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

Monday, August 31, 2009

Currie Cup best tries mix - Round 8

South Africa's premier domestic competition, the Currie Cup, is in full swing and round 8 produced a host of great tries and one major upset in particular.

Argentinian wizard Juan Martin Hernandez made his home debut for the Sharks in Durban against Western Province, but it was a day to forget for the locals as Western Province took the honours 21-9.

Tonderai Chavhanga got on the end of a nice try after a great counter and some quick hands. Big All Black lock Chris Jack also scored for Western Province after a nice bit of play by Bath bound Luke Watson.

Hernandez himself had a pretty poor match, but did slot a trademark snap drop.

The Cheetahs put in one of the performances of the weekend as they blasted away Griquas 58-13. Speedster Jongi Nokwe was on form as he scored a hatrick of tries and assisted in a few others.

Nico Breedt, who spent a season at Toulon not long ago, finished off one of the tries of the match after another Nokwe break, then a great switch by Springbok Sevens star Robert Ebersohn.

The Leopards picked up their first win of the season as they thrashed Boland 50-16 in Potchefstrooom, scoring a handful of great tries on the way. Wing Bom Samaai, number eight Christo van Niekerk, and scrumhalf Michael Bondesio.

One of the upsets of the weekend though was the Jukskei Derby as the Lions beat the Blue Bulls 20-13 at Ellis Park, with nice tries by Jano Vermaak and Alwyn Hollenbach.

Time: 05:53
Music: Pretty Thing by Evolver, and Who Do You Trust by Cassette
Community: Discuss the Currie Cup on our forum


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Top 14 Highlights - Round 2

As always, all eyes are on the French Top 14 at the moment as the global interest for the tournament picks up once again, thanks in a large part to the big names that have joined this season.

The quality of rugby is high, as the influx of foreign players has added to an already impressive standard of play.

Bayonne met Stade Francais in Spain in front of 32 000, for the first ever Top 14 game on foreign soil. Six tries were scored, including one for English loose forwad James Haskell, and two for Bayonne wing Benjamin Fall.

Another Englishman, Iain Balshaw, featured prominently as Biarritz beat Albi convincingly 39-6. Balshaw scored his first points for his new club inside ten minutes, as he showed the kind of finishing that he's capable of when on top form.

Balshaw ended up with two tries, and played a significant part in one other.

Clermont hammered Montauban 37-16 as their form looks to be an ominous sign for all before them. Anthony Floch scored two tries, with captain Aurelien Rougerie scoring one of his own after a neat chip. Former Springbok pocket rocket Brent Russell scored after a 50m sprint and incredible pickup just before the line.

Toulouse were perhaps the most impressive though, as they tore apart Brive with their superb running game, wining the match 38-0.

Centre Yann David was sensational with his counter attacking play, setting up Maxime Medard and Cedric Heymans. Vincent Clerc crossed later after a Byron Kelleher break, and Remi Lamerat sealed off the win at the death after a pinpoint cross-kick from replacement fly-half Florian Fritz.

This is a more complete package of highlights than last week, so we hope you enjoy. The best of Round three's action will be shown in a few days time.

Time: 08:58
Community: Discuss the Top 14 on our forum


Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Springboks impress as they beat the Wallabies in Perth

The Springboks silenced their critics as they produced a powerful running game on their way to a 32-25 win over the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday. This leaves them unbeaten in this years Tri Nations, with one hand on the trophy.

While previous tactics have been to kick and chase, the Boks came out firing with great running lines and flat balls, for which they were rewarded with as they scored four tries and picked up a rare bonus point.

Two early tries set the South Africans off to a flying start, which the hosts never recovered from, committing far too many handling errors and not taking their opportunities.

Despite playing well in patches, the Wallabies have now reached their fourth successive defeat, and their sixth in a row in the Tri Nations, equalling their the 2004-2006 bad patch, which was their worst run of losses in the history of the tournament.

The Springboks on the other hand continue to rise, as they’ve now shown that they fully justify their number one position in the world, following the British & Irish Lions series win, and four consecutive Tri Nations victories.

Bryan Habana scored two well taken tries, while Jaque Fourie sliced through the Wallaby defence to cross for one of his own.

Scrumhalf Fourie Du Preez, playing in his 50th Test and controlling the match as well as ever, scored from a quick tap as he caught the home side off guard.

With the result a formality, the Wallabies came back to score two late tries to add some respectability to the scoreline. To their credit, they never gave up and while the Boks slipped into defensive mode, the Australians had the better of the second half.

Matt Giteau scored two nice tries, and Lachie Turner snuck in near the end the match, making the scoreboard look a whole lot better than it could have, with the score at 22-6 to the visitors at halftime.

The All Blacks will have watched intently as their grip on the Tri Nations title loosens. If the Springboks beat the Wallabies in Brisbane next weekend, it’ll be South Africa who will lift the trophy, capping off a great season so far.

Time: 05:03
Community: Discuss the Tri Nations on our forum


Air New Zealand Cup - Round 4 Highlights

We have another cracking tries package for you today, from round 4 of the always entertaining Air New Zealand Cup's action from last weekend.

We featured young star flyhalf Aaron Cruden a few days ago, and he can be seen with a nice run for the first try for Manawatu as they faced Otago in Palmerston North.

They maintained their strong start to the season by winning 19-12, with two tries to Casey Stone, and one to impressive fullback Kurt Baker.

Powerful Otago wing Karne Hesketh scored after bashing over the line, then set up fullback Ben Smith for a great counter attacking try.

Northland picked up a 26-23 away win over North Harbour, with their young right wing Brook Gilmore scoring a well deserved breakaway try after an intercept that left him with a lot of work to do.

Canterbury beat Tasman 25-21 in Christchurch, with wing Sean Maitland scoring a nice try, showing his footballing skills on the way to the line. Dan Carter wasn't playing, but his stand in Stephen Brett scored a classy try from some way out.

