries.

Jonathan Sexton kicked three penalties, slotted a drop goal, and converted three tries for the Irish, with Fergus McFadden converting another two.

The try of the match came when Jones collected a high ball superbly before bursting away, feeding McFadden, who then found Murphy.

Ben Woods and Tom Varndell scored for the Saxons, who also had four penalties kicked by Steven Myler. The Varndell try was a late consolation, but it was the Irish who had all to celebrate as they picked up the title of Churchill Cup winners for 2009.

Time: 07:27


Stick Phil Vickery on the wing - Great prop try from 2002

Since the weekend's Test between the British & Irish Lions and the Springboks in Durban, Phil Vickery has had his reputation diminished slightly as he took a mauling in the scrum. On the wing, Ugo Monye has suffered a similar fate following his lack of finishing.

The pieces of the puzzle now fit, and after seeing this try from 2002, it all makes sense – stick big Phil out on the wing. With finishing like this, you can’t go wrong.

It was May 2002 and the Zurich Premiership (as it was known then) Quarter Final between Gloucester and Newcastle at Kingsholm.

The home side, Gloucester, scored nine tries as they romped to an emphatic 60-9 victory, scoring some fantastic tries, but none more memorable than this great effort from their captain courageous, Phil Vickery.

Some superb lead up play from the scintillating James Simpson-Daniel allowed Vickery to be released on the left wing. Showing the Shed his impression of a top class left winger, the big guy fended off the attention of Gareth McClure, then ran over Liam Botham as he dived over for a quality try.

He’s had a long and illustrious career, so it would be a shame for the 33 year old to be remembered for what happened at the hands of The Beast last Saturday.

This try sheds a little light on the situation, and there’s no doubt that Vickers would have easily finished both those chances that Monye had.

The Lions play the Emerging Springboks in Cape Town later today. Take a look at our Fixtures page for upcoming matches, as well as links to highlights from the rest of the tour.

Time: 02:37



Monday, June 22, 2009

Junior All Blacks run riot against Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup

Hosea Gear scored a hatrick of tries as the Junior All Blacks convincingly beat Fiji 45-17 in their Pacific Nations Cup meeting at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

Scoring seven tries in total, the Junior All Blacks looked a polished outfit as they showed a lot more precision and cohesion than in their 17-16 win over Samoa in the opening match.

A disjointed Fiji side at times showed their ability, but had a high error rate which disrupted their flow, allowing the Junior AB’s to run in tries at every opportunity they got.

Stephen Brett and Gear showed their class and return to form as they were a step above anything Fiji had to offer in defence. Gear looks to be returning to the type of form that earned him a senior All Black position on their end of year tour last year.

The 10 000 home fans went home disappointed by their teams effort, but got to see an expansive game that produced plenty of running rugby, ten tries, and some quality finishing.

The Junior All Blacks took the maximum five points from they match, as they now comfortably top the table, ahead of Samoa and Fiji. They play Japan on Tuesday in their next fixture.

Time: 03:44


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Springboks take the lead in the series against the Lions

The much anticipated first Test of the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa kicked off in Durban earlier today at a packed Kingspark. The Springboks blundered an early lead to let the Lions back into the match, but did enough to come away with the 26-21 win.

Despite many predicting that the Boks would be rusty after a lack of match practice, they fired from the start as they charged over the line through captain John Smit, giving them the early ascendency.

Prop Beast Mtawaria put on a powerful display as he dominated English prop Phil Vickey, earning a handful of penalties, which Ruan Pienaar duly turned into points. Vickery was replaced by Adam Jones after 45 minutes, which immediately made a difference.

The first 60 minutes was all about the hosts, who powered to a 26-7 lead thanks to the Smit try, a pushover try from Heinrich Brussouw, and successful kicks from Pienaar and Francois Steyn.

They took their foot off the gas though, and along with some early substitutions, nearly allowed the Lions back into the match despite the large margin.

Two tries from Tom Croft and one by Mike Phillips set up a thrilling finish as the Lions came back excellently, producing a really exciting last ten minutes.

