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, September 29, 2009

Air New Zealand Cup - Round 7 & 8 Highlights

With all that's going on at the moment, we haven't featured Air New Zealand Cup highlights in a while. We've got some for you today though, with the best tries from rounds 7 & 8 of the tournament.

As always it's action packed with incredible handling and plenty of young players waiting in the wings to be the next All Blacks. There's a conveyor belt of depth and talent in New Zealand, and the Air New Zealand cup is where you see most of it revealed.

In Round 7, Counties Manukau prop Simon Lemalu scored two well taken tries as they picked up a 37-21 bonus point win over Northland.

Tasman thumped Waikato 23-9 with captain Andrew Goodman scoring one of the individual tries of the season as he received the ball 60m out and managed to sprint and swerve his way around the defence. Auckland then snatched a 23-20 win against Manawatu with a late try to wing Atieli Pakalani.

In Round 8 Bay of Plenty beat Tasman 24-13, but we saw a nice try scored by Tasman lock Alex Ainley following a powerful break by livewire hooker Quentin MacDonald. Elsewhere, Canterbury beat Taranaki 29-17, scoring four tries in the process. Fullback Sean Maitland contributed with two excellent tries of his own.

Hawkes Bay beat Otago 32-10 in Napier with Israel Dagg and Jason Shoemark getting two tries each. North Harbour then beat Auckland 16-14, with the best try being scored by Andrew Mailei following nice work from Rudi Wulf, Jack McPhee and George Pisi.

Time: 03:04
Song: Rebekah by the D4


Monday, September 28, 2009

Fabian Juries brilliant individual try for the Cheetahs

Sevens specialist Fabian Juries was a late inclusion for the Cheetahs when they faced the Bulls at a packed Loftus Versfeld in the Currie Cup this past weekend. The Bulls won the dramatic match 30-27, but it was Juries who caught the eye.

Juries, who is third on the IRB Sevens list of all time top try scorers, has made the transition to the fifteen man game nicely. Despite being a small guy, he possesses incredible speed off the mark, balanced stepping, and an eye for the gap.

Anyone who's followed Sevens over the years will know that Juries is one of the best players of all time, so to see him make the change to fifteens rugby, and do well, is great.

He was Man of the Match when playing fullback against the Sharks last Saturday, and only made the team for the Bulls match thanks to a late injury to Jongi Nokwe.

Selected on the wing, Juries once again took the Man of the Match honours as he scored two tries of pure quality, the first of which had him beating no less than nine players, including a few notable Springboks, on his way to the try line.

Time: 01:25


Guinness Premiership Tries - Round 3

As another weekend of rugby action is over, we're at it once again as we attempt to bring you all the action from around the rugby world. This morning we have the best tries scored in Round 3 of the Guinness Premiership.

Bath earned a hard fought 25-12 victory over Sale at Edgeley Park, their first win there in six years. Matt Carraro scored twice for Bath, with the first of his tries an easy stroll through a poor attempted tackle by former England winger Ben Cohen. Powerhouse Matt Banahan also scored, powering through the defence from close range.

Northampton Saints beat Gloucester 27-14 at Kingsholm. Flyhalf Shane Geraghty showed once again that he's pushing for higher honours as he guided his side to the convincing away win. Prop Soane Tonga'uiha scored a nice try for Saints, with the scoring pass actually coming from his front row partner.

Akapusi Qera finished off well for Gloucester after big Lesley Vainikolo showed his class with an incisive break. Jon Clarke then scored another for Saints after some great build up play.

London Irish demolished Leeds 56-7 at Headingley with Adam Thompstone scoring a second half hatrick. Other tries were scored by Sailosi Tagicakibau, and Chris Hala'ufia, who picked up two.

Wasps were convincing winners over Worcester Warriors at Adams Park as they won 23-3 in a match that had centre Dominic Waldouck sticking up his hand with a great individual performance. Danny Cipriani kicked 13 points, with tries scored by Serge Betsen and Tom Varndell, the latter of which brought up his 50th Premiership try.

Time: 04:09
We'll have Round 4's tries for you soon.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Magners League best tries - Round 3

We have a few of the best tries from Round 3 of the Magners League for you today. While they aren't of the highest quality, many have written in requesting to see them.

The pick of the action came from the Scarlets and Munster clash at Parc y Scarlets in Wales. The home side looked to have caused the upset, but a late try by Denis Hurley tied the game up. Flyhalf Jeremy Manning completed the conversion for the 22-20 win.

Hurley scored two tries on the night, but the best of the match, and probably the weekend, went to Scarlets prop Deacon Manu. Manu kept up in support after a break out by Sean Lamont up the left wing. Jonathan Davies and flanker Simon Easterby were on hand when needed, with Manu taking the last pass to finish a great try.

Edinburgh beat Ulster 16-13 at Ravenhill to go top of the standings as they fought back from 10-0 down. Stephen Ferris and Clinton Schifcofske scored for the home side, but Tim Visser scored a try for Edinburgh before Chris Paterson kicked two penalties, and Phil Godman slotted a drop goal.

Cardiff Blues surprisingly lost to Connacht at the Sportsground, going down 18-16 despite having some internationals back in their side. Ben Blair scored early on to give them a lead, but two tries to Connacht wing Fionn Carr set the home side up for a great win.

Time: 04:36


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Plays of the Year 2009

The international season down south is all but over as the Tri Nations came to a close last weekend. With that, comes the need to reflect on the best bits of the season so far, as Sean Maloney presents us with the Plays of the Year for 2009.

It's been a year of fun filled action so far, more for some than others are we see a bizarre moment in the stands prematch at a Super 14 game in Hamilton. Yes, the tournament has had it's highlights, most of which were on the cheerleaders at each and every game.

From dancing advice to sour grapes, Springbok coach Peter De Villiers commanded plenty of attention in 2009. He never failed to infuriate and confuse with his random statements to the media.

De Villiers did however, have the last laugh as his team beat the British & Irish Lions, won the Tri Nations, and retained the number one position on the IRB rankings. Perhaps there is some method to the madness after all.