Powerhouse wing Hosea Gear crossed for Wellington in their 16-15 win over Auckland, as did an unlikely source on the other wing - prop John Schwalger. Big Auckland number nine Taniela Moa linked well with Paul Williams to take a return pass and score a great try.

Counties-Manukau winger Sherwin Stowers electrified their backline against Taranaki, as he set up a try for fullback Ahsee Tuala, then cracked on the pace to slide through a gap and score himself.

Time: 02:13
Music: Party by The D4


Friday, August 28, 2009

Adam Ashley-Cooper answers the Wallabies call

The Wallabies host the Springboks in Perth tomorrow in another crunch Tri Nations match. With a injury problems, the Wallabies have had to shuffle their backline again, with Mr Fix-It Adam Ashley-Cooper moving to inside centre.

Ashley-Cooper is accustomed to being shifted around. This is his third positional change in this year’s Tri Nations, so he’s no stranger to being moved around.

He’s played at fullback, outside centre, and now finds himself at inside centre following a concussion to Berrick Barnes. He’s played there before though, twice against Wales in 2007, so the versatile Wallaby shouldn’t have any troubles.

Against the All Blacks last weekend he put in some great tackles, and he possesses running skills as well as a kicking game, so should do well against the Springboks.

Coach Robbie Deans was full of praise for the 25 year old.

"Without doubt he was one of our star performers," Deans said of Ashley-Cooper.

"He has been great, he could specialise in any number of positions."

That includes coming out of the grandstands to make his debut for Australia in 2005, as we get to hear about in this interesting vid about the versatile Wallaby back.

Time: 05:43


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Guinness Premiership 2009 advert - The Race To Twickenham

The 2009 Guinness Premiership gets under way soon with the race to Twickenham having officially started at the launch earlier today. Reigning champions Leicester Tigers are the bookies favourites to retain the trophy, just ahead of beaten finalists London Irish.

Interestingly Bath winger Matt Banahan and Wasps' new recruit Tom Varndell are joint favourites to take the top try scorer title for the new season. Joe Maddock and Ugo Monye follow shortly behind them. The top points scorer favourite is Sale Sharks flyhalf Charlie Hodgson.

Most of the top clubs have experienced a fair amount of changes, with players leaving and new players being recruited in the off season. It should make for an interesting season.

For Bath, who lost a few to the infamous drugs scandal, they've picked up some interesting signings. Olly Barkley returns, with Fijian Nicky Little also joining. Julian Salvi from the Brumbies, and controversial Springbok Luke Watson, will also be playing for them this season.

Leeds Carnegie are up in the Premiership again after Bristol were relegated. They now have South African Marco Wentzel as their captain, and former England scrumhalf Andy Gomarsall over from Harlequins.

London Wasps have two flyers joining their ranks on the wings in Tom Varndell from Leicester, and David Lemi from Bristol. They'll be hoping to have a better season this time around.

Newcastle have had major changes taking place, with the loss of Jonny Wilkinson and Tom May, they've brought in Kiwi Jimmy Gopperth from Auckland, as well as former Bok Gcobani Bobo from the Stormers.

Sale have got former England star Ben Cohen back over from his stint with Brive in France, while Saracens have a whole host of South African's having joined them under their new coach Brendan Venter. Hooker Schalk Brits from the Stormers has joined, as well as Derick Hougaard from the Leicester Tigers.

This advert, that features a whole host of the stars that will be in action, will be aired on tv soon. It's similar to a concept from years ago, but is well executed and fun to watch, so we figured it was worth sharing. The race to Twickenham has begun.

Time: 01:01


Top 14 Best Tries Mix from Round 1

The French Top 14 is back in full swing as we've seen two rounds of action already, with some great tries scored around the country in this brilliant championship of rugby that features top players from around the globe.

We've got a short clip for you today that was thrown together to cover some of the better tries scored in the first round of the tournament, in case you weren't able to see them.

Obviously all the focus so far has been on the hype surrounding the big signings, as it is every year, so players like Jonny Wilkinson and Sebastien Chabal were a significant draw card as the league kicked off.

It was one of the star performers from last season though, Fijian Napolioni Nalaga, who got off to another cracking start for Clermont, scoring two tries in their victory over Bourgoin.

For Castres, former Toulon winger Marc Andreu scored two sensational tries against Biarritz that showed the lethal finishing ability of the young flyer.

Toulouse scored a nice try against Montauban that was created by new recruit Yann David, then finished by Yves Donguy.

For Racing Metro against Albi, Sebastien Chabal came on for the last twenty minutes, but didn't feature too prominently, besides one or two nice charges. The lone try of the match was scored by Englishman Dan Scarborough after a brilliant break by their flyhalf and right wing.

We'll have the best of round two's action soon.

Time: 03:15
Music: Honey by Lovers Electric (Sam La More remix)
Note: The music is there as the original commentary wasn't available.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Classic Encounters - Wallabies vs Springboks 1963

We’re heading back in time today as we focus on a classic moment in Australian rugby history from almost fifty years ago, when the Springboks were defeated at home in consecutive Tests for the first time since 1896.

The powerful Springboks were a dominant force in the game at the time with their massive pack and die-hard supporters. A total of 65 000 of them turned out at Ellis Park for the third Test in the series.

The previous game had been won by the tourists after their coach, Bill McLaughlin, famously changed their approach to the game.

"I’m sick of this ball straight to the 5/8 and kicking for touch" said McLaughlin.

"Australian teams have always been known for running the ball, and that’s what we’ll do from now on."

The third Test was to be their 21st match of the tour. Tours were incredibly long back then, at times spanning up to five or six months. The endurance of the players was incredible, and it’s a wonder they had anyone left after such a long time, with so many games.

The Wallabies did run the ball, as McLaughlin planned for them too, and they came away with the 11-9 win, thanks in part to two superb try saving tackles by the brilliant scrumhalf Ken Catchpole.

It was a fantastic win and this is a great piece of footage for you fans out there who love watching classic moments and series’ of the game.

