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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Best tries of the Top 14 - Round 22

The big news in the Top 14 today is that Racing Metro have signed French captain Lionel Nallet and the Caveman himself, Sébastien Chabal. Racing Metro have just been promoted to the Top 14, so are going on a spending spree in preparation for next season.

They already have the services of former All Black star Andrew Mehrtens, so will look to extend his contract, as well as bring in other big names, including a rumoured signing of Springbok Francois Steyn.

The Top 14 has featured many big name signings this season, some of which have failed to deliver on all the hype that was created. Others have gradually lifted their game, and are going well in France.

The pick of tries from Round 22 though come mainly from French players, which is nice to see.

While not the best package we've seen, it's still enjoyable and we know that many of you like to get your serving of the Top 14 every now and then. Enjoy.

Time: 04:24


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Midweek Madness - Substitute that bloody Ref

We’ve featured quite a few referee related clips here on RD in the past, most of which have involved the ref being knocked over, tackled, losing his footing, and last week we even saw a ref ‘tackle’ a player. Today’s clip though, is a first.

Stade Francais beat Castres 21-16 in the Top 14 on Friday night courtesy of a late try by young French international Mathieu Bastareaud.

The win has all by sealed the Parisians place in the Top 14 Semi Finals.

The moment we’re showing you today though happened in the first half and resulted in referee Jean-Pierre Matheu leaving the field for good.

Poor old Matheu found himself in the middle of a Stade and Castres sandwich, with big Rodrigo Capo Ortega's head colliding with his lip.

No prizes for guessing who came off second best in that confrontation.

Time: 02:05


Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 11

Round 11 of the Super 14 brought about a shifting of the top four as we saw a few outstanding performances, some upsets, and a change of no less than nine positions on the table.

The Hurricanes moved into top spot after heavily defeating an uncharacteristically poor looking Brumbies side in Wellington. They jumped from fourth on the table up to number one after the impressive 56-7 win that included a classy try scored by young Zac Guildford, who got two on the night.

The Sharks had a bye on the weekend so they moved down from table leaders to fourth place as the Bulls and the Chiefs battled it out at Loftus for second and third positions respectively.

The Cheetahs sprung an upset by beating defending champions the Crusaders in Bloemfontein, but they still remain at the bottom of the table, with the Crusaders still in contention at eighth place.

The Reds put in a great performance to beat the Blues 31-24, scoring an excellent team try that was finished off by Digby Ioane.

The Stormers finally picked up a win on the road before heading home, as they beat the Highlanders 18-11 in Dunedin. It was the home side who scored the try of the match though, through wing Ben Smith but set up by Israel Dagg who was superb on the night.

Drew Mitchell and James O’Connor both scored excellent team tries for the Force as they jumped three places on the table after thrashing the Lions 55-14 in Perth. O'Connors in particular was superb from the Force.

Round 12 will be as tightly contested as ever, making for an exciting weekend of rugby ahead.

Time: 03:17
Music: Know Your Enemy by Greenday


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tana Umaga hits hard, then sets up Jerry Collins for the try

With Tana Umaga making his return to the playing field recently at Toulon, there's been renewed interest around the world from people wondering how he's getting on at the ripe old age of thirty five.

An All Black legend, Umaga coached at Toulon before making the decision to pull on the boots again and see if he can turn his sides fortunes around.

While you cant attribute success to one player in particular, he's done well since making his comeback, and Toulon are now looking safe from relegation so are set to spend another year in the Top 14 in France.

A few weeks ago when Toulon played Montabaun Umaga made this huge hit on lock Mathias Rolland. The referee penalised Umaga, saying he didn't use his arms in the tackle. You be the judge of that.

Montauban kicked over the resultant penalty, but then from the kickoff Umaga got his hands on the ball and set up fellow All Black Jerry Collins, who sprinted over for a great try.

It was an awesome sequence of play as Umaga, who clearly felt hard done by after his hit, got the final say by setting up the try, and later, winning the match 33-20.

Time: 03:12


Monday, April 27, 2009

The School of Hard Knocks - Episodes 1 & 2

We've got something slightly different for you today as we bring you the first two episodes of season two of The School of Hard Knocks, featuring Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell.

The show takes mislead or disadvantaged youths and introduces them to rugby in an effort to give their lives more meaning, teach them some valuable lessons, and most of all, put a smile on their faces.

Through the experience of former Lions players Greenwood and Quinnell, as well as their coach Chris, these young lads will be put through the paces as they train hard in preparation for a match against a strong local side.

Disciplinary issues, injuries, and smoking before and after practice, can these boys get out of the doom and gloom of everyday life and find enjoyment and success on the rugby field? We’ll follow the series and see exactly how they’re transformed over time.