The biggest hits of the year come from the Lions tour in South Africa, the Air New Zealand Cup, and the Super 14. The Hit of the Year is awarded to a centre who smashed a far bigger prop.

The Best Try of the Year is given to a worthy Frenchman who scored an absolute beauty of an individual effort against the All Blacks a few months back.

As a rugby fan, it's been an incredible year so far with an incredible amount to talk about, both on and off the field. We'll remember 2009 for many different things. It's been a great year for the fans, with so much going on both on and off the field.

The good news is, it's not over yet.

Time: 04:20
Note: This is from the Australian show The Rugby Club.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Funnies - What does an Alternator do?

With the Piggiess vs Princesses clips we've been showing lately, the objective has been to find out who are the smarter bunch - the backs or the forwards.

One thing becomes apparent when watching this clip from the UK's show the Rugby Club though, and that is that it doesn't seem to be a backs/forwards thing.

When it comes to general knowledge, or more specifically in this case, knowledge of car parts, it's both the backs and the forwards of the Guinness Premiership who struggle to come up with solid answers.

While some players simply have no idea and admit it, others have a go at answering and in general fail miserably. Bob Casey is almost convincing with his matter of fact answer, while Harry Ellis comes up with an absolute shocker. Geordan Murphy's answer isn't far off that.

At the end we find some wise old heads coming up with it, but the question is, do you actually know what an alternator does? You will be the end of this clip.

Time: 01:41


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quade Cooper brilliant individual try in Queensland final

This is a short clip but it's of a moment of brilliance from young Wallaby back Quade Cooper while playing in the 2009 Queensland Premier Grand Final at Ballymore this past weekend.

Cooper, playing for Souths, went down 22-16 to Brothers, who picked up their first premiership win in 22 years.

It was a fitting send off for former Wallaby and Queensland Reds flanker David Croft, who has announced his retirement.

"I’m just so happy, it’s a magnificent feeling and it’s a good way to go out," Croft said during the post match celebrations.

Cooper was on the losing side, but contributed to the match after Souths had done a last minute reshuffle, with him catching a 6am flight out of Wellington via Sydney to join the team.

He made his presence felt early on in the match with a stunning 65m try that saw him bring out a few of his trademark steps, show great acceleration, and then throw a superb dummy and hand off right at the end.

Note: This is the only version available right now, so no replays/commentary unfortunately.


How to beat a man 1-on-1 with Jeff Wilson

Beating a player one-on-one is a skill that once mastered can go a long way towards making a player a far more dangerous prospect on attack. Jeff Wilson, himself a prolific try scorer for the All Blacks, was a master of the art.

Wilson, now assistant coach at North Harbour, was one of the most talented sportsman to ever come out of New Zealand. He was a dual international in both rugby and cricket, but it was with the odd shaped ball that he found most success.

A fullback and wing with immense speed and skill, Wilson scored 44 tries in 60 Test matches between 1993 and 2002. He was a lethal finisher who was part of a golden era in All Black rugby.

Another All Black great, flanker Josh Kronfeld, visited Wilson to get some tips on exactly how to beat a man when you’re in space with just one defender in front of you.

Whether you’re new to the game or have been playing for years, there’s no doubt that there’s very few more qualified to talk you through this than Jeff Wilson.

The video also includes a few classic tries he was involved in over the years.

Step, swerve, fend, chip, chase, score… we hope you enjoy and find this helpful.

Time: 04:33


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Midweek Madness - Piggies vs Princesses - Stephen Hoiles vs Francis Fainifo

It's time for another test to see who the better men are - forwards or backs - as we take in another instalment of the always entertaining Piggies vs Princesses feature from the Rugby Club in Australia.

This week it's the turn of the Brumbies as scrumhalf Patrick Phibbs hosts the big challenge between a speedy dancer, and a number eight that fancies himself in the kitchen.

It's Francis Fainifo up against Stephen Hoiles as they go through a bit of the routine trivia, then a unique cook-out, sideline at a Brumbies training session.

The unfortunate taste-testers are fellow players Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, and Drew Mitchell, the latter of which looked to be taking a bit of strain after tasting Hoiles' masterpiece.

Time: 04:41


Currie Cup best tries mix - Rounds 10 & 11

The top four for the Currie Cup are looking clearer after another weekend of cracking rugby throughout South Africa. We have the best tries of the past two weekends’s for you in this short compilation.

The Sharks remain on top and it looks as though if they keep going well, along with Western Province, they’ll get a home semi final.

The Cheetahs good run of form was halted by the Sharks on Saturday, while last weekend we saw speed merchant Tonderai Chavhanga score a great try against them for Province. Chavhanga has since announced he’ll be moving to the Lions.

Griquas have shown glimpses of brilliance throughout, and have a key fixture with Western Province coming up that should determine their position come semi finals time. The Bulls sit in fourth, after their big performance against Boland.

All in all, there’s some great tries in this clip, particularly from Frikkie Welsh, Gio Aplon, Sarel Pretorious, and Waylon Murray. Enjoy.

Time: 04:00


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guinness Premiership Tries - Round 2

We've got some of the best tries of the Guinness Premiership's second week of action for you today, with week three's best bits to follow soon.

The tries in round 2 weren't spectacular in general, but the standard of play is hotting up as teams find form and many players find their feet with their new clubs.

One player who's doing well already is new Wasps wing Tom Varndell. He scored two tries against Bath as they won 17-15 in a tight match that went down to the final kick. Their other flying wing David Lemi also scored a neat try.

Worcester were too strong for new boys Leeds Carnegie as they won their meeting at Sixways 27-7. One of the better tries on the night came from Leeds centre Jonny Hepworth early on.

Earlier today we featured a short clip of Gareth Delve and Graham Stowers fighting when Gloucester and London Irish met at the Madejski Stadium. London Irish were too good on the scorecard, winning 40-10 with tries to Delon Armitage and Sailosi Tagicakibau. Charlie Sharples scored for Gloucester.

