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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Biarritz power through Glasgow to get home quarter final

In another recap of Heineken Cup action from last weekend, Biarritz secured a home tie for the quarter finals after they convincingly beat the Glasgow Warriors 41-20.

The Scottish side actually led 20-11 at one stage, scoring some great tries, but a powerful performance from Biarritz in the second half blew them away.

They scored 30 unanswered points and picked up the vital bonus point within the last minute of the match, thus guaranteeing themselves a home match in the last eight.

One of the team tries of the season though came from Glasgow, as Chris Cusiter crossed the line following a series of quality interchanges in a move that was started way back in their own 22 by Bernard Stortoni.

Zee Ngwenya scored a pretty good try for Biarritz too, skinning his man on the outside, reminiscent of his try against Samoa in the 2007 World Cup.

Biarritz will host Ospreys in the quarter final when the tournament continues in a few months.

Time: 01:57


Lee Byrne to appeal his two week suspension

Welsh fullback Lee Byrne has been banned for two weeks for the part he played in the recent ‘16th man’ episode that took place when Ospreys hosted Leicester in the Heineken Cup.

I spoke about the incident briefly when posting highlights from the match a few fays ago. Today I’ve got a short clip for those of you who'd like to see exactly what happened.

Byrne has since pleaded guilty to the charge of misconduct and will be out until February 13, the same day that Wales play Scotland in the Six Nations. He will however miss the opening match of the tournament, against England.

Ospreys themselves were fined €25,000, but weren’t docked any points, which may have resulted in Leicester going through rather than being knocked out of the tournament.

The panel found that Byrne had no effect on the result of the match, but that he should have known that he needed permission to return to the pitch.

"The committee found that this represented a clear breach of the substitution protocol, which forms part of the Heineken Cup 2009-10 tournament rules, and that the club could have done more to ensure that such a breach did not occur.

"However, the committee found that the breach had not been deliberate or premeditated on the part of the club's management and that there had been no material effect on the match."

Byrne will remain with the Wales squad and is set to appeal the decision. He wants to take part in the match against England.

"The player has been taking legal advice and will lodge the necessary documents for the appeal," a Welsh Rugby Union statement said.

Time: 0:47


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Best tries of the Top 14 so far

There isn't a huge amount of rugby on this weekend, but after a busy holiday season, RD will be getting back on track over the next few weeks as we bring you all