Feedback: Hopefully you enjoy this fascinating series, and while we're yet to see the outcome of what takes place, we're wondering if you have a similar story to tell. Has rugby helped you or someone you know overcome hardship in the same way as we see here?


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jamie Heaslip cracking hit on Bernardo Stortoni

Leinster beat the Glasgow Warriors 36-13 in the Magners League on Saturday, scoring four second half tries which should give them some much needed momentum and confidence ahead of their upcoming Heineken Cup semi-final meeting with Munster.

Glasgow were looking good in the first half, leading 13-8 at halftime after tries from Kelly Brown and Lome Fa'atau.

The second half was a different affair though as last season’s Magners League champions pulled clear after tries by Shane Horgon, Jonathan Sexton, and two for Sean O’Brien.

In the first half Leinster and Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip put this excellent hit in on Glasgow’s fullback Bernardo Stortoni.

The new Lion timed the chase perfectly and smashed Stortoni as he landed from taking the high ball.

It was an excellent hit that resulted in the turnover, and then the penalty.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 10

As Round 11 of the Super 14 comes to an end, we look back at some of the best tries of last weekend’s action, with our weekly Super 14 Pick of the Week, this time for Round 10.

The Blues brushed aside the Highlanders in the same match that produced the Jimmy Cowan red card that we featured earlier in the week. Isaia Toeava scored one of the Blue’s better tries on the night after a nice run from wing Rudi Wulf.

Jimmy Goperth, who was the victim of the Cowan hit, scored a great try himself as he spotted some space and dived over a pile of bodies to score a rather unique try.

The Brumbies and the Bulls played out a classic match in Canberra as the home side snuck home, with impressive flyhalf Christian Lealiifano scoring at the death.

Bryan Habana got himself another intercept try, but looked surprisingly sluggish as Brumbies wing Francis Fainifo caught up to him, but then received a hand in the face for his effort.

Lions wing Henno Mentz seems to have found the form that he had when playing with the Sharks a few years back, as he scored a hatrick against the Reds in Brisbane.

Mike Delaney beat a whole stack of hapless Cheetahs in Bloemfontein to score for the Chiefs, and in Durban the returning Richie McCaw scored for the Crusaders against the Sharks.

There were some nice tries all in all, as another weekend of Super 14 rugby had us entertained thoroughly. We’ll have this weekend’s POW up soon.

Time: 04:34
Music: Barracuda by Heart


Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Funnies - Matt Henjak high tackled by the referee

Toulon achieved their biggest win of the season by upsetting Toulouse 14-6 in front of a packed Stade Velodrome last weekend in the Top 14.

The win means that Toulon have probably saved themselves from relegation, resulting in another year in the Top 14 for the club who’s fans have such high expectations.

It was the French stars against the Toulon dream team, with the latter proving strong enough to hold off the champions.

Toulouse were held scoreless for the second week in a row, as Toulon scored the only try of the match through fullback Luke Rooney, with penalties keeping Toulon in front which led to the famous win.

A crazy thing happened in the first half though after a penalty was awarded to Toulon.

There was a bit of aggression on the ground, which the ref seemingly wanted to break up or pay his attention to immediately. So when scrum half Matt Henjak decided to take the quick tap, he intervened with a blatantly high tackle of his own.

Funnily enough, that actually sparked even more pushing and shoving, while Henjak, not the quietest of characters, was left speechless for perhaps the first time ever.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dan Carter Interview on life in France and his injury

Injured All Black flyhalf Dan Carter is still on the sidelines and in the recovery process since rupturing his Achilles tendon in late January. Contracted to Perpignan, the 59 test veteran and 2005 player of the year will miss the rest of the French season.

Carter, who signed with Perpignan for $1.7 million for a six-month stint, played only five games before suffering the injury at the end of January.

He has chosen to stay in France though, and is currently undergoing rehabilitation for the injury he picked up when playing against Stade Francais.

Carter is now out of his moonboot, and is on the long and difficult road to recovery, that which is expected to keep him out of the game for six to eight months.

All Blacks team doctor Deb Robinson says that walking and building strength is the first step before he can consider running, let alone thinking about resuming playing rugby.

"There has been a bit of wasting of the calf but his wound has healed and there is no stiffness," Robinson said.

She says the end of year northern hemisphere tour is the next time he's likely to be in the All Black jersey, which has now prompted the New Zealand Rugby Union to bend its own rules and fast track England based Luke McAlister back into international rugby.

They have agreed to an exemption of the current selection policy which states a player must be resident in New Zealand, contracted to the NZRU and have played in the competition immediately preceding selection.