They came close to scoring on more than one occasion, with Ugo Monye being held up over the line, and then later having the ball knocked out of his arms from an excellent covering tackle by replacement flyhalf Morne Steyn.

The center pairing of Brian O'Driscoll were, as predicted, a powerful force as they caused chaos in the Bok ranks for a large part of the match.

While South Africa almost managed to blow their strong lead, it was the Lions who had over sixty percent of the possesion throughout the match, that they probably should have, and could have, turned into points.

This meeting of rugby giants is anything but a forgone conclusion, but the Lions now have an uphill battle as they'll need to win the next two matches to clinch the series.

Time: 09:30


Wallabies once again too strong for Italy

The Wallabies were once again too strong for Italy as they beat them 34-12 to win their two match series, following on from their 31-8 victory in Canberra last weekend.

Scoring five tries for the win, the hosts reached a 20-6 halftime lead, but needed another 30 minutes before rounding off the win with two late converted tries.

"We couldn't find our rhythm at times and that probably hurt us, especially after halftime where they are key minutes in games and we let them back into it through ill-discipline and poor direction," Berrick Barnes said.

"But overall it was a good finish to see us come through at the end."

Replacement Adam Ashley-Cooper scored twice, with hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, center Ryan Cross, and Lachlan Turner all crossing for tries.

Hatrick hero from last week, James O’Connor, had a quieter match this week, finishing with two conversions and a penalty.

Coach Robbie Deans felt it was a good learning experience for some newer players, after he had fielded eight changes and three positional switches from last week.

"They had to work hard to create shape and we left them out there toiling away at it and they'll be much better for the experience," Deans said.

"You just can't replicate that sort of preparation in training, the reality is that when the adrenaline starts genuinely pumping your thought process doesn't get tested," he said.

Italy coach Nick Mallett said he was proud of his team's performance on a dry pitch.

"We were never going to win the game, but to stay in touch with 10 minutes to go I was really proud of the guys," Mallet said.

The Wallabies host France in Sydney next weekend, while Italy travel to New Zealand to take on the All Blacks.

We'll try get longer highlights up as soon as possible.


New Zealand level the series against France in Wellington

The All Blacks drew the two Test series with France in a rain drenched Wellington after a 14-10 win that went some way towards redeeming the pride of the nation.

They bounced back well after their 27-22 defeat to Les Blues last weekend, with a much improved forward effort, as they denied France from winning their first series in New Zealand since 1994.

It was a tight and hard old style Test match, with the driving rain doing neither side any favours as the ball resembled a piece of soap at times as it spat out of the grasp of both sides on numerous occasions.

Stephen Donald struggled in the conditions initially, missing his first three kicks, but when Ma’a Nonu dived over in the first half, New Zealand looked to be taking shape.

Two penalties to Donald and one to his replacement Luke McAllister had the home side in the lead throughout. A superb individual effort from left wing Cedric Heymans kept France in the match though.

Heymans got the ball with very little space to move, so little in fact that it seemed he had stepped out. He hadn’t though, and he sensationally went on to beat no less than four players on his way to the tryline for a brilliant individual try.

Scrumhalf Julien Dupuy converted, before his replacement Dimitri Yachvili slotted a penalty, but it wasn’t enough as the All Blacks held on for a well deserved win under immense pressure.

Time: 06:00


Friday, June 19, 2009

Lions Memories - Selection

On the eve of the first meeting in the three Test series in South Africa, we've got a short video for you that talks about being selected for the Lions, and what it means to a player to be chosen amongst the privileged few.

After a long wait, the time is nearly upon us as the World Champion Springboks host the British & Irish Lions for the first time since they last won a tour, in 1997.

Following the initial squad selection, and a few unfortunate injuries, there's been much debate for the last few weeks about who the starting fifteen will be to take the field in Durban for this historic meeting of rugby giants.

We now know the make up of both sides though, as thirty men will kickoff the Test series tomorrow in what should be a fiercely physical contest of mind and body.

This video features short interviews from past Lions, legends of the game, talking about how it felt for them to make the prestigious tour party of the best players from England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.