Time: 03:05
Note: South Africa play Australia in Perth on Saturday. Check out our new Tri Nations page for fixtures, the points table, and then highlights from all the other matches.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aaron Cruden destined for greatness after battling cancer

Young Kiwi flyhalf Aaron Cruden is a huge talent with an inspirational story. The Manawatu player was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer last year, but has since come back to lead his country’s Under 20 side to victory at the Junior World Cup.

Cruden not only captained the side, but was later named IRB Junior Player of the Year 2009 for his outstanding form throughout the tournament. He has since captained Manawatu in the Air New Zealand Cup, at the age of 20.

Last season Cruden appeared for the Turbos, but in August his dreams were seemingly shattered as he was diagnosed with cancer, having a testicle removed then undergoing an intensive course of chemotherapy.

Cruden battled back, and in November, he was given the all clear. The first thing he did to celebrate was pick up a rugby ball and head to a field for a kick around.

Since making his return, the plaudits have been plentiful, as he’s already been recognised as a possible successor to the Dan Carter throne. NZ Under-20 and Manawatu coach Dave Rennie rates him extremely highly.

"He was the best first-five in Manawatu last year as well but he had only just turned 19 so we were pretty keen to give him time off the bench in the first part of the competition.

"He started in the Shield challenge against Auckland but then sickness ruled him out, otherwise he would have played a little bit more at this level already. He's very confident and very competent and he's already had three years of senior club rugby and he's probably been the best player in all of those three years."

"There was a lot of hype around his performances and it's a pretty good story. A lot of people wanted to talk about the fact he'd come back from cancer.

"He was pretty quick to put it to bed. It was a fantastic achievement but he's pretty keen to prove himself at the next level and if he wants to go higher in the game he needs to perform at provincial level,” Rennie said.

He’s already impressed in this season’s tournament, scoring a few tries and sparking the Manawatu backline, showing that he’s now put the setback behind him and grown as a player, but also as an individual.

"It hasn't so much changed my outlook on life," Cruden said. "But it has on challenges that you face throughout life. A lot of people may have looked at it as a negative. But I believe it will make me stronger as a person."

Remember the name Aaron Cruden. You're sure to see a whole lot more of him in the future.

Time: 03:41


Monday, August 24, 2009

Joe Van Niekerk scores for Toulon from neat Jonny Wilkinson chip

Toulon came good this past weekend as they beat fellow big spenders Racing Metro 27-13 at a packed Felix Mayol in the Top 14 on Saturday.

Jonny Wilkinson scored 17 points once again, for the second week in succession, as he steered his side to the win with some nice bits of play. He was subbed with 20 minutes left in the match, but showed no signs of injury.

He also made a vital try saving tackle attempt when knocking the ball out of the Racing Metro player’s hand inches from the tryline.

Toulon captain Joe Van Niekerk, who missed last weeks match due to injury, scored his sides second try just before half time after Wilkinson put through a perfectly weighted chip.

Hard running left wing Christian Loamanu gathered the kick then fed Van Niekerk on the inside for a well worked try that left the Racing Metro defence exposed.

Toulon are now in fourth place (edit) on the table behind Toulouse, Clermont, Castres.

Time: 01:21


Mathieu Bastareaud returns to action with two big tackles

Stade Francais centre Mathieu Bastareaud returned to action last weekend in the Top 14, playing for the first time since the New Zealand tour drama with France.

The 21 year old had a troubled few months after he lied about being mugged while on tour in New Zealand, resulting in him being sent home and the truth later being revealed following an admission that he actually just fell over when drunk.

He is now facing the possibility of a lengthy international ban, between one to three years, which will be decided on by the French Rugby Federation next month.

French team mate Thierry Dusautoir is pleading for leniency stating that he feels the young man has been sufficiently punished already.

“If he lied, I think he has been sufficiently punished for that,” he said. “This affair has been taken out of proportion. It would be good that we left it there.”

“I also think that in saying what he said, he was far from imagining the consequences of this lie and that he was taken over by the events,” said Dusautoir.

He returned to action last weekend coming on as a substitute against Toulon in the opening round of the French championship, the Top 14.

He made a few bullocking runs and put in a great tackle on Sinoti Sinoti. Against Bayonne on Friday, Bastareaud once again got stuck in, coming on as a sub and dumping Craig Gower.

Whether Bastareaud plays for France again in the near future or not remains to be seen.

When you consider that players who take drugs get 9 months, those who stick fingers in eyes get 8 months, and those who blatantly cheat end up with 4 months, a lengthy ban for telling a lie, off the field, seems pretty harsh.

Time: 01:32


Saturday, August 22, 2009

The All Blacks beat the Wallabies to retain the Bledisloe Cup

Dan Carter kicked a late penalty to take New Zealand into the lead and secure their 19-18 Tri Nations win over Australia in Sydney, retaining the Bledisloe Cup.

Trailing 12-3 at half time, the All Blacks came back to score the only try of a fiercely contested match, keeping their hopes alive of contesting the Tri Nations, but effectively destroying the Wallabies’ hopes for this years tournament.

Ma’a Nonu scored for the AB’s 16 minutes from the end as they came back strongly in the second half, dominating territory and possession, with two tries being disallowed.

Dan Carter was, as expected, vital to the All Blacks as he proved the difference with his calming influence and quality goal kicking.
He is now just 12 points away from Andrew Mehrtens Tri Nations points scoring record of 338.

Australian flyhalf Matt Giteau kicked all of their points, with six penalties from six attempts, but they struggled to create a try to keep them ahead.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry was proud of his players after the tight and tense win.

"I was just very proud of the character shown by the players tonight," Henry told a press conference.

"It was just mental toughness, because we didn't get the roll of the dice.

"The Australians are a very good side and they really stretched us tonight and there was just a feeling of pride after the game for what the guys achieved.

"Our guys showed a huge amount of intestinal fortitude. It just shows the guys have got the guts to hang in and keep going."

"You've just got to keep believing," All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said.

"That was a hell of a test match, we really had to dig deep for that. There were times at the end when we let them back in but that's what test rugby is all about."