It has however been stated that McAlister will have to play for the Barbarians and Junior All Blacks before being considered for Tri Nations selection.

As for Carter, he seems to be enjoying his extended holiday in a beautiful part of France.

Time: 08:31


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jimmy Cowan red card for hit on Jimmy Goperth

All Black Jimmy Cowan was red carded on the weekend as his side, the Highlanders, went down 26-6 to the Blues in their Super 14 meeting at Eden Park.

Cowan, known to be a bit more hot-headed than most, smashed Blues flyhalf Jimmy Gopperth after he cleared the ball from his own in-goal area.

Cowan had been in referee Stu Dickinson’s face all night, so when this late and dangerous looking hit came in, Dickinson had no hesitation in sending off the Highlanders scrum half.

A red card offence warrants a disciplinary hearing, and Cowan has since been cleared of further punishment, with Sanzar judicial officer Bruce Squire ruling that he should have been given a yellow card at most.

Squire said that despite the referees view of it, the tackle was not late, as the footage revealed that it was made less than a second after Gopperth had kicked the ball.

In addition the point of contact was at chest level, so the only issue Squire found was Cowan’s failure to use his arms when making the tackle.

Gopperth said he’d already moved on from the incident, with no ill feelings towards his namesake.

"I hit my head on the ground pretty hard and was a bit dazed," he said. "But that's rugby. It's a physical game."

What's your take on it? Should it have just been just a yellow, or was it more malicious as Cowan could clearly see that Gopperth would kick, yet followed through anyway?

Time: 02:19


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

British & Irish Lions 2009 Squad

The squad for the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa has been revealed at a press conference in London. There have been one or two surprises but all in all it’s a powerful squad with a fine mix of experience and youth.

Irishman Paul O’Connell is now officially confirmed as captain of the 37 man squad that comprises of 14 Irish players, 13 Welsh, 8 English, and two Scottish.

Some perhaps surprising omissions were that of Ryan Jones, Gavin Henson, Mike Blair, Tom Croft and Steve Borthwick.

There were call ups for Munster and Irish pair Keith Earls and Alan Quinlan, Leigh Halfpenny, and the inclusion of 36 year old Simon Shaw, a former Lion who carries all the experience needed for a tour like this.

The 2009 British & Irish Lions
Backs: Lee Byrne, Rob Kearney, Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Ugo Monye, Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Brian O'Driscoll, Keith Earls, Riki Flutey, Ronan O'Gara, Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips, Harry Ellis, Tomas O'Leary.

Forwards: Jamie Heaslip, Andy Powell, David Wallace, Stephen Ferris, Alan Quinlan, Joe Worsley, Martyn Williams, Alun Wyn-Jones, Paul O'Connell (capt), Donncha O'Callaghan, Simon Shaw, Nathan Hines, Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones, Andrew Sheridan, Phil Vickery, Euan Murray, Jerry Flannery, Lee Mears, Matthew Rees.

Check out the Tour Fixtures here


Monday, April 20, 2009

Lions Memories - The Changing Room

Tomorrow the British & Irish Lions squad for the tour of South Africa will be announced amid much speculation and hype. As is to be expected, all discussions in rugby circles currently are about which individuals will be chosen, and which countries represented.

In another of the Lions Memories videos this week, we get to see past Lions players from different eras and countries, speak about what it can be like in the change room prematch.

When you have a mix of cultures coming together as one, there's bound to be a few different ways to approach the psych up before taking to the field.

Emotion in many forms takes place as the players prepare to take on the might of the opposition, and get themselves in the correct state of mind to do so.

It's a case of each to their own as every player readies himself differently. It's the same for all rugby players everywhere, but with the Lions, it was a case of teary eyes, aggressive behaviour, and on one occasion even, smoking a cigar.

How do YOU prepare prematch?Are you laid back and relaxed with a smile on your face, listening to music, or smashing your head into your mates chest? We're interested to hear it.

It's also your last chance to name your Lions tour squad before it's announced tomorrow.

Time: 02:12



Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cardiff Blues thump Gloucester to win the EDF Energy Cup

The Cardiff Blues picked up their third victory of the season against Gloucester yesterday, winning the EDF Energy Cup final at Twickenham.

Young Welsh winger Leigh Halfpenny scored two tries, and Tom James a third, as the Blues raced to a 22-5 half time lead.

Two second half tries from Ben Blair, a breakaway score by Ceri Sweeney, and Tom Shanklin’s converted effort all contributed to bringing up the half century as Gloucester couldn’t cope with the Blues’ confident game.

Gloucester scored a first half try from Mark Foster, as well as a late penalty try, but they weren’t in the match as Cardiff dominated, continuing their fine form after their impressive win over Toulouse in the Heineken Cup last weekend.