Kingston Park witnessed a 16-16 draw between the Newcastle Falsons and Sale, following two late Lee Thomas penalties. Rob Vickerman scored for the Falcons, but it was Mark Cueto who scored a superb try following a neat Thomas chip.

Saracens got their second win of their campaign as they beat Northampton Saints 19-16 at the first ever game to be held at Wembley Stadium. Over 44 000 fans witnessed the match, in what was a brave but successful marketing exercise.

Noah Cato got a runaway try for Sarries, with Saints centre Jon Clarke scoring a nice try for them after some quality play by the always impressive Shane Geraghty, who kicked 11 points towards the win.

Time: 03:18


Gareth Delve and George Stowers suspended for 3 weeks each

Last night Gareth Delve of Gloucester and George Stowers of London Irish were both suspended for three weeks following their scuffle at the Madjeski Stadium last weekend.

London Irish won the home match comfortably, 40-10, showing great form early in the season.

Back rower Stowers put in a dangerous tackle on scrumhalf Dave Lewis though, which led to Delve taking exception to it, and sparking the brawl, as can be seen in this short clip.

Stowers was handed two weeks for the tackle, and a further one week for striking Welshman Delve.

The Gloucester captain received a straight three weeks for his reaction to the tackle, as he charged in at Stowers and effectively caused the fight.

Both players will miss out on the first round of Heineken Cup fixtures as they’re only free to play again on October 12th.

Unfortunately this footage doesn’t include the tackle, and this clip is short, but we had requests for it so thought we best share it. It does show Delve charging in though, and the ensuing chaos both on the field, and off it.

Time: 0:24


Monday, September 21, 2009

Joe van Niekerk - Excuse my French

On Friday we featured a clip and interview with Toulon lock Ross Skeate ahead of their big clash with Toulouse. As expected, the match was tight, but Toulon upset the powerhouses, winning 18-13.

Emotions ran high and after the match the delight was evident as the last few minutes were a frantic affair. A TMO decision after full time had the stadium on edge following a botched Toulon clearance.

It went their way though, and they won the match thanks to the boot of a certain mr Jonny Wilkinson, who kicked all 18 points for his new side.

Freddie Michalak, opposing flyhalf on the day, has since stated that he thinks Wilkinson is back to his best.

"He is without doubt back to his best level. Each time he came into our half he scored points. It's important to have someone like that in your team," Michalak said.

Shortly after the final whistle, pumped up captain Joe Van Niekerk got his side together for a typically emotional speech, showing that he has quite a way with words. Excuse the French.

Time: 01:02
Please note: Big Joe's choice of words might not be suitable for younger/sensitive viewers.


Jonah Lomu finds success with bodybuilding

First it was Sonny Bill Williams in the boxing ring. Now it’s Jonah Lomu trying his hand at a sport other than rugby. The former All Black superstar donned a bright blue speedo and plenty of oil as he flexed his muscles in an amateur bodybuilding contest in Wellington a few nights ago.

Lomu has shed an impressive 35 kilograms since he began preparing in March. He now weighs in at 115kg, which is about what he weighed when he first made the All Blacks at the age of 19.

Lomu, now 34, also showed that he has a few moves, which included dropping down into the splits. After all that he’s been through physically over the years, he’s got himself in great shape and has shown great determination.

He came second in two categories, including the men’s open over-90kg, and the mixed pairs. That meant he's done enough to qualify for next month’s competition.

As well as intensive gym work, Lomu has also been on a strict diet in which he’s cut out carbohydrates to the point that he’s been blacking out.

“It takes you to a place where you find yourself. By you being carb-depleted and so forth, you start using parts of your mind that I don't think you might have used before.

"The only times I've really gone to these places is when I played with the sevens, with touch or played for the All Blacks, when you know you need to find that extra step to make that extra tackle."

He’s been inspired by his partner Tracy, who was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago.

"We're getting up there and just showing that she's a breast cancer survivor, I'm a kidney transplantee, and there's life after all the surgeries and all the dramas if you're willing to actually work hard for it."

Lomu’s other motivation has been that he’s planning to make a comeback with French side Marseille Vitrolles, so this has been a great way to get in shape for when he moves to France in November.

Time: 0:44


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Best tries of the Top 14 - Round 6

In round 6 of the French Top 14 some fantastic tries were scored across the country. We have the best of those for you in another short highlights clip.

First up we have Toulon's match with Montpellier and the man we interviewed last week, Ross Skeate, scoring his first try for the club. Montpellier won the match 21-20 though, with Sebastien Kuzbik scoring for them after handing off Tom May.

Mirco Bergamasco scored again for Stade Francais as they thrashed Castres 44-18 in Paris. James Haskell also scored, as did Julien Arias as he shoved off a couple of hapless tackles.

The flying Fijian Viliame Waqaseduadua scored two tries for Brive in their 23-20 loss to Montauban. His second try, which comes in at number 1 on this list, was an absolute scorcher that came from within his own half.

Lucas Borges scored an amazing try for Albi against Toulouse as they lost 19-13. The try was pretty easy for Borges after he got the lucky bounce, but it came from a banana-cross-kick from their flyhalf which caught the defence off guard.

Clermont beat Racing Metro 30-22 at home with tries to Wesley Fofana and Thomas Domingo. Fofana's try came from a neat Brock James chip which he then plucked out the air. Racing Metro scored a nice try of their own through Julien Saubade.

Bourgoin surprisingly beat champions Perpignan 17-6 in Grenoble, helped by a superb try that was finished off by John Senio after hooker Remy Vigneaux made a brilliant break up field. Awesome play by the big front rower.

We'll have more Top 14 action for you soon.

Time: 04:14


Saturday, September 19, 2009

All Blacks beat Wallabies to end Tri Nations on a high

The final match of the Tri Nations was won 33-6 by New Zealand as they managed to avoid becoming the first ever All Black side to lose three home matches in a year.

It was pretty much a dead rubber as South Africa had already won the Tri Nations title, but pride was at stake as neither Australia nor New Zealand gave up.

The loss for the Wallabies means that they ended the tournament at the bottom of the table, with just one win from six matches.