Air New Zealand Cup - Round 3 Highlights

Round three of the Air New Zealand Cup produced a few classic tries, and closely contested matches. So far this season, the tournament has experienced great success, with fans from all over the country getting out and supporting their sides.

In Christchurch Canterbury ran Waikato ragged with five tries as they romped to a 46-13 win. Dan Carter was on form again, as he sent the impressive Colin Slade through the gap, who then offloaded for Tim Bateman to cross for a nice try.

Big prop Wyatt Crockett scored too, finding a gap and sprinting from 25 meters out to cross for a nice try from a front rower.

Manawatu beat Southland 25-13, with their electric young winger Andre Taylor scoring two tries as both himself, and young flyhalf Aaron Cruden, stuck their hands up for higher honours in the future.

In the match in Kerikeri, which we featured a few days ago, Joe Rokocoko hit his straps as he helped Dave Thomas score a nice try in the corner.

The match of the weekend though was the Taranaki Hawkes Bay meeting, in which they drew 24-24 after a late try by Taranaki was disallowed by a poor ref decision.

The game produced two incredible tries though, amazingly, one directly after the other.

First it was Jason Kupa who crossed after some brilliant hands from forwards and backs, including a neat flick from Zac Guildford.

Straight from the kickoff, they were at it again, with superb interplay and support by Thomas Waldrom and Jason Shoemark, with Shoemark finishing off a brilliant team try.

It was a great weekend of action, with this short video hopefully giving you an idea of some of the quality rugby being played in New Zealand's provincial championship.

Time: 02:35
Music: Come On! by The D4


Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Funnies - How to stop Jonah Lomu, with Kearnsey's Chalkboard

In his prime, Jonah Lomu was pretty much an unstoppable machine. Incredibly powerful, fast, and agile for a big guy, Jonah troubled defences for many years.

We've come across this amusing clip that has former Australian hooker and captain Phil Kearns spotlighting his colleague's technique for bringing down the big All Black in 1999.

Many of you might remember Rod Kafer as a former Wallabies, Brumbies, and Leicester Tigers player. He is one of only two players to have won both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere's biggest trophies. The Super 12 with the Brumbies, and the Heineken Cup with Leicester. The only other player to do this is Doug Howlett with Auckland and Munster.

Kafer went on to coach Saracens for a short time, but has since moved on and put that wisdom to use as a TV pundit and occasional commentator. He has a slot called Kafe's Chalkboard on the Australian show The Rugby Club, in which he analyses and dissects different elements of the game.

Absent from the show last week for some reason, Phil Kearns and Greg Martin took over, deciding it was time to analyse Kafer himself.

The result was pretty funny, with some revealing footage being dug up from ten years ago. We felt it was worth sharing for the laugh, and as an excuse to show more of the great Jonah in action once again.

Time: 02:25


Thursday, August 20, 2009

All Blacks thump the Wallabies in Wellington 1996

In the first Bledisloe Cup match of 1996, that then fell under the newly formed era of professionalism, and the inaugral Tri Nations, it was the All Blacks that dominated in a game of high skill considering the conditions.

They had 11 members of their World Cup Final side from the previous year, including Andrew Mehrtens who was on his way to notching up the fastest 200 points in Test history.

They also had a young fullback by the name of Christian Cullen, who was just 20 at the time, and playing only his fourth Test, but his first against Australia.

David Campese on the other hand, was on the wing for the Wallabies, with 96 Test caps as he head towards reaching the milestone of 100.

Wellington's Athletic Park was wet and windy on the day, but the All Blacks came out firing as they took the Wallabies by surprise with their tactic of running the ball with such a wet field underfoot.

They dominated with a six try thumping of the Aussies, winning the match 43-6, retaining the Bledisloe Cup then going on to win that years Tri Nations.

Time: 07:20


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Joe Rokocoko finds form with Auckland in the Air NZ Cup

Auckland picked up their first win of the season against Northland at the Kerikeri Domain on the weekend, with a supposedly out of sorts Joe Rokocoko finding his feet as he scored two tries, and played a significant part in two others.

The two try performance saved him from the axe as All Blacks coach Graham Henry was far from happy with his form of late, having scored just one Test try in 10 outings.

"It was a big selection. Siti (Sivivatu) is obviously cemented in there but Joe's played one good test in South Africa and one poor test match," Henry says.

"If we were selecting it prior to Saturday he probably wouldn't have got in, but he played very well for Auckland, as good as I've seen him play for a long time.

"He scored a couple of tries and had a big hand in the other two, so he sort of saved his bacon, really."

Speculation was rife that Corey Jane would have been brought in as a safer option on the wing, with Rokocoko himself even admitting that he expected to be dropped.

"I have to admit I did have a shocker (against the Springboks)," he said.

Against Northland though, the 44 Test try veteran was particularly impressive as he took his opportunity with both hands, gaining both confidence and the work rate that had been missing of late.

"The change of scenery was good. I felt really relaxed," he said. "It came down to not thinking about things too much and just having a go."

Henry has since shown faith in him and Rokocoko has been retained in the All Blacks lineup to face the Wallabies for the Bledisloe Cup, earning the Fijian-born flyer his 58th Test cap.

:: Related Posts ::
Joe Rokocoko tribute
Time: 04:52
Final score: 32-13 to Auckland


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dean Richards banned for three years following the fake blood scandal

Dean Richards, former Director of rugby at Harlequins, has been handed a three year ban from coaching following his involvement in the ‘Bloodgate’ scandal. Winger Tom Williams, who was the player it surrounded, has had his ban reduced to just 4 months.

An ERC independent appeals committee handed out the suspension following an inquisition into the fake-blood incident which had Williams leaving the field with an apparent cut to the mouth.

Richards, along with former physio Steph Brennan, was found to have been involved in four similar incidents, hence the severity of the ban.

Williams had initially been handed a years suspension, but had that cut down to four months, with Brennan receiving a two year ban for his part.

Richards had resigned last week, but was last night shocked by the banning, but did admit taking responsibility for what happened.

“I'm a little bit shocked, a little bit surprised by it all," he said.