The lineups for tomorrow are as follows:

British and Irish Lions:
Lee Byrne, Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Ugo Monye, Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, Lee Mears, Phil Vickery, Alun-Wyn Jones, Paul O'Connell, Tom Croft, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip
Replacements: Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Donncha O'Callaghan, Martyn Williams, Harry Ellis, Ronan O'Gara , Rob Kearney

Francois Steyn, JP Pietersen, Adi Jacobs , Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Ruan Pienaar, Fourie du Preez; Tendai Mtawarira, Bismark du Plessis, John Smit, BJ Botha, Victor Matfield, Heinrich Brüssow, Juan Smith, Pierre Spies
Replacements: Gurthro Steenkamp, Deon Carstens, Andries Bekker, Danie Rossouw, Enrico Januarie, Jaque Fourie, Morne Steyn

Time: 02:44


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Looking back at the Lions' series win in South Africa in 1997

As we all know, the British & Irish Lions play the first Test of the 2009 tour of South Africa against the Springboks in Durban this Saturday. This years crop will look to emulate their successful predecessors, who famously won the series the last time they visited the country, back in 1997.

Twelve years ago the World Champion Springboks hosted the first professional Lions squad of the modern era. The Boks were considered by many to be the favourites, but it was the visitors who pulled off the sensational series win, the following in the footsteps of the legendary group who won there in 1974.

Ian McGeechan was coach in 1997 too, and along with Jim Telfer and Fran Cotton, used their collective experience to put together a powerful unit that played to their strengths, and prevailed against the odds.

Led by the imposing figure of Martin Johnson, the Lions won the first Test in Cape Town, with that famous Matt Dawsom dummy stopping about four Bok defenders dead in their tracks.

In the second Test, Jeremy Guscott proved the difference minutes from time, as with both sides level on 15-15, the England center coolly slotted a drop goal that effectively won them the series.

The Springboks found their rhythm and got their goal kicking right in the third and final Test, winning 36-16, but it was to no avail as the visitors had already won the series 2-1.

Their are a few obvious parallels that can be drawn between this years tour, and that of 1997: The Springboks were World Champions, Ian McGeechan was coach, and a big, powerful lock was captain. Will history repeat itself?

We have a really interesting two part video from Total Rugby that shows just how the Lions went about winning the series back then. Part one first, then part two. Enjoy.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top 14 Biggest Hits of the season compilation

Last week we posted an awesome compilation from the French Top 14 that featured some of the of the best tries of the season, scored around the country in one of the most fascinating tournaments in rugby.

The video included some of the greatest moments of the 2008/2009 season, that was of course won by Perpignan against Clermont in the final.

Today we've got a follow up to that video, which features some of the biggest hits of the tournament. A few were featured here on RD, but the majority of which you probably wouldn't have seen before, which makes it a really enjoyable video to watch.

While many of the hits are probably on the wrong side of legality, there's a fair mix of textbook tackles that are also great to see.

Amongst other great tackles, we see Tana Umaga with a couple of crunchers from his comeback season, Freddie Michalak puts in a dangerous spear, and Dan Carter gets smashed by Juan Martin Hernandez.

Time: 03:44


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Southern Kings stand up to the British & Irish Lions in Port Elizabeth

The Lions kept up their unbeaten record in South Africa as they came away with a 20-8 win against the newly formed Southern Kings, at the highly impressive Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

At over 35 000, the biggest crowd of the series so far came out to see a contest, and that is what they got, as this bruising encounter was perhaps the most physical of the tour to date.

The Kings, who had only been together a week before taking to the field, were a mix of characters that included some ex Springboks, a few Bulls regulars, returning overseas players, and a couple of Springbok Sevens stars.

From the outset it was clear that the massive Lions pack wasn’t going to intimidate them, as they took it to them physically, and won the contest at the breakdown regularly.

The tourists got their points by way of two unconvincing tries, the first from Ugo Monye and the second from referee Nigel Owens, who awarded a penalty try as the Kings pack disintegrated.