The All Blacks finished second, eight points behind South Africa with three wins from six after this emphatic win over their neighbours.

Following kicks exchanged by Matt Giteau, Dan Carter, and Berrick Barnes, Corey Jane scored the first try of the match after getting above James O’Connor to claim a high kick from Mils Muliaina.

The All Blacks went into the break with a 16-6 lead, before a penalty from Carter and two late tries killed off the visitors.

Ma’a Nonu showed his strength as he barged through two tackles to score. Joe Rokocoko was also impressive, as he looked for work and was rewarded on the stroke of full time with a try in the corner.

The win means that the All Blacks have comfortably retained the Bledisloe Cup.


Jerry Collins charge knocks out Dan Tuohy

We recently featured an interesting interview with Jerry Collins ahead of his time at the Ospreys in Wales. Collins was looking forward to the new challenge and change in lifestyle, after his time in the south of France.

Last weekend against Ulster, a match which the Ospreys lost 20-16, lock Dan Tuohy scored a great try for the winning side. The celebrations didn't last long though.

Shortly afterwards, Jerry 'The Terminator' Collins ended his match in no uncertain terms with a trademark charge that left Tuohy out cold after attempting to tackle the rampaging Kiwi.

Collins, being the good man that he is, went over immediately to check if Tuohy was okay.

Former All Black, and now Ospreys, teamate Marty Holah believes that in time, Collins will come into his own with the new club, and hopefully rekindle the form that he had when at the top of his game in New Zealand.

"I certainly felt sorry for the guy who was on the wrong end of his shoulder last weekend. He just copped it in his soft spot," said Holah.

"The more time Jerry spends with the boys, the more he will fit in.

"He's a bit unsure about our blitz defence, because he hasn't been involved in one before, but once he gets comfortable with it, it's a system that will suit him.

"He's a big hitter who likes to line up people and take them on confrontationally. When it clicks for him, he'll be right in there."

Time: 03:08


Friday, September 18, 2009

Exclusive interview with Toulon's Ross Skeate

Former Western Province and Stormers lock Ross Skeate has been at Toulon in the South of France since last season, and is going strong with the club, having recently scored his first try in the Top 14. We caught up with Ross ahead of their upcoming clash with Toulouse, to talk about bad refs, blood scandals, and big hits.

So Ross, firstly - Cape Town or the South of France, and why?
I would have to say both and for different reasons. In so many ways they resemble each other but in so many others they are literally worlds apart. Cape Town for the Mountain, my family, my friends, my comfort zone and being in Africa again. The South Of France for the experience, the culture and language, the travelling and a new adventure.

What is your earliest rugby memory?
My earliest memories must be that of playing...as a youngster I found it more interesting playing than watching! Never could understand why my pops wanted to watch the game or any sport related event instead of my cartoons! But playing barefoot as a little boy on the fields of SACS Junior School must be it. Oranges at half time and no understanding or memory of who or what we were really doing, just having fun.

Should French referees be breathalysed before matches?
HaHa! I can relate to that statement! But seriously, I do think referees should be analysed and held more accountable for any decisions made on the field. I think one of the problems at the moment is that French referees are as a majority not professional.

Thus if such referees were under the same stringent controls through a referee governing body as they are when they are professional, it would be far more beneficial for the refs themselves and the french game.

We've heard even the staunchest of Afrikaaners speaking eloquent French. How is yours coming along, and how much of a requirement is it considering you have a resident translator?
Mine's actually coming along nicely, but not as quickly as I wish it was. Unfortunately having so many foreigners in the side this year as well as last put me in a comfort zone linguistically, and I know had I found myself in a club that was strictly more french the proverbial deep end would be my best tutor.

But I am learning quickly and my comprehension of what is said I am pretty happy with. Speaking is another story...and its made more frustrating when those freaking Argies arrive and pick the language up in a few months!

You were a highly respected player in South Africa. Do you still have Springbok ambitions?
I do, but when I found myself sitting on the bench for consecutive Super 14 season, for whatever reasons, I knew that I needed to make a change in my current career path and take control of things... Being here in France and deciding to make the move I felt as though I did and now am in control of what happens during the course of things, as opposed to the place I found myself when I was counting the splinters.

I think most of all I want to play Internationally... and maybe that means playing for another country and becoming re-nationalized, but that is something I truly do not have the answers to now... I am aware that if I wanted to play for the Boks, that would mean a move back to South Africa and playing for a franchise there. If i decide that is the best for me and what I want out of rugby and life thats what I shall do. At the moment though, I am happy to see out this current season with Toulon.

Which do you think is the better rugby - Super 14 or Top 14, and how do they differ from a player's perspective?
I must admit I think that the Super 14 is a more attractive open game and hence more entertaining to watch, but I dont think it is as passionately followed as the Top 14 here in France. From a playing perspective I find the game here in the Top 14 obviously slower and also less taxing as far as the amount of phases that each team puts the ball through. But the physicality and emphasis on forward play is more significant here. Although with the Super 14 and the speed of the game the impact and collision points are often (although less frequent) more painful.

You share a changeroom with
Jonny Wilkinson, Joe Van Niekerk, Felipe Contepomi, and loads of other foreign stars. It must be quite an experience?
I think you should be asking them what it's like sharing a changing room with Ross Skeate!!! But it is a strange experience and a great one. Never did I envision myself playing with so many big names from so many different backgrounds and countries as I do now. Playing in Toulon has opened my mind and experiences to rugby and life in Europe and the UK more than ever before (as well as Fiji, Japan, Tonga, Samoa and Argentina!). And having watched many of these guys playing for their countries from a distance and now getting to know them has been fun, but not something totally alien to me having played with a number of other big names in the Stormers and Barbarians.

What's your take on the recent Bloodgate scandal at Harlequins? Is it a first time you've heard of that type of thing, or is it a more common occurrence than we realise?
I assume it has happened more than one would think, and I do feel sympathy for all those involved having pictured myself in their shoes. I remember once trying to get punched so I could go off for a blood bin as I was a substitute and had just torn a ligament in my foot. Sadly no one in the Cheetahs team that day was obliging enough and I hobbled my way through the rest of the game.