"I took full responsibility for it. It was a farcical situation, it really was.

Part of the cover up apparently involved Williams being deliberately cut with a scalpel after the match, to hide that they had used a fake-blood capsule.

Richards said: "I have no knowledge of that. I wasn't party to anything going on there. I'm not aware that it did happen. I know that he had a cut but I don't know how it came about because I wasn't in the room."

In a statement that Williams read after the hearing, he had the following to say.

"I hope that, as a result of this episode, no player or employee will ever be put in such a compromised position, and if they are then they will always tell the truth, as I had wish I had done from the outset."

This clip features interviews from Dean Richards, Tom Williams, and then comments from former England player Phil Greening.

Time: 04:01
Thanks to Sky Sports


Ryan Kankowski finishes off a great Sharks try against the Lions

The Natal Sharks held off large amounts of pressure from the Lions at Ellis Park this weekend, but managed to come away with a 30-19 Currie Cup win after scoring three tries away from home.

The Lions actually dominated at times, but were 23-0 down with ten minutes left in the match, before they themselves scored three quick tries.

The win for the Sharks takes their tally up to five unbeaten consecutively, keeping them in second place behind the Griquas.

Their first try was a classic as they moved the ball from deep, beating defenders with great handling from both forwards and backs, then the deft stepping of the superb Ryan Kankowski beat a few big boys before he crossed for the try.

The star Sharks number 8 was awarded the Man of the Match, but credited his team mates for the environment in which he’s able to shine so brightly.

“It’s very special playing for The Sharks,” he said.

“They’re a brilliant bunch of guys and it’s great to win with a team you enjoy playing with. I’m very fortunate to be playing with such good players, they make my job so much easier.”

Time: 02:46


Monday, August 17, 2009

Early hit sends player to hospital with ruptured spleen

The grandson of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke was in intensive care last week following an atrocious hit by Manly winger Leon Bott.

Bott, a former NRL player, lined up Randwick player David Dillon in their Shute Shield match in Sydney, then flatted him without the ball while he waited to take an up and under.

Dillon amazingly played on, but was taken to hospital two days later for emergency surgery to have his ruptured spleen removed. Another hour without treatment could have been life-threatening.

"He's recovering well. Obviously he's still pretty sore," said head coach Gary Ella.

"He's in good spirits, talking about coming and watching the Randwick game in a fortnight - I don't know if that's going to happen though."

One can survive without a spleen, which is a key part of the immune system and generates vital disease fighting antibodies. When severely ruptured, it is surgically removed, but the person can become susceptible to infections such as pneumonia and meningitis.

Dillon, 26, was expected to stay in hospital for a week following the surgery, and it was unsure as to whether he’d be able to play rugby again. Bott, the man who made the tackle, is understood to be deeply upset.

In a repeat of the Matt Giteau tackle on Fourie Du Preez, which was fairly similar although far less lethal, Bott has not been cited.

The Citing Commisioner found that the hit did not require a red card, so therefore the yellow card handed out by referee Stuart Dickinson was sufficient.

Do you agree with the ruling that a yellow was sufficient, or should this moment of madness have been punished further?

Time: 0:32
Note: Thanks to clubrugby.com.au


Blue Bulls snatch the win at the death from Griquas

The Blue Bulls tarnished Griquas' unbeaten run in this years Currie Cup with a late try that broke the hearts of the Kimberley locals. Scoring four tries to three, the Blue Bulls won 25-24 in another entertaining match.

Griquas hadn't been beaten in five outings this year, so they were feeling confident against the traditionally more powerful side from Pretoria.

They held the ascendency for large parts of the match, but it was Pedrie Wannenburg's late try that snatched the win for the Blue Bulls.

"Hopefully this victory will mark a turn in our season for us," said Blue Bulls captain Derick Kuun after the match.

"We knew it was going to be difficult to come down to Kimberley and defeat them. They are the leading team in the Absa Currie Cup and they deserve to be. We knew we had to be at our best in order to beat them. So hopefully we’ll take this win and move forward from here in the competition.

"There are still lots of games left in the Absa Currie Cup, but hopefully this result will set us up nicely for the second round in the competition."

Time: 05:01


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Air New Zealand Cup - Round 2 Highlights

As Round 3 of the Air New Zealand Cup came to a close today, we take a look back at some of the best tries from Round 2 of New Zealand's main domestic competition.

While the tries scored in Round 2 possibly weren't as good as Round 1, it was an enjoyable few days of rugby. Dan Carter took the spotlight once again, as he put in a performance worthy of an All Black call up against Auckland.

Paul Williams, who later in the game smashed Carter with a suspension worthy shoulder, got on the scoresheet for Auckland with a try that came from some great build up play across the park.

Elsewhere, Northland beat Taranaki with flyhalf Lachie Munroe scoring 24 points, including a classy individual effort, and then later setting up Derek Carpenter for another try.

Tasman beat North Harbour with fullback Robbie Malneek finishing well, and Soseni Anesi scored an impressive individual try as Waikato beat Manawatu in Hamilton.

Tamati Ellison made a nice break for Wellington before setting up Hosea Gear for a nice try in their match against Hawke's Bay in Napier.

Flyer David Smith then finished off well after a wayward kick went straight to him, capping off our short look at the best of Round 2 of the Air New Zealand Cup.

Time: 03:03
Music: All On Our Own by Midnight Youth


Toulon draw with Stade Francais in Top 14 opener

The French Top 14 kicked off at Stade Mayol on Friday night as Toulon hosted visitors Stade Francais in front of a sell-out crowd. The match wasn’t a classic by any means, but it was tense at times and ended in a 22-22 draw.

English flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson had an adequate start for his new club, kicking 17 points. He looked to have snatched the win for his side with a well taken drop goal nine minutes from time.

It was Stade’s South African scrumhalf Falie (Noel) Oelshig though who matched Wilkinson for all he was worth, having an equally good kicking night, and slotting a neat drop goal of his own to tie things up late in the match.