Martin Williams put in another Man of the Match performance, and Halfpenny and Shanklin made further claims for Lions honours, as head coach Ian McGeechan and his assistant Shaun Edwards were in the crowd.

In unfortunate news, Jason Spice has played his last game for the Blues as he broke his arm and will be out for the rest of the season. He was injured in the second minute of the game, and will be leaving in the summer for Bristol.

Time: 06:11


Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Funnies - Alex Grove's freak try vs Brive

Worcester held off a brave Brive come back in the European Challenge Cup as the French side came back to within four points of the home side, after being down 17-3 after tries from Marcel Garvey and Pat Sanderson.

Ronnie Cooke scored two for Brive, keeping them in the game before Worcester scored another of their own, this time in strange circumstances.

Flyhalf Matthew Jones’ penalty kick flew high off to the right of the posts, looking like a regulation miss and a waste of a possible three points.

Brive made an unforgivable error though as they watched the ball sail wide before it dropped suddenly in front of the man who looked like he had it under control.

The sun obviously played its part, as at the last second he pulled out of catching it, allowing it to bounce for the chasing Alex Grove who snapped it up and scored. Garvey scored again later in the match, sealing a 29-18 win for the home side.

Similar to the Cliff Myton try of 1998, this freak try by shows why following up a penalty kick can prove fruitful. The Brive player lying on the ground with head in hands afterwards is pretty amusing too.

Time: 01:12


Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 9

As another jam packed weekend of rugby action kicked off in Auckland this morning, we’ve got another serving of our Super 14 Pick of the Week for you, featuring some of the better tries from last weekend’s games.

Starting with a nice Red’s try that’s finished by Quade Cooper, this week we see a mixed bag of skills on show. The little inside flick by former League player Mark McLindon came off brilliantly.

In the same match Kenrick Lynn got on the end of some excellent play by Daniel Bowden and Jason Shoemark, finishing off a great try for the Highlanders.

The Blues tore apart the travelling Lions in Auckland, scoring from all ends of the park, as seen by some of their tries in this compilation. Henno Mentz did score for the Lions though, after a lovely piece of individual skill by Earl Rose.

The rapid Jongi Nokwe flew down the wing for the Cheetahs to score in their big win over the Sharks, but take note of the ever impressive number right Ryan Kankowski, who actually kept up with the speedster, but only managed to grab his shorts in his attempt to prevent the try.

One of the individual tries of the season so far though came from Stormers center Jean De Villiers, who ran through the Brumbies defence single headedly from 55 out.

Kabamba Floors brings an end to the Sharks, and this compilation, with his neat finishing in Bloemfontein. Enjoy the weekend.

Time: 03:54
Music: Go for a Soda by Kim Mitchell


Thursday, April 16, 2009

London Irish and Bourgoin classic at the Madejski Stadium

London Irish narrowly lost to Bourgoin in the European Challenge Cup last week after a Delon Armitage kick sailed wide, resulting in the 32-30 win for the visitors.

It was a thrilling match with an amazing comeback from the Exiles, but it was not enough as they bowed out of the tournament.

The hosts went into half time with the lead, but conceded shortly afterwards through Anthony Forest. Seilala Mapusua then crashed through to bring the game back in Irish’s favour.

With ten minutes left, the scores were tied at 22-22 before we saw a few amazing passages of play. Mapusua threw a intercept pass with five minutes left, and then we saw London Irish get close to the line, and lock captain Nick Kennedy kick a dropkick, with only a few seconds left on the clock.

Irish never gave up, and from the restart they built pressure and managed to find space for the speedy flanker Steffon Armitage to fly down the wing. He finished the try brilliantly, which set up a testing sideline conversion for his brother.

It was an incredible finish to a game of rugby, but a disappointing end for London Irish, who naturally had high ambitions in the tournament.

Bourgoin captain Wessel Jooste spoke frankly after the match.

"We surprised ourselves because we know they are capable of ripping us to bits but we were like a French side tonight that were free spirits on the field.

"But I am quite sure that if the game had gone into extra-time that we would have fallen apart because we were dead out there."


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Clermont beat Stade Francais - Two big hits

Clermont recently beat arch rivals Stade Francais 21-19 in the Top 14 in front of an incredible 79, 842 spectators, a record for a regular season French championship game.

It was a thrilling match that ultimately came down to a battle of the kickers, with Brock James and Lionel Beauxis exchanging kicks.

James came out on top though, slotting the vital penalty that came after a big tackle on Aurélien Rougerie only a few minutes from time. Beauxis had an opportunity to kick a winning penalty with time up, but missed.