Mostly I am glad that the player involved, who originally seemed the scapegoat, has since recieved a lighter punishment. I also think that it has led to a flurry of news related traffic about the alleged fighting, thuggery and general bad stuff in the game... particularily in the UK. It seemed it was all about Football before and now its rugby's turn.

Have you had words with Tana Umaga yet about South Africa's Tri Nations win?
I did have a little dig at him the other day, especially because he's always so quick to point out any All Black victory! And not too long ago Joe Van Niekerk and Tana took a bet over the first Bok All Balck game of the Tri-Nations. Tana was obviously on the losing side that day and had to serve Joe breakfast. I enjoyed it as much as I think he did.

In your 50th Currie Cup match against Griquas last year, you got smashed on a cpl of occasions, as featured here on RD. Is the Kimberley turf as hard as it looks?
I cant believe you are bringing that up let alone showing it!!! I guess Murphy's law is that on my 50th the whole Griquas side would target me, and Heinrich Stride would be the deliverer. They were pretty good hits I must admit, especially the first, but in my defence Francois Louw did pass me a ball with a terrible little lob on it, backed by the sun which obviously was in my eyes at the time!!!! But the worst part about hits like that is not that they hurt, is that they are far more embarrassing and remain so for a long time to come... did i thank you again for bringing it up? And I think that what makes the Griquas turf harder than it is already, is how Griquas play the way they do at home.

Are any of the Toulon guys aware of what we do here on RD? Does Big Joe for example know that we featured a clip of him getting ‘welcomed' to the Top 14 by Henry Tuilagi last year?
Haha! I don't know if he does, but he will tomorrow when I tell him! But yeah allot of the boys know about the site and some even refer to it pretty often. The Toulon home game against Stade Francais last year, and the fight that ensued with 'Storming' Norman Jordaan coming out the winner with three knockouts, has been talked about on few occasions.

What does Ross Skeate do to unwind and forget about rugby for a bit?
I know for everyone its pretty different, but for me I read a bit, listen to a lot of music, smoke a Shisha (not very professional I know) and basically chill. My favourite place to unwind is in the Jacuzzi of my new apartment in Toulon - coffee, Shisha and some music to help 'take the edge off'.

How stoked were you at getting your first try for Toulon a week ago? (featured below)
Pretty happy I gotta admit. Just the week before I had been thinking how I hadn't crossed the try line for the club yet and was aching for it. Only problem is having lost like we did in the final minutes... it really took the shine off.

And finally, Toulon play Toulouse this weekend - is revenge on the cards?
I have no doubt it has been a topic in the Toulouse team room this week, and we are expecting a full strength Toulouse side and one hell of a match! I can't wait!

Ross has his own personal website which he updates with all sorts of behind the scenes info, photos, and stories about life at Toulon. Check it out at www.rossskeate.com

Time: 01:19
Note: We aim to have similar player interviews in future, so hope that you enjoy this, our first.


Friday Funnies - New Ireland jersey gets aired

The long awaited unveiling of the new Puma Irish rugby jersey took place in Dublin on Tuesday as nine members of the Irish team, including Ireland Women’s international Grace Davitt, modelled the range.

The new kit deal is reportedly worth €5 million per annum over the next eight years. That’s huge in rugby terms, and kit will go to the Irish senior and under-age squads.

The design has gone back to the more traditional Ireland colour of ‘Power Green’, and comes with a revolutionary double layer construction for rapid evaporation, along with pumaflex stretch panels for great freedom… whatever that means.

While Puma have taken the step to position themselves brilliantly in the market, the seriousness of the event was lost on two of rugby’s most senior professionals.

As Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell stepped forward to be interviewed, Gordon Darcy couldn’t control himself, and just at the right moment, broke wind.

O’Connell couldn’t contain himself, as the fits of laughter made the launch a bit of a joke, but was hilarious to watch. Each time he tried to speak, he cracked up laughing again, until eventually the mic was turned to O’Driscoll, who was a bit more composed.

“I’m glad I didn’t hear it,” admitted O’Driscoll afterwards, “let’s put it that way, because I’m sure I would have reacted somewhat similarly.”

Asked if Lions captain O’Connell becomes embarrassed easily, O’Driscoll joked: “He’s half way there already from the reddener point of view anyway with the colour of his head. Once you get in those fits, it’s hard to stop.”

Boys will be boys.

Time: 03:02
Note: Apologies for the poor audio. If we get a better version, we'll be sure to post it.


Magners League Best Tries - Round 2

The Magners League is now heading into week 3 of action as the best sides from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland battle it out in what is rapidly becoming one of the better tournaments in world rugby.

We have a pick of some of the best tries for you today, as sides are hitting their straps and creating some awesome try scoring opportunities.

Ulster upset the star studded Ospreys at Liberty Stadium with an impressive 20-16 win on Saturday. Scottish winger Simon Danielli scored two nice tries, with big lock Dan Tuohy finding himself in support to pick up a try of his own. Another Scottish winger, Nikki Walker, scored an excellent break away try for the home side.

As we saw earlier in the week, Xavier Rush scored a fantastic try for Cardiff in their 24-13 defeat to Munster in Limerick. Marcus Horan and Denis Leamy scored for Munster.

Fijian national Isa Nacewa scored a great try for Leinster as they comfortably slayed the Dargons 23-14 at the RDS. Nacewa finished off the try after a neat wrap around move by flyhalf Jonny Sexton, but the pass from Gordon Darcy did look highly suspicious.

Edinburgh let loose against Connacht on Friday as they scored eight tries in their 62-13 massacre of the Irish side. Tries were scored for the winning side by Mark Robertson, Ben Cairns, Chris Paterson, Ally Hogg, Alan Macdonald, Andrew Turnbull, and Roddy Grant. Connacht did manage to pick up a consolation try though, from Fionn Carr.

The last try we have is from the match between the Glasgow Warriors and the Scarlets from Firhill. Glasgow continued their good start to the season with a 19-11 win, but the try featured comes from the losing side, and fullback Daniel Evans.