Tries were scored on the night by Juan Leguizamon for Stade Francais, and Thomas Sourice for Toulon.

James Haskell, also on debut in the Top 14, was yellow carded late in the first half for cynically playing the ball on the ground at a ruck.

All eyes were on Wilkinson though, with the 30 year old having enjoyed the night.

"I felt good physically and it was important for me to play 80 minutes," he told a French website.

"I scored 17 points, but the most important thing was that we didn't win.

"But the atmosphere was incredible. At one moment, I had just kicked a penalty and I asked myself what had happened in the stadium such was the noise.

"I hope that there will be a lot more moments like this."

Time: 07:59


Friday, August 14, 2009

Jonny Wilkinson raring to go for Toulon and England

The great man is back. Tonight, Jonny Wilkinson will confidently stride out for his new club Toulon in the French Top 14 as they take on Stade Francais in the opening match of the new season.

Wilkinson, now 30, has had a large part of his career wiped out due to a string of bad injuries. He’s back now though, and with his new club comes a new lease on life.

Wilko feels he’s yet to reach his true potential, and is hoping that this is the season that he’ll achieve the heights he feels he’s capable of.

"I feel I have spent my life playing it safe, not allowing the unknown," said Wilkinson.

"If I operate between six and eight I will always be okay because sometimes when you push for 10, you open up the door to drop to a four.

"But I don't want to finish my career and say, 'I did okay, I operated within myself and well done me' - now I want to push for 10."

Back in the mix with his national side, Wilkinson spent the past few days with the England training camp, and hopes to be a part of the November internationals that will truly signal the return of one of the best flyhalf’s of the modern era.

Two questions need to be answered before that can happen though. Will Jonny stay injury free for the entire season? And will he reach the kind of form that makes him the best once again?

Time will tell.

Time: 07:15
Note: Toulon play Stade Francais tonight (Friday) at 1945 local time.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Clyde Rathbone retires - Winning try vs the Springboks in 2004

Australian international Clyde Rathbone has called it on a day on his rugby career, sadly hanging up his boots at the tender age of just 28.

Rathbone, a South African born and raised, has had a terrible run of injuries since moving to his new homeland Australia. This past weekend he fractured his eye socket and cheekbone in a club match in Canberra, prompting him to call it a day.

"The injury happened after I decided but I guess it just solidified things. I'm not exactly sure what happened. I got hit in the ruck. It may have been a knee ... I hope it was accidental," Rathbone said on Wednesday.

Rathbone was brought up in Durban, and at a fairly young age was identified as a tremendous prospect. Playing at centre for the Sharks, he was mentioned as the next Danie Gerber, and went on to captain Jake White's South African side that won the U21 World Cup in 2002.

At the end of that year though, Rathbone turned his back on South Africa and chose to move to Australia, for which he qualified to play through a paternal Australian grandmother.

Vilified in the media as a traitor, the move was not a popular one, and 'Aussie Clyde' soon became a huge talking point. He was anything but tactful in his handling of the sensitive topic, but he had his reasons to leave, many of which are the same as why other South African's also leave their country of birth.

Rathbone went straight to the Brumbies, and later chose to represent Australia at international level. A stocky, extremely powerful runner, Rathbone made his debut for the Wallabies against Scotland in 2004, then scored a hatrick the following weekend against England.

It was in that year's Tri Nations that Clyde came under fire once again, as he scored this excellent winning try in Perth against his old country, with his celebration infuriating SA fans.

Rathbone's career promised so much, but he was unfortunately never able to stamp his authority on a regular Wallaby jersey, mainly due to his continual injury problems. He did however play 26 Tests, and 52 matches for the Brumbies.

For the last two years he's been attempting a proper comeback, but he's struggled, and has now called it a day on a career that could have been so different if it weren't for a poor string of luck.

"I've decided to hang up the boots, it's all over. I need to look after my long-term health and when I couldn't agree with any of the contracts that were in front of me for next year, I figured it would be best to step aside," Rathbone said.

Time: 04:29


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Griquas edge Western Province in Currie Cup thriller

In front of a large crowd that included players from the team that won the Currie Cup in 1970, Griquas edged out Western Province in another great match in between these two Cape rivals.

Western Province, traditionally the glamour boys of South African rugby, made the trip to Kimberley to take on the in form Griquas, but possibly didn’t expect such a hard fought contest.

They have a handful of star players, some of which would have been seen playing against the Lions for both the Royal XV and the Southern Spears.

The first half was closely contended and they went into the break at 20-17 to the home side. Flyhalf Naas Olivier, who last seasons played in the Top 14 in France, was on fine form as he punished the visitors with some great kicking.

Province came back later in the game through Tonderai Chavhanga, as Western Province stayed in the hunt. A brilliant drop kick from Riaan Viljoen extended the Griquas lead to 33-25 though.

Another Western Province try, this time from Pieter Louw, proved too little too late though, as Griquas came out worthy winners 33-32.

Time: 04:56


Winston Stanley let off, but Paul Williams gets suspended for Carter late hit

Auckland outside backs Winston Stanley and Paul Williams were both cited following incidents on the weekend that took place during their 22-16 loss to Canterbury.

The two players appeared in front of a judicial committee on Wednesday, with the result being that Stanley escaped punishment, but fullback Williams was handed a one week suspension.

Williams was accused of charging an opponent without the ball, which resulted in only a penalty at the time, and Dan Carter spending a few dizzy moments on the floor.

Williams claimed that he was trying to avoid contact with the other Auckland player who was making the tackle, but judicial officer Bruce Squire upheld his own view that he considered contact with Carter resulted from a last minute decision to pull out of a tackle to which he was committed.

Squire judged that the contact was made at an unacceptably high level and that the degree of recklessness involved warranted a period of suspension.

Time: 04:25


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Recalled All Black Dan Carter scores for Canterbury against Auckland

A fit again Dan Carter has been recalled to the All Black squad as he looks to have recovered well from his injury. Carter has played two matches for Canterbury in the Air New Zealand Cup, scoring against Auckland this past weekend.