Ronan O’Gara came on for the injured James Hook, contributing 10 points with the boot, as well as setting up the Monye try with a neat crosskick.

The Kings though, looked the more organised unit as scrumhalf Francois Hougaard controlled from the base superbly, before he left the field injured, resulting in a the game changing in momentum slightly.

Playing the match with 14 men for 60 minutes didnt help the home sides cause either. That said, Sevens star Mpho Mbiyozo was named Man of the Match for his excellent work around the park, at the breakdown, and for scoring their only try.

Once again though, it was the Test experience of the Lions that got them home, as they hung in and saw off the pressure, resulting in the win.

Looking at the way the Lions failed to assert their authority, as well as being dominated at the breakdown, is there in fact serious cause for concern?

Or perhaps it’s quite simply a case of job done, bring on Durban for the first Test on Saturday.

Time: 06:19


Classic Encounters - Wallabies vs Barbarians 1984

Last weekend we watched as the Wallabies trounced the Barbarians in a one sided match at the Sydney Football Stadium. Today we look back at a classic meeting between the two sides from December 1984, at Cardiff Arms Park.

The 1984 Wallabies did something that no other Australian side had achieved before on a tour of the UK & Ireland, and that was to win the Grand Slam.

They convincingly beat England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. They then rounded off their successful campaign with a win over the Barbarians.

After losing to the All Blacks in the last match of the Bledisloe Cup earlier that year, the Wallabies were written off by the British media. They proved them wrong though as they started the tour with a strong 19-3 win over England at Twickenham.

Victories over Ireland, Wales, and Scotland followed, as the Wallabies established themselves as a serious force on the world stage. Their match against a strong Barbarians side cemented that standing, as they ended the all conquering tour on a high.

Mark Ella scored a try in each of the four Tests, while Michael Lynagh scored 42 points, which was the most by an Australian in a Test series.

The magician David Campese provided one of the moments of the tour, and of this match, as he darted down field with a weaving run before linking up with the flying Michael Hocker to score a classic try.

The Wallabies won the match 37-30, went home as heroes with reputations enhanced, and in 2002, were recognised by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame as one of their greatest sports teams ever.

Time: 02:23
Note: The clip incorrectly states that it was at Twickenham. It was in fact at Cardiff Arms Park.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Andy Powell huge hit on Duane Vermeulen

Cardiff Blues eighthman Andy Powell put in a solid performance on Saturday against Western Province as he looks to cement his place in the Test side by ousting the number one contender Jamie Heaslip.

While he’s only had two appearances on tour, this past weekend he found glimpses of form, despite it being revealed that he’s been playing through the pain barrier with a broken bone in his hand.

"I have a bit of a fracture there and it is a bit painful but these things happen in professional sport," said Powell, who needs to wear a protective bandage to play.

"I have been able to get through it with painkillers. I have had to let it heal and I stayed a bit out of contact last week. Training is quite physical but that is part of the tour."

Physical was the name of the game at Newlands in the 71th minute as he put in this monstrous hit on opposition loose forward Duane Vermeulen. The ref and assistant ref viewed it as illegal though, so a penalty was awarded.

"I have looked back at the video and I feel I put a full arm around him so it was a full contact," he added.

"But these referees make their decisions and their word goes."

Vermeulen is a huge unit himself, who doesn’t often get knocked about, so this collision was immense. Come Test time, Powell may be up against another monster of a player in Sprinbok number eight Pierre Spies.

When asked how he’ll deal with him, the straight talking Powell has no hesitation in answering with a big smile on his face.

"That is an easy answer. Smash him mate."

Time: 02:03


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Argentina beat England in Salta to level the series 1-1

Argentina won the second match of the two Test series against England 24-22 at Padre Martearena Stadium on Saturday, redeeming themselves after last weekend’s loss at Old Trafford.

It was a strengthened Pumas side in front of a packed home ground, which proved an entirely different prospect to that which faced England a week ago.

Veterans Mario Ledesma, Marcos Ayerza, and Rimas Alvarez Kairelis boosted the pack, as the home side put huge pressure on the visitors, resulting in an early try after just two minutes. Juan Manuel Leguizamon stormed through a huge gap after a turnover at the lineout.