It's an extremely busy period in the world of rugby, so at times we might not be able to feature all tournaments. If you have a preference, please let us know and we'll try make the majority happy by featuring the most popular action.

Time: 03:40


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The mystery that is Gavin Henson - Will he return?

Welsh centre Gavin Henson has been under the spotlight recently as news hit that he's been given indefinite leave from his club, the Ospreys. Still only 28, Henson is an incredibly talented player who's career never quite lived up to expectations.

One of the most naturally gifted rugby players around, Henson has at times showed that he's had the potential to be a great. It never seemed to last long though unfortunately, as injury seemed to continually strike him down.

He made his international debut for Wales at the age of just 19. He later played for the British & Irish Lions in New Zealand, and has been a stalwart of the Ospreys. He's won two Grand Slams with Wales, but unfortunately has never appeared in a World Cup.

A bit of a tabloid favourite, many feel that his off-field relationship, with a high profile and extremely wealthy singer, has hampered his hunger and desire as a player.

Recently it was announced that Henson wants to retire from rugby completely. It turned out to be a bit of a rumour, with the man himself saying that he was unsure what he wants. Welsh coach Warren Gatland says it would be a tragedy if Henson quits the game right now.

"It would be tragedy if we lose someone of his ability to the game, from a regional and international point of view," Gatland said.

"But I don’t want to treat Gavin in a special way, I don’t want to treat him any differently to anyone else. It is up to him to get himself right, back to the Ospreys training and playing and getting himself right for Wales."

"Gavin is such an obvious and rare talent that we would hate in five years’ time to be talking about him as a player who never fulfilled his potential.

"I am conscious of not stepping on the Ospreys toes. If I did speak to him it would be only proper that I spoke to the Ospreys first. But I will give it a few weeks first to see if there is any hope of him coming back.

"I have always said he is a fantastic player and that when fit and right he is one of the best in the world in his position. But it is up to him now," Gatland concluded.

So what is the deal with Gavin Henson? Will we see him again? We sure hope so.

Time: 04:25


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Midweek Madness - Piggies vs Princesses - Dave Dennis vs Brett Sheehan

Last time on Piggies vs Princesses we saw the tallest man in Australian rugby, Chris Thomson, up against scrumhalf Josh Holmes as they battled it out to see who is the better man.

This time around the battle between backs and forwards continues as flanker Dave Dennis from the Waratahs goes up against pint sized scrumhalf Brett Sheehan from the Western Force.

Waratah's hooker Dave Freier is the make-shift presenter as the guys battle it out with a battle of the minds, then the battle of the pong, as they have an epic game of table tennis.

Life's tough in Australia, as all this takes place alongside a beautiful beach with perfect weather.

It's all in good spirits, but the guys are as competitive as ever and do take the match pretty seriously, as they want to do their fellow backs and forwards justice when it comes to taking on the enemy.

It's another piece of light hearted entertainment from the guys at The Rugby Club Australia. Enjoy, and we'll try get more of these for you in future if you find them amusing or interesting.

Time: 05:26


Pelu Taele given a straight red card for high hit against Bayonne

Biarritz hosted Bayonne in a Top 14 derby match at Estadio Anoeta, San Sebastien in Spain this past weekend. The match was as expected, highly physical and confrontational, with Biarritz winning 12-6.

The match was without tries, but still delivered in terms of intensity and entertainment, despite being much of a forward based battle.

It was 6-6 at halftime, with Valentine Courrent and Benjamin Arrayet exchanging penalties before Bayonne attempted to spread the all in the second period.

Australian Rodney “Rodzilla” Blake received a yellow card for his part in an altercation, but it was Samoan lock ‘Jordan’ Pelu Taele-Pavihi who had a moment of madness early in the second half, as he attempted to behead Pepito Elhorga.

Elhorga cut inside at full tilt before the huge Samoan stuck a massive forearm out that effectively clothes-lined the Bayonne winger.

Taele-Pavihi had been warned earlier in the match after a hit on Craig Gower, so was given a straight red by the referee for this dangerous high shot.

Biarrtiz played the last half hour with fourteen men, but still came out on top thanks for another two penalties by Courrent.

When asked earlier today about the incident, Taele was regretful.

"It wasnt a good tackle. I'm quite disappointed at myself but cant do anything about it!"

Time: 0:53
Note: We found this incident thanks to a user contribution. If you spot something that you'd like to tell us about, please make sure you post us a note in the Requests section of the forum.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Springbok John Smit's big hit on All Black Brad Thorn

A few years back, sectors of the South African media and public were calling for John Smit to be axed as Springbok captain. Jake White stuck with him though, and Smit has had the last laugh, with World Cup, British & Irish Lions, and Tri Nations victories under his belt.

Moving from hooker to prop in recent times, Smit has had his critics over his perceived weakness in the scrums. He silenced them on Saturday as he held his own against the powerful Tony Woodcock.

"You always get a massive boost when you blast over the ball after the opposition has opted for a scrum, and that was a turning point,"' Smit said in his post-match reaction.

Smit was courageous on Saturday. His face was a mess with blood flowing all match. He took a few massive knocks, one from a head collision with his teammate Schalk Burger, and then he got smashed by Isaac Ross.

He soldiered on though, and put in this crunching hit on All Black enforcer Brad Thorn, who famously dumped him in last years test in Wellington. That tackle caused the injury that meant Smit wasn’t able to celebrate their Dunedin win last year.

The obvious questions now arise about whether Smit will be around to lead his country to the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, to defend the trophy they won in 2007.

"I get asked the question a lot these days and it depends on how I'm playing, whether I'm good enough to make the team. But I have a two-year contract with the Sharks and the next World Cup is not that far away," Smit said.

In his 90th Test, Smit finally achieved one of his own person goals – to beat New Zealand in New Zealand, a feat which eluded him last year but can now be added to his impressive resume.

"I think it is a special day for him and I am just glad we have done it for him. He is such a great leader, such an inspirational leader that it is fantastic to have done it with him in the team," centre Jean De Villiers said of his captain.