Carter, who injured himself while playing for Perpignan in the Top 14, has been through a lengthy recovery period after the Achilles injury he picked up against Stade Francais 6 months ago.

While the All Blacks have clearly been missing him, Carter has been in a race to prove his fitness after spending most of the year in rehabilitation, and on beautiful French beaches.

He's now back though, and the star flyhalf has been called up to the All Black squad for the remainder of the Tri Nations. His return, playing less than a handful of domestic games, has been impressive, with him showing very few signs of the time off.

"He is a key member of the All Blacks, has recovered well from his injury and has made a great return to rugby so now is the right time to bring him back into the squad," coach Graham Henry said.

He scored all of Canterbury's points in their 22-16 win over Auckland this past weekend, getting over the tryline in the process for this well taken try.

"Obviously I haven't got that many games under the belt, but each week I'm feeling more comfortable. If I'm asked to play I'll be keen and ready to go. Getting back in the black jersey has been what I'm working towards."

Time: 02:02


Monday, August 10, 2009

Bakkies Botha big hit on Berrick Barnes at Newlands

Springboks locks Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield notched up their record 50th Test as a combination against the Wallabies on the weekend in Cape Town.

Widely regarded as the best locking partnership in world rugby, they compliment each other well, with one forming the core of an incredible lineout, and the other, acting as a human wrecking ball around the park. It works well.

"Because I clean out for two players at rucks, Victor doesn’t have to clean out, while his value is in other areas where I’m not so good," said Botha, speaking ahead of the Test against Australia at Newlands.

"I do what I do best and he does what he does best. As a combination it brings calmness because we know each other so well and compliment each other’s styles.

"It’s a big occasion for us, but most importantly it’s not about records but making a difference to the team," Botha said.

He certainly made a difference with this hit, as he lined up the far smaller Barnes and flattened him, showing that the enforcer will always find a way to make his impact felt in the big games.

It was a rough couple of days for Barnes. Take a look at what happened to him during training, the day before the match, here.

Time: 01:07


Plays of the Month for July 2009

In June we saw the international season of rugby kick off with the British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa, as well as other Test matches taking place in rugby's hotspots. In July, those matches were wrapped up and the Tri Nations began.

The guys from the Aussie show The Rugby Club have come up with another classic edition of their Plays of the Month, so we've got the July clip for you today.

There's a bit in there for Lions fans as they touch on the final Test of the series, which of course, resulted in a nice win for the tourists.

There's then some cheerleaders to ogle, as well as something just as enjoyable - the big hits.

From the Tri Nations, the Currie Cup, and the Air New Zealand cup, there's been a few great hits so far, as well as some shocking bloopers.

George Smith is then picked as their Star of the Month, ahead of Morne Steyn. Hardly surprising, considering the clip was made before the weekend's match in which Smith had a match he'd rather forget. The fact that it's an Aussie show probably helped him too.

It's another great compilation, so sit back and enjoy July's Plays of the Month.

Time: 03:42


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Springboks beat the Wallabies at Newlands

South Africa continued their good run of form with another Tri Nations win, this time against the Wallabies in Cape Town. They strengthened their grip on the tournament with the 29-17 victory over the tourists.

The third win in a row for them in this years tournament, they've now won all their home matches, which is imperative if you aim to stand a chance of taking the title.

Morne Steyn once again stepped up as he kicked 24 points with seven penalties and a drop goal. The Wallabies took an early lead from an excellent second minute converted try to Adam Ashley-Cooper, but the home side then came back and took control through the boot of Steyn.

A Berrick Barnes left footed dropkick halted the Boks' progress momentarily, but then Steyn kicked a drop of his own, followed by Victor Matfield scoring from a neat kick ahead from captain John Smit.

Matt Giteau was sinbinned for a reckless challenge on Fourie Du Preez, followed by Richard Brown going off for a professional foul, shortly after that. The Springboks went into the break 23-10 up, with 15 men against 13.

Steyn kept slotting them after the break, but Giteau came back and scored a fantastic individual effort, giving the Wallabies hope as they looked to make a comback.

George Smith was carded too, for a cynical bit of play that clearly came from frustration, and Steyn slotted his final penalty two minutes from time, sealing the comfortable win for the Boks.

South Africa now lead the table with 12 points, followed by New Zealand on four, and Australia, having played a game less, on one.

Time: 09:11


Friday, August 07, 2009

Matt Giteau - A tribute to an incredible flyhalf

Ahead of the Tri Nations match between the Springboks and the Wallabies in Cape Town on Saturday, we've got this really good video tribute to one of the players that will no doubt have a huge influence on the match.

Matt Giteau is to many, the worlds best flyhalf. While comparisons and opinions abound, there's no doubt that he's right up there with the likes of two of the best, Carter and Hernandez.

To some, he's better, as he possesses an amazing all round ability in that he has very few weaknesses. For a small man, he's able to mix it up with the best, and you actually forget how small he is when you consider that he's played in the centre, and held his own time after time.

With ball in hand, he's the ultimate playmaker, and his lethal stepping and running ability catches defenders off balance regularly. Kicking out of hand, he has pinpoint accuracy and his goal kicking has improved significantly over the years.

He's pretty much the complete player, and will be vital to the Wallabies chances throughout this years Tri Nations. His battle with man of the moment Morne Steyn will be fascinating to watch at Newlands on Saturday.

"He’s one of the best flyhalves in the world and it will be good to get to measure myself against him," Steyn said of Giteau.

Time: 03:48
Credit: To the creator of the vid and those that requested it.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Air New Zealand Cup - Round 1 Highlights

As you now know, New Zealand's domestic rugby competition, the Air New Zealand Cup, kicked off last weekend around the country as the best provincial sides met.

Some great rugby was played with a whole bunch of excellent tries, which is what we've got for you today.

The much anticipated return of Dan Carter couldnt help his sides cause as Canterbury actually surprisingly lost to North Harbour 22-19. Carter was impressive though, landing four penalties, a conversion, and showing his usual tactical kicking prowess.