The two hits from the game that we’re featuring are as much different as they are spectacular.

The first is a sensational covering tackle from Argentinean Juan Manuel Leguizamón on the powerful runner and try scoring machine, Napolioni Nalaga.

While at first glance it might have looked like a regulation tackle, further replays will show what a solid hit it was, taking out the big mans legs and preventing the try that he would normally so easily score from that position.

The second hit in this clip is that of the more disgraceful type, with Stade center Brian Liebenberg putting in this big shoulder on Rougerie.

A shoulder check, late in the game, Liebenberg was shown yellow and handed Clermont victory by giving away the penalty, which James duly converted.

Time: 02:07


Midweek Madness - Romanian mass brawl

This is the big fight that took place in Bucharest on Saturday in a match between Dinamo Bucaresti and Farul Constanta. We’ve found the two clips which we feel feature the most comprehensive coverage of the incident.

The league leading rivals came to blows only minutes after kickoff, with the fight beginning at the scrum, but soon spreading across the field, involving all players, and apparently some of the spectators too.

When order was restored, the referee showed red cards Dinamo centre Darie Curea and prop Flavius Dobre, both of whom are Romanian internationals.

Nine players were sent to hospital after the match, with three Georgian players being among those hurt, according to Constanta’s coach Virgil Tudose.

The Romanian Rugby Federation has handed suspensions to two Farul players and seven from Dinamo, with the Farul president and club coach also being penalised, along with the Dinamo trainer.

The Romanian Rugby federation said it "condemned the players for conduct devoid of fair-play".

Dinamo president Elisabeta Lipa said the club coaches would be dismissed "if it emerges they incited the violence".

The game was apparently won 3-0 by Dinamo Bucaresti, although there has been talk about the result being altered (as punishment) following the suspensions.

Time: 01:32 & 07:33
Note: The first clip is taken from a fan in the crowd. The second is a longer, real time clip.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Munster surge in the semis with big win over the Ospreys

Heineken Cup champions Munster once again showed why they’re the front runners for this years competition as they tore apart a below par Ospreys side at Thomond Park on Sunday.

The 43-9 win now sets up a mouth watering clash with Irish rivals Leinster, who themselves were victorious on the weekend, beating Harlequins 6-5 is a far tighter game.

Munster led the first half 16-6, but it was two second half tries in two minutes for Keith Earls, and 17 points from flyhalf Ronan O’Gara, that helped the home side run away with the game.

James Hook managed three penalties for the visitors, but lack of creativity and structure ultimately made their big name players look lost in a sea of red.

The way in which Munster dominated the Ospreys, who are littered with Welsh talent, not only shows that Munster will be the odds on favourites to lift the cup once again, but it also raises questions about British & Irish Lions selections.

Many of the Welsh players might have played themselves out of contention, while a few of the Munster guys will have put their hands up.

The Heineken Cup semi-finals will be played on the first weekend of May, while the final is at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on May 23.

Time: 07:20


Monday, April 13, 2009

Cardiff Blues edge out Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium

Kiwi Ben Blair booted Toulouse out of the Heineken Cup with his three penalties that ultimately proved the difference in this tight quarter final match in Cardiff. The incredible defensive effort of the Blues though was what ultimately produced the 9-6 victory.

The loss for Toulouse, last season’s runners up, means that there will be no French semi-final representation for only the second time in the Heineken Cup’s 14-year history.

The Blues are now a transformed side from that who received a 41-17 hiding from the same opposition last year. They kept their composure to hang on for the win in this thrilling, yet low scoring match.

"Everyone has been giving the extra yard and this result against Toulouse just shows the hard work that is going in," said big Blues center Jamie Roberts.

"All the boys were out on their feet, which showed the effort everyone put in.

"It was a mighty defensive effort, especially during the last 20 minutes. I just kept looking at the clock, every minute it seemed, just waiting for it to end.

"It was like a Test match - extremely physical, very quick and very hard on the body.

"And it was very special. The fans were fantastic and I think they pulled us through that last 20 minutes."

The Welsh side will meet Leicester early next month, also at the Millennium Stadium, to see who goes through to meet either Munster or Leinster in the final at Murrayfield.

Time: 08:13


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Leicester vs Bath - Big hits and Dupuy's winning try

A packed Walkers Stadium were treated to a thrilling finish as their Leicester Tigers snuck victory in the final minute against Bath in Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter final clash.

The match was as intense as you’d expect to see in the knock out stages of a big tournament, with a few crunching tackles that stood out.

The first of which was 6ft7 Bath wing Matt Banahan smashing Tigers fullback Geordan Murphy. Banahan lined up and hammered Murphy, who did well to get up from the huge knock.