Horacio Agulla then broke through the line before combining beautifully with the flying wing Gonzalo Camacho, who flew in at the corner for a great try.

Four successive penalties by Andy Goode had England trailing 21-15 before Argentina extended their lead with a trademark drop from flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez.

England scored with four minutes to go through a well worked try that had big wing Matt Banahan scoring his second try in two weeks, but it wasn’t enough as the Pumas easily ran down the clock.

"Argentina improved dramatically," Ledesma said. "We conceded a few penalties in the third quarter, but we regrouped at the end. We were not as tired as they thought we were."

Try scorer on the day Banahan was optimistic despite the loss."It was a very hostile environment but if you can play well in the worst places, hopefully when you visit the nicer places your standards will only rise," he said.

"To come to Argentina will probably make or break an England player as we only had about 10 fans there and it was really noisy. I was pleased with the way it went."

Time: 04:17


Saturday, June 13, 2009

The British & Irish Lions snatch the win over Western Province

The British & Irish Lions made it five out of five at Newlands as they snuck home with a 26-23 win over a well structured and determined Western Province in Cape Town.

Wing Tommy Bowe had another classy performance, scoring a try and then setting up flying colleague Ugo Monye with a lovely pass. Martyn Williams also crossed, as Stephen Jones got two penalties and two conversions.

For the home side Willem De Vaal commanded well from flyhalf, adding two penalties and a drop goal to go with the one from fullback Joe Pietersen, who also finished off a classy try.

It was one of the better matches we’ve seen so far on this tour, with a rainswept Newlands providing a great atmosphere as the locals got behind their beloved side who refused to give in.

It was the bruising matchup that the Lions perhaps desired ahead of the Test series, as Western Province stood up in the physicality stakes and did their utmost to silence the touring British & Irish supporters.

A late James Hook 50m penalty was ultimately the difference between the two sides, as the Lions have once again come close to a tour loss, but managed to produce just enough to maintain that unbeaten record.

"I'm glad to have won my first match as Lions captain," said prop Phil Vickery who captained the side on the day.

"It was a great game, played in a great spirit, with lots of physicality. This was traditional Lions rugby. Fantastic, although our execution at times was poor."

Time: 06:38


The Wallabies cruise to victory over Italy

Young James O'Connor marked his first start in a Test match with a hatrick as Australia comfortably beat Italy 31-8 at a chilly Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

The Wallabies scored five tries to one as the Six Nations wooden spooners were never in the contest, plunging to their ninth consecutive Test loss.

The 18 year old O'Connor started the Test at fullback and showed surprising confidence and class for such an inexperienced youngster. He brought up his hatrick after easily barging through Italian number 8 Sergio Parisse.

"I'm pretty stoked with that, I was probably in the right place at the right time with some opportunist tries," O'Connor said.

"I found out early in the game that the Italians are pretty physical and I got dumped, but once we struck with our structure and played our game plan it really worked out well for us."

Stirling Mortlock and Matt Giteau scored a try each, while Giteau kicked three conversions.

The Wallabies will be satisfied with the win, but not entirely happy with their performance, and will look to iron out some creases when they meet Italy again in Melbourne next weekend.

Note: We'll try get better/longer highlights soon.


France upset the All Blacks in Carisbrook

France put in a massive defensive effort and capitalised on opposition mistakes as they beat New Zealand 27-22 at Carisbrook in Dunedin in the first of their two Tests.

The home side made costly errors that resulted in France punishing them The All Blacks were guilty of putting in a rare poor defensive showing at times, as Francois Trinh-Duc proved for the first try as he broke through numerous tackles and powered over.

Hooker William Servat crashed over a little later, and France had a 17-3 lead which put them in a commanding position. A spirited fightback by New Zealand followed though, starting with a Liam Messam try on the stroke of halftime.

The hosts got the scores up to 17-17, but as they struggled to break the stubborn French defensive line, the returning Luke McAlister forced a pass which was intercepted by Maxime Medard.