Time: 01:16


Xavier Rush skins Peter Stringer in the Magners League

Defending champions Munster beat Cardiff Blues 24-13 in the Magners League on Friday night at Thomond Park, but the try of the match came from the losing side.

Scores by Marcus Horan and Denis Leamy and a 14-point kicking contribution from fly-half Jeremy Manning contributed to their first win of this campaign.

There were a fair number of New Zealanders on the pitch, with Doug Howlett and Jeremy Manning for Munster, as well as Xavier Rush and Ben Blair for the Blues.

It was the Blues' Kiwis who were behind the try of the match, as fullback Ben Blair showed pure class as he executed a perfect chip and chase to set up the counter attack just before half time.

Blair regathered his kick for a split second as he flicked the pass to Rees Thomas in one movement, before Thomas found big number eight Rush.

The former All Black turned on the gas as he arched his run around flat-footed scrumhalf Peter Stringer, leaving him for dead as he flew in for a superb try.

Time: 01:57


Monday, September 14, 2009

Jaque Fourie suspended for dangerous tackle on Ma'a Nonu

Springbok centre Jaque Fourie has been handed a 4 week suspension following the 32-29 Tri Nations victory over the All Blacks in Hamilton on the weekend.

Fourie made a tackle on Ma'a Nonu in te 73rd minute of the match that was ignored by the referee and touchjudges, but picked out by citing commisioner Scott Nowland after the match.

Fourie, 26, appeared before a judicial hearing in Hamilton on Sunday. He argued that the tackle was reckless, but not intentional.

After reviewing video evidence and hearing player submissions, Judicial officer Paul Tulley said that the tackle had been "clearly dangerous and placed the player in a vulnerable position when he landed on his neck and shoulder."

Fourie was not intending to play next week, so his suspension will begin on September 26th, and run until October 19th. If his team, the Lions, don't make the Currie Cup final, he won't be playing again any time soon.

Following the controversy with the Bakkies Botha 'Justice 4' incident, questions of consistency when it comes to 'independent' panels are sure to come up again.

Time: 01:06


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Best tries of the Top 14 - Round 5

Round 5 of the French Top 15 produced another batch of sensational tries, with the highlight of this video being the players' ability to offload in the tackle, and be there in support to finish off the tries.

Perpignan beat Top 14 new boys Racing Metro 18-14 in a tightly contested match, with tries to Nicholas Durand, and Maxime Mermoz, as well as Henry Chavancy for Racing Metro.

Castres picked up a bonus point win against Montpellier by beating them 33-18 following tries from Roman Teulet and Chris Masoe. The Masoe try came from a brilliant break by speedster Mark Andreu who sliced through the defence sensationally. The big kiwi then simply charged over the line to finish it.

Bayonne pumped Bourgoin 53-6 as they ran in seven tries, with Pepito Elhorga, Jean-Baptiste Peyras, and Bejamin Fall all scoring two tries each. Peyras scored a notably excellent individual try.

Brive were also on fine form as they punished Albi by 36-9. Argentinian Horacio Agulla got on the scoresheet, as did Jamie Noon and another foreigner, Antoine Claassen.

Pocket Rocket Brent Russell scored for Clermont against Toulouse as they won 19-12 after taking a 13-3 lead at half time. Montauban just beat Toulon with the final kick in a match that was packed with drama. The hosts won 21-18, with a nice try from Julien Raynaud.

Elsewhere, Stade Francais’ poor form continued as they lost 30-22 to Biarritz.

There’s some great tries on show here that are, as always, all the more enjoyable with the excitable French commentary. Enjoy.

Time: 04:23


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Springboks win the Tri Nations after tense battle with the All Blacks

The Springboks are the 2009 Tri Nations champions after beating the All Blacks 32-29 in a dramatic match in Hamilton.

The Boks withstood a late comeback from the home side, who frantically threw everything into it as they looked to sneak the win after coming back into the match excellently.

Needing only a bonus point to insure tournament victory, the Springboks went into the match confident and did the job in the end by winning. Three long range penalties from Francois Steyn, a penalty, dropgoal and conversion from namesake Morne, and tries by Fourie du Preez and Jean De Villiers, meant the Boks would come home with the silverware despite a tense last 15 minutes of All Black pressure.

"We said to the guys at half-time that the All Blacks are an 80-minute team and that proved true," Smit said. "But I was so pleased with the character we showed.

"We did the hard yards in the first 40 and wanted to stay on top. The All Blacks came out firing and we needed to up the intensity. We didn’t manage that completely but did enough in the end.

"I’ve waited for a long time for a win in New Zealand, this is my first. So personally it’s satisfying, but more so for the team."

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was pleased with another historic win for his side.

"It’s huge. We’re on top of the world," De Villiers said. "To beat New Zealand in New Zealand is a huge honour. We had to work hard to keep them out and we did so."

Time: 05:04


Friday, September 11, 2009

Classic Encounter - Wallabies vs Springboks World Cup Semifinal 1999

On one of the most sensational weekends of Rugby ever seen, the Semi Finals of the 1999 World Cup will always be remembered for the drama of the French upsetting New Zealand, and the day before that, this classic encounter between Australia and South Africa at Twickenham.

Without a doubt one of the most enthralling matches I myself have personally ever witnessed, the Boks vs the Wallabies in '99 for a place in the World Cup Final was packed with unbelievable tension, physicality, and a famous kick from the man you'd least expect it from.

A thrilling contest, Matt Burke and Jannie De Beer ruled with the boot as they exchanged kicks for goal throughout the action packed match.

De Beer, who was chief destroyer with his drop kicks against England in the Quarter Final, slotted a penalty under immense pressure with time up on the clocks.

The match went into extra time as the world watched to see what would unfold next. It was non-other than Stephen Larkham who changed the course of the tournament’s history breaking the deadlock, knocking the wind out of the Bok sails.

Larkham, one of the best running flyhalfs ever to play, slotted an incredible 48 meter drop goal to win the match for the Wallabies, sending them into the final against France, which they won easily.

Thinking back, it’s still hard to believe no tries were scored because it was a truly great game of rugby that seemed to have it all.