Alesana Tuilagi once again showed his power, but this time it was with a dreadfully unnecessary hit on Bath fullback Nick Abendanon. Abendanon went off with a shoulder injury a few minutes later.

The high point of the match was of course the late winning try, which came with less than 50 seconds left till full time, and the scores deadlocked at 15-15.

Frenchman Julien Dupuy looked to feed Sam Vesty for the drop goal attempt, but decided it wasn’t on. His delay led to a gap opening up for him to dart through, before rounding the covering defender superbly.

Dupuy’s piece of magic booked the Tigers a place in the semi-finals in which they’ll meet Toulouse’s conquerors Cardiff at the Millennium Stadium.

Time: 06:47


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Heineken Cup Quarter Finals trailer

There’s a feast of rugby this weekend as we see the next round of the Heineken Cup take center stage in Europe with the Quarter Finals. 91 000 tickets have been sold before the weekend started.

On Saturday Cardiff host last season’s finalists Toulouse at the Millennium Stadium, with 30 000 tickets already having been sold, smashing the Welsh record of 27, 114 for a home Heineken Cup match.

Leicester host Bath in an all English clash at the Walkers Stadium which could well be a classic, if recent meetings are anything to go by.

On Sunday champions Munster will welcome the Ospreys to Thomond Park, where a red army of 26 000 will be expecting nothing less than progression to the Semis.

Harlequins will look to their All Black import Nick Evans to produce more of the same magic that was seen a few months back when he sunk Stade Francais in the 82nd minute. Leinster, jam packed with talent and class, will be looking to convert on their promise by taking a victory from this first ever meeting of the two sides in the Heineken Cup.

It’s going to be a fantastic weekend of rugby. Enjoy.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 8

As we head into Week Nine of the 2009 Super 14 we take a look back at the best of last weekends action, with our weekly Super 14 Pick of the Week.

At the top of the table things are looking tight, with the Sharks, the Chiefs, the Waratahs, and the Bulls all juggling for those semi final positions. There’s still plenty of time for a few other sides to sneak in, but at the moment, the top four are most impressive.

Akona Ndungane picked up two against the Crusaders in Christchurch as the Bulls came close to an upset, while the Brumbies scored a few well made tries against the Cheetahs, including a Mark Gerard dribbling effort and a nice individual Christian Lealiifano try from some excellent stepping.

The team that week in and week out seems to produce some spectacular tries, the Chiefs, produced yet another great try that swept the width of the field before Jackson Willison finished nicely. Injury prone Andre Pretorious featured in that match for the Lions, as he stepped a few defenders before offloading for Jano Vermaak.

Probably the performance of the weekend though was in the Waratahs and Stormers match, as Lachie Turner scored two cracking tries, showing what an exciting prospect he is.

The first was self made with a neat chip ahead then great control to score. The second came from a classy bit of play from another youngster, Kurtley Beale, who broke the line then put the kick in for the rapid Turner to chase. Turner calmly did the rest, then got the hooker bear hug as reward.

Time: 06:03
Music: Afterlife by Avenged Sevenfold


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Jonny Sexton suspended for kick on Lefeimi Mafi

Munster got the better of their fierce rivals Leinster at Thomond Park on Saturday with a 22-5 win in the Magners League. Leinster took a double blow as Jonny Sexton has been suspended for two matches following an incident with Lefeimi Mafi.

Sexton was cited for kicking out at Mafi during the closing stages of the match. Mafi received a cut above his eye and was sin-binned for tangling with Sexton after the incident.

Munster weren’t planning on taking the incident further, but citing Commissioner Eddie Walsh felt that a disciplinary hearing was necessary.

The suspension means that Sexton is now ruled out of Leinster's Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Harlequins on Sunday.The fly-half will also miss the Magners League game against Connacht on 18 April.

Leinster are expected to appeal the suspension.

Time: 03:38
The quality of this clip isn't perfect, so apologises in advance. We'll try organise a better one soon.


South Africa defend the Adelaide Sevens title

South Africa successfully defended their Adelaide Sevens title with a convincing 26-7 win over Kenya in the final on Sunday. It was the first ever all Africa final, something which should go a long way in terms of the drive to get Sevens into the Olympics.

Kenya, who have come on immensely of late, had actually beaten South Africa 15-14 in the pool stages the day before. The final was too big an ask though, with the experience of the title holders showing.

"It's the first time that we've retained a title, I think we've pretty much achieved every single goal (we set)," South African coach Paul Treu said.

"It is a good feeling because the guys were really heartbroken last night when we lost our last pool match against Kenya. I think they wanted to make up for it today."