It was the final nail in the coffin, and despite a late Ma'a Nonu try, France held on to record a famous win in New Zealand.

Speaking ahead of the match, captain Thierry Dusautoir said: "They are a mythical team - to beat the All Blacks it's always the pinnacle of a player's career, especially in New Zealand because very few French teams have done that."

Time: 07:38


Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Funnies - Just another Chiefs fan's reaction to the Bulls victory

It's been two weeks since the Bulls thrashed the Chiefs in the Super 14 final at Loftus in Pretoria. While many expected the Chiefs to put up more of a showing, there was one fan in particular who couldn't contain his outrage at the result.

We do our best to bring you rare footage here on Rugbydump, and this clip is indeed just that.

The tape was leaked to the public and many of you might have already seen it as it did the rounds since the final, but we've had many requests for it so felt it should be shared on here.

Watch in amusement at the moment the Super 14 Final result is revealed to a devout fan.

As history has shown, some people are just bad sports, struggling to handle defeat.

Please Note: While this is a good, tongue in cheek laugh for some, it might not be to everyone's liking, so we'll give a word of warning ahead of time. It contains bad language, a sensitive subject (a NZ side taking a hiding), and is not appropriate for minors.

Time: 03:49


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ireland u20's challenge the Haka - Junior World Championship 2009

The Junior World Championship has captured the imagination of rugby fans across Japan as Under 20 sides from around the world compete for the title of the best team at that age group.

While most of the players taking part are inexperienced youngsters who are getting their first taste of international competition, there are some who have already taken the leap into professional rugby.

World Series Sevens, Guinness Premiership, and Super 14 players are all represented at the tournament, adding to the interest levels and the quality of play.

Last years champions New Zealand took on Ireland at the Mizuho Rugby Ground in Nagoya, but from the start Ireland showed that they were not to be intimidated by one of the most consistently powerful junior sides around.

As is commonplace these days, Ireland challenged the Haka, but perhaps went a bit overboard as they were practically standing on the players before it was over.

They were out to make a point, and they did just that as they match was confrontational and competitive, but they were no match for the might of the Baby Blacks, who won 17-0.

Did the young Irishmen take things a bit too far? Was Zac Guildford out of line for lashing out at the end? Or was it all perfectly fine and just another part of rugby theatre? We're keen to hear what you think.

Time: 02:22


British & Irish Lions win well against the Sharks in Durban

The British & Irish Lions put on a strong second half performance to beat the Sharks 39-3 in Durban on Wednesday. The Sharks defended manfully for the first forty, but the experience and class of the Lions was too much for them in the second.

Coach Ian McGeechan had chosen a side that looked close to what the possible Test team will be, but despite huge pressure, they were unable to break the Sharks defence early on.

The home side had a strong forward pack, but were missing ten Springbok players in total, lacking firepower in the backs when they did get some rare possession.

In fact, the Lions had almost 80 percent of the ball in the first half, and only managed one try. That rustiness will need to be sorted out before the first Test.

The Lions center pairing of Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Roberts continues to impress though, with Roberts making inroads seemingly every time he gets ball in hand.

There was some concern after he possibly injured his shoulder, but McGeechan has said it’s simply bruised after a big knock and he’ll be fine.

In the end, the Lions scored five tries against a traditionally strong South African side. They’ve now won four out of four, which would have been their goal so far.

"I am very pleased," said McGeechan. "We showed very strong discipline and patience - it was a very strong performance."

"We didn't panic. We just kept building a performance and reaped the benefits in the second half,” he added.

Are there still worrying signs at this stage of the tour, or are you confident that with the correct combinations in place, the Lions are strong enough to take on the World Champions?

Time: 05:33


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top 14 Tries of the Season Compilation

Another French Top 14 season has come to a close as Perpignan captured the coveted Brennus Shield by beating Clermont in Paris on the weekend.

The championship produced some excellent rugby this season, as we saw big players from around the world converge on France, joining up with their new clubs and having a crack at being the top side in the country.