He showed no signs of favouring or protecting the leg which he injured six months ago, which will be great to hear for All Black fans.

We won't go into detail about every match, but we've got 8 minutes worth of exciting action, including a few stand out tries that are sure to impress.

Enjoy, and let us know if you have a favourite try. There's a few classics in there.

Time: 08:09
Music: My Delirium by Ladyhawke & Degrees of Existence by Dimmer


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Isaac Ross yellow card against the Springboks

On Saturday in Durban the Springboks beat New Zealand for the second week in a row as they applied immense pressure on the tourists, resulting in a few moments of indiscipline which they were penalised for by stringent Welsh referee Nigel Owens.

Owens has come under criticism in some circles for the way in which he reffed the match, and most notably for a few questionable decisions.

Some have asked if they can take a look at the Isaac Ross incident again, which many feel was totally incorrect by Owens, costing the All Blacks as they lost their chief lineout option and decision maker for an important period in the match.

After the match, Isaac Ross was still unsure of what happened, as he felt he did nothing wrong. Owens though, felt it was cynical and yellow carded him.

"I thought the ball was out and I asked, but I got no reaction so I had a little bit of a brain snap. I thought it was out, but you can't take back the past," Ross said.

"I made a call and obviously it was the wrong one. I let the team down."

This clip has comments from Tony Johnson, former All Black Ian Jones, and former Springbok coach Ian McIntosh.

Time: 01:46


Marius Joubert hatrick against the All Blacks in 2004

With the Tri Nations being the biggest thing on the go at the moment in the world of rugby, we're randomly featuring matches from the past as we add to our comprehensive archive off the best bits from the game we love.

We've had a few requests for this footage over the years, so today we've got it for you - the Marius Joubert hatrick against the All Blacks in 2004.

Playing at Ellis Park during their Tri Nations winning campaign, South Africa won the match 40-26 thanks to an inspired performance by Joe Van Niekerk at number eight, and then of course, Joubert in the centre.

He became only the second South African player to ever score a three tries in a match against the All Blacks, after Ray Mordt did it way back in 1981.

Van Niekerk, who is now with Toulon in France (and captained them last season), had one of his best performances in the green jersey on that day. It shows you what an impact a big, fast, and skilled number eight can have off the back of a scrum.

All Black fullback Mils Muliaina scored a brilliant try himself from the back, running through most of the Springbok defense. We'll get that up sometime soon too.

Over time we aim to randomly feature other great Test match hatricks. Do you have any in mind that you'd perhaps like to see or share? Lets us know and we'll see what we can do.

Time: 04:39


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Willie Ripia gets out of trouble by passing to the Ref

Taranaki came back from being 9-0 down to beat Tasman 21-9 in their Air New Zealand Cup opener in Blenheim on the weekend.

Sloppy play in the first quarter didn’t do them any favours, as Tasman knocked over three penalties, including an impressive 53m kick.

In the second half Taranaki found their stride, scoring tries through Jayden Hayward and Shayne Austin, with Willie Ripia kicking a conversion and three penalties.

It was flyhalf Ripia who was involved in this interesting bit of play fairly on though, and we thought it would be an interesting bit to share with you.

Trapped in his 22 with no support and under pressure from the opposition, Ripia looked around and saw only one option – the referee.

While we can’t be 100% sure that his intention was as it appears, the look on his face afterwards did tells a story. It did in fact look like he got out of jail by stretching the law.

You decide.

Time: 01:00


Monday, August 03, 2009

Auckland thrashed by Hawkes Bay in the Air New Zealand Cup

Hawkes Bay thrashed Auckland on the weekend as their 2009 Air New Zealand Cup campaigns got underway at Mclean Park in Napier.

Auckland got hammered 47-13 as they were outscored by five tries to one, showing a lack of experience and depth in their opening match of the tournament.

With the bonus point win, Hawkes Bay ended 35 years without success against Auckland, fully justifying the support of their committed fans.

The Magpies streaked off to a 13-0 lead in the firstly thanks to two Matt Berquist penalties and an excellent try from impressive youngster Zac Guildford.

Auckland came back with a converted try and two penalties from Daniel Bowden, levelling the scores before Karl Lowe crossed for Hawkes Bay to give them a 20-13 lead at halftime.

The Magpies took control in the second half and went further ahead with penalties from Berquist, and tries to Thomas Waldrom, Sona Taumalolo, and Jason Kupa to round off the one sided victory.

Auckland face Canterbury next weekend at Eden Park, in what should prove to be another huge challenge for them.

Time: 05:03


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Steyn boots Boks to another win over All Blacks

The Springboks beat the All Blacks for the second consecutive week as they took Saturday’s Tri Nations match 31-19 in Durban. Morne Steyn once again stepped up as he scored all of the home sides points.

On a day when Jean De Villiers and Bryan Habana both notched up their 50th Test cap, it was John Smit who probably had the most memorable experience, as he broke the record for the most capped Test captain ever.

He overtook George Gregan and Will Carling with his record 60th cap as captain.

Flyhalf on the day Steyn put in another quality performance as he kicked sublimely to help clinch another team milestone, this time the first time since 1976 that a South African side have beaten the All Blacks in a series.

He scored a try, kicked the conversion, and then kicked 8 penalties, missing his ninth attempt on fulltime. The 31 points were the most points ever by a player against the All Blacks. He also got the record for the most points in a Tri Nations match, eclipsing the 29 set by Andrew Mehrtens.

He was humble post match when asked about the performance.

"We were ready for the rain and expected the win to blow, so that wasn’t really a problem. I was a bit disappointed to miss that last kick but happy with the rest of them," he said.

"A lot of credit has to go to the forwards, though. Any No 10 would love to be in a side like this."

New Zealand showed flashes of brilliance at times with their incredible counter-attacking prowess, but their error rate was high and they lacked precision and composure, which cost them dearly.

South Africa now sit firmly on top of the table, with another home match to come, before travelling overseas. They face the Wallabies in Cape Town next week.

Time: 06:44


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