The Springbok Sevens side stretched their lead over England in the overall series to 28 points, with just two legs left.

Sitting on 104 points now, they are the frontrunners with England behind them on 76, Fiji on 74, Argentina on 68, and New Zealand on 64. Unless things go horribly wrong in London and Edinburgh, it looks like they’ll take the series.

Treu said they're not going to get ahead of themselves just yet though.

"Yes, it is going to be difficult for the other teams but we would tend to focus on the things that are in our control and win more tournaments.

"Credit to Kenya. They played in their first IRB final and are improving and they deserved to be in the final."

Time: 07:14


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Leicester go top with a great win over Sale

Earlier in the week we posted a clip of Julian White flooring Andrew Sheridan in the thrilling Guinness Premiership match between the Leicester Tigers and Sale. We’ve now got highlights of that match for you, as the two sides battled for the full 80 mins in a high intensity clash at Welford Road.

The Tigers showed great resilience as they held out for more than an hour with only 14 men, securing the 37-31 win with a show of mental toughness, and three second half tries.

"We just had to keep the belief that we could still play," acting head coach Richard Cockerill said. "Sometimes it can affect you psychologically when you go a man down."

He added: "We have a good scrum and we want to use it as a weapon and Julian's physicality is a key.

"You have to take off a back-row forward which leaves you short in other areas. But the players have to take the credit because they played off their wits a lot of the time.

"They did a lot of things that we don't practise because of the scenario we were in. I thought, considering what went on during the game, the boys were fantastic.

"It was that sort of day and credit lies with the players because the spirit and camaraderie they showed today was second to none.

"It was about the players, the club and the supporters and the boys fronted up."

Julian White has since received a two week ban for his punch on England colleague Sheridan.

This was a great game of rugby with some superb tries, namely by Alesana Tuilagi, Mark Cueto, and Scott Hamilton. Enjoy.

Time: 06:04


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Shawn Mackay 1982-2009

Brumbies forward Shawn Mackay died on Monday morning in a Durban hospital after complications following being hit by an armed response security vehicle outside a nightclub eight days earlier. Mackay was just twenty six.

Mackay had been out with fellow Brumbies players after their loss to the Sharks in the Super 14 earlier that day. The incident took place at roughly 4:15am when they were leaving a club in Umgeni road, Durban.

The statement from the driver of the vehicle documented that he had slowed down to the speed limit when he saw people around. Mackay apparently crossed the road, before turning back again, in front of the car.

Mackay was admitted to St Augustine's Hospital with a cervical spinal fracture and dislocation, a fractured skull as well as a broken leg and multiple facial fractures after being struck by the vehicle.

He had shown positive signs days after the incident, so news of his death had come as a shock after he had been brought out of his medically induced coma last week.

He developed an infection in his bloodstream, and his condition deteriorated rapidly, leading to his passing on Monday morning.

“It is a black day in Australian rugby and Australian sport generally. For a tragedy like that to happen is terrible,” Australian lock Nathan Sharpe said.

Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, in South Africa with the national team, passed on the side's condolences after he'd spent time with Brumbies players and Mackay's parents over the weekend.

Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill said Mackay was "a credit to the game of rugby, and much loved by all who knew him."

"This news today has shocked not only the rugby world but the entire sporting fraternity given the friends Shawn had across the various codes."

South African Rugby have announced that a moment's silence would be observed before upcoming matches in the country this weekend.

Time: 02:13


Monday, April 06, 2009

Lions Memories - To be a Lion

The British and Irish Lions set sail for South Africa in a few months on what should be an epic battle of endurance and guile as they take on the World Champions in their own backyard.

The squad for this year’s tour has yet to be chosen, but there are already a few names pencilled in that are going to be certainty’s to wear the famed red jersey.

To be a Lion, as described in this short video by former Lions greats, is an immense honour and opportunity that very rarely comes around in a player’s career.

Coming together from the four home nations, to play as one and become a band of brothers for a few weeks, going on a Lions tour is an experience like no other.

Willie John McBride, Gerald Davies, Lawrence Dallaglio, Gavin Hastings, and Gareth Edwards talk us through the experience and sense of pride associated with becoming a Lion, and having been one.

In the forthcoming weeks we’ll be featuring random Lions clips from the past to help with the build-up for the historic big tour.



Sunday, April 05, 2009

Julian White floors Andrew Sheridan with one punch

Farmer Julian White was red carded yesterday as the Leicester Tigers roared back to the top of the Guinness Premiership with a 37-31 win over Sale.

White, 35 years old and owning 250 sheep and a heard of cows on his Leicester farm, now faces a ban for his haymaker on England team mate Andrew Sheridan.