In some cases just avoiding relegation was the goal, as was seen with Tana Umaga’s side Toulon, who themselves scored some great tries this season.

This next season is already shaping up to be another intriguing one, as the big spenders have pulled in more big names. Jonny Wilkinson, Sebastien Chabal, Francois Steyn, and a whole host of players will be joining clubs across the country.

Some great tries were scored this season, as were covered randomly here on RD, but now that it's all over, we have this excellent tries compilation for you that makes one appreciate just how enjoyable the Top 14 can be.

Its pretty long for a compilation, but thoroughly enjoyable as we see the best the season had to offer in nine minutes of classic rugby action. Enjoy.

Time: 09:04


Midweek Madness - Prop Ben Alexander's big dive try

Earlier in the week we posted the highlights of the Wallabies drubbing of the Barbarians at the Sydney Football Stadium from the weekend. A total of eight tries were scored by the home side, with this one standing out for us as a must share.

Prop Ben Alexander crossed for his first Wallaby try as he hit the gap at an angle, followed up by an outrageous dive that Matt Giteau himself would be proud of.

Alexander has admitted that if he gets the chance again this coming Saturday against Italy, anything could happen.

''Whenever you score is good fun but to get one for your country in a home match is so unbelievable,'' Alexander said.

''I looked up and saw the biggest stupid grin on my face when I realised it wasn't a forward pass... I don't know what was going through my brain when I made the big dive.

''I probably watched Adam Ashley-Cooper do too many swan dives so I tried to copy him, but it didn't look too good and I probably wish I didn't do it.

''I'm always getting tackled on the try line so I can't really do much... It was a great feeling and hard to control your emotions and not carry on too much, if I was a bit more tired I probably wouldn't have carried on as much.''

Commentator Phil Kearns, a former front rower, clearly frowned upon it. Greg Martin though, a back in his heyday, thought it was spectacular.

We tend to agree. Go the dive.


The School of Hard Knocks - Episode 6

The School of Hard Knocks is nearing it’s conclusion as the group of troubled youths from North Wales go about finding their way around the rugby pitch, and everything that goes with it.

In this episode the boys get to go on an awesome assault course which proves a great experience for all, despite one player clearly having a bad hangover.

They’re then let down as a group though as drinking before training takes its toll, resulting in an arduous fitness session, and punishment for one of the culprits.

One of the more unpopular characters, Ben, returns after his injury and joins the side as they’re taken to play a training match against a Liverpool university side.

It’s the boys’ first match as a unit and taking all into account, they perform admirably, even if they did require the services of one of two former Lions players.

This is the second last episode before the big final, which features the climax of their season. We’ll get that full episode up for you shortly.

Time: 12:21


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Perpignan win the Top 14 Final against Clermont

Perpignan captured the famous Brennus Shielf as they beat Clermont 22-13 in the Top 14 final in front of 80 000 fans at the Stade De France in Paris on Saturday.

It was the first time in over fifty years that the Catalans had won the Top 14 championship. For Clermont though, it was yet another moment of heartbreak as they lost their third final in three years, and their tenth in total.

They started well though, with Brock James delivering a pinpoint crosskick for try scoring machine Napolioni Nalaga to gather and dive over. James converted effortlessly from the touchline, giving the blue and yellow supporters plenty to cheer.

Fullback Jerome Porical showed maturity beyond his years as he put in a masterful performance with his goal kicking, as well as playing a hand in Perpignans only try, scored by David Marty.

Porical and Brock James put on impressive kicking displays, but it was the 23 year old Perpignan fullback who made Clermont pay for their indiscretions, claiming 14 points with his four penalties and a conversion.

"We have nothing to apologize for," said a dejected Clermont scrum-half Pierre Mignoni.

"The Catalans were superior and we lost the game in the details. We had been warned, and with our experience we should have done better. I am sorry for our supporters," he added.

To make matters worse, Clermonts Aurelien Rougerie and Julian Bonnaire both picked up injuries, ruling them out of France’s upcoming tour of the Southern Hemisphere.

France’s first tour match is against the All Blacks in Dunedin this Saturday.

Time: 05:07


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