Time: 03:39


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Currie Cup best tries mix - Round 9

We've got some highlights from the Currie Cup for you now, with the best action from three of the matches that took place in Round 9 of South Africa's fiercely contested domestic competition.

Western Province produced a great 25-19 win over the Blue Bulls at Newlands. Fullback Joe Pietersen scored 20 of their points, with captain Luke Watson scoring an impressive pushover try from the back of the scrum.

One of the games of the weekend was in Potch on Friday night as the Griquas narrowly defeated the Leopards 34-33. Lying third on the log currently, Griquas scored 4 tries through Trompie Nontshinga, Ryno Barnes, Barry Geel and Bjorn Basson.

A player that caught the eye once again this weekend though, was Leopards winger Bom Samaai, who looked dangerous whenever he touched the ball, and finished a great try after a storming run by lock Rudi Mathee.

With three minutes left in the match, the Leopards had a great chance to sneak the win after another great run by Samaai and some slick handling. Unfortunately the last pass didn't stick though, for what would have been a brilliant try.

The Cheetahs continued their good run of form as they picked up their fifth consecutive win by beating the Lions 20-16 in Bloemfontein.

They scored a great try through Frans Viljoen that was set up by a quality chip and chase, then some trademark Cheetahs handling, including Jongi Nokwe once again showing his class.

Time: 3:19


Guinness Premiership Tries - Round 1

The Guinness Premiership kicked off this past weekend and despite all the controversy of the last few months, record crowds turned out across the country to witness some of the great rugby on display.

As we saw with the clip of Nicky Robinson scoring a few days ago, Gloucester comfortably won their West Country derby with Bath. Both sides scored some nice tries, with James Simpson-Daniels scoring twice. Shontayne Hape claimed a consolation try for Bath though, following some neat handling.

Harlequins were in the headlines again for the wrong reasons, as their hopes of righting the wrongs of the bloodgate scandal were diminished within the first minute against Wasps, as George Robson was sent of for headbutting Joe Simpson.

Quins showed character to stay in the match in front of a huge crowd at Twickenham, but were undone 26-15 in the end, with Wasps’ new signing Tom Varndell picking up two valuable tries.

Northampton picked up a 20-17 win against Worcester in an entertaining match at Franklins Gardens. Paul Diggin scored the match winning try with two minutes left in the contest.

Elsewhere, the newly restructured Saracens got their season off to a good start as they beat last season’s runners-up, London Irish, 18-14.

Time: 05:19


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Best tries of the Top 14 - Round 4

Round 4 of the Top 14 took place on Wednesday last week. Some great tries were scored around French rugby hotspots, so we’ve got the best of the lot here in this Best Tries of the Top 14 compilation for Round 4.

Toulouse won narrowly against Bourgoin, but Freddie Michalak had a blotch on his performance card as he tossed a gift to Lionel Mazars, who sprinted away for the try.

Pretty-in-pink Stade Francais continued their poor run of form, as they lost 40-35 to Montauban. Jean-Emmanuel Cassion finished off an awesome team try for Montauban on the way to their win.

Stade coaches Ewen Mackenzie and Christophe Dominici have both since been fired.

For Bourgoin, Albert Vulivuli finished off a nice try with a neat step, as they beat Racing Metro 17-3. Toulon upset traditionally stronger side Clermont, with Sinoti Sinoti scoring a nice set piece try on the way to the 26-21 victory.

Last seasons winners, Perpignan, got the win against Brive in a scrappy match in which David Marty and Christophe Manas scored tries. 21-9 was the final score there.

Coming up next: Guinness Premiership best tries

Time: 03:59


Sam Norton-Knightmare of a debut for the Cardiff Blues

Former Waratahs back Sam Norton-Knight is one of many southern hemisphere players now playing his trade in the UK. Norton-Knight was brought to the Cardiff Blues to replace Nicky Robinson, but had a shocker of a debut against Edinburgh.

Norton-Knight, who’s only 25 but has a fair amount of professional rugby behind him, was predominantly a fullback when playing in Australia. He now insists that his preferred position is at flyhalf, but his performance shows otherwise.

He was replaced after 63 minutes and left the field angrily, tossing his scrumcap to the floor. Coach Dai Young still has faith in his abilities though.

“It was a game to forget for him,” admitted Young. He is very disappointed and he did not play like he could.

“He is a far better player than that and we are confident he will put things right. I am sure he will like to get that game under his belt.

“We will put our arm around him because we know he is a better player than that.

“He is so disappointed because he wanted to start well. But it does not make him a bad player overnight and I don’t want to go overboard. There are very few players in world rugby who don’t have a bad game.

“And I am sure he is going to get better with every match.”

“He was very nervous before the match,” said Young. “In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a debutant so nervous before a match.

The Blues lost the game 22-21.

Time: 02:50


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Top 14 Highlights - Round 3

We're playing catchup after such a busy time in the rugby world, as the Guinness Premiership and Magners League both kicked off this past weekend, as well as Tri Nations, Currie Cup, and Air New Zealand Cup matches.

From the Top 14 though, we have a clip for you that has highlights from three of the better matches in Round 3.

Two tries from Montpellier wing Jaques Bousuge and a drop goal from Francois Trinh-Duc had them leading Stade Francais, but Stade came back with a great try to Mark Gasnier.

Mirco Bergamasco then evened up the score in the second half, before lock Pascale Pape crossed, and Gasnier scored again to seal the comfortable win.

Bourgoin picked up their first win of the season by beating Biarritz 22-17 at the Stade Pierre-Rajon. South African prop Eduard Coetzee scored a great front rowers try for Biarittz, but it was not enough to keep them in the match as Benjamin Boyet slotted a penalty and a 45m drop to deal the win for Bourgoin.

The heavyweight clash of the weekend was Toulouse against Perpignan, as Toulouse hoped to beat the defending champions away for the first time in twenty years.

It was an intensely physical battle, with Perpignan centre Maxime Mermoz scoring the games only try. 17-15 to Perpignan is how it ended.

Time: 04:37


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