He will more than likely miss their crunch Heineken Cup quarter-final meeting with Bath next weekend because of his moment of madness.

Coming up from their fierce scrum battle, Sheridan and White came to blows, with the younger man throwing the first punch, a short left jab. White barely blinked though before decking the Sale powerhouse.

White was sent from the field with no hesitation by referee Wayne Barnes, with the Tigers being left with 14 men for the majority of this pulsating match. For them to come out victors is a true indication of the spirit in the camp right now.

The bonus point victory hoists Leicester to the top of the Guinness Premiership. They could be without White for some time though, which will be decided in a disciplinary hearing in the next few days.

Time: 01:01


Friday, April 03, 2009

Classic Welsh Tries from 1970 to 2008

We’ve got a fantastic video for you to get your weekend started with that features classic Welsh tries from the last forty years. While the timing of the video is pretty irrelevant, what it is, is a magnificent showcase of running rugby and superb tries.

For the ardent Welsh fan, or the rugby neutral who simply loves seeing great rugby being played, this is a must watch.

It’s an inspirational compilation that will hopefully bring back that feeling of nostalgia that is associated with rugby from the great Welsh era of the seventies, the stand out players of the eighties, some classic tries from the nineties, and then more recently, masterpieces from the current batch of super stars, one in particular.

Great tries from John Bevan and Phil Bennet in the Seventies are mixed in with impressive moments of magic from current tv pundits Jonathan Davies and Ieuan Evans in 1988. In recent years it's been the little maestro Shane Williams who has stood out for Wales, so we see some of his sensational moments too.

All in all, this is the definitive Welsh rugby tries collection. It’s 14 minutes of great rugby action that makes it a special collection that will hopefully impress, inspire, and most importantly, be thoroughly enjoyed.

At the end we’ve included a piece that talks about what it’s like to play for Wales. It's about the history, culture, and tradition associated with the love for the game in the great rugby nation.

We even hear Richard Burton, the classic actor of yester-year say what he would have given for just one Welsh cap.

Enjoy this superb collection of classic tries, and don’t forget to have a look at the related links down below, for two more awesome compilations, namely from France and Ireland.

Time: 13:56
Music: Ashes, Gravity, and Natures Law, all by Embrace.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Scott Quinnell's crossbar challenge - Saracens

Big Scott Quinnell travelled to Saracens this week, to see who could take on his throwing arm in the thoroughly enjoyable, Crossbar Challenge.

The Saracens players have been through a lot of late, so it's good to see them having some fun and getting their mind off the serious stuff.

Quinnell is apparently nursing a slight injury of some sort, which perhaps affected his performance this week as we saw him look anything but his usual dominant self.

There we a couple of interesting techniques on show, namely from a wing and a hooker, but it was two of the smaller guys that surprised all by completing the task of throwing the ball through the posts.

Head to head, into the wind, would Scott be defeated? Take a look and see.

Time: 02:11


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Midweek Madness - George Gregan's party trick

From young to old, amateur to professional, we all celebrate victory in different ways. Winning means something special to each one of us, and can be the reward for the hard work that’s gone in for weeks before a big game.

If you’re old enough, alcohol is normally the order of the day, as each team has a different change room ritual to celebrate that sweet feeling of success - most of which should probably remain secret.

But, on A Question of Sport some time back, Matt Dawson decided he’d reveal all be sharing with the world the manner in which Australia celebrated victory when little George Gregan played for them.

Poor old Matt Burke was put on the spot, but he came out with the details in the end, making for another classic moment on the show.

Time: 01:27


Fiji and England classic Quarter Final in Hong Kong

England were determined to beat all before them in Hong Kong after their unfortunate Sevens World Cup loss in Dubai recently. It was not to be though as they went up against eventual champions Fiji in a dramatic Quarter Final.

Fiji scored a last gasp try to win 10-7 in a tense and exciting last eight match.

Emosi Vucago struck first for Fiji but England took the lead after hitting back with a converted try by Rob Vickerman.

With the seconds counting down on the clock and England looking certain to progress, the Fijians made their way down field and with time up, were awarded a penalty.

Pio Tuwai crossed with time up, and it was Fiji who broke England hearts yet again, before beating Kenya in the Semis, and South Africa in the final.

Disappointment for the English side once again, and for coach Ben Ryan.

"I know this side can do better but we didn't keep the ball," said Ryan.

"We spilled out a couple of times at the breakdown and they put pressure on us there, we need to relax on the ball and we just didn't do that, we looked a little agitated.

"Fiji did well, they have had a pretty poor season so far and for them this is the Olympic Games. They put us under lots of pressure at the end we didn't look up we looked down.

Time: 08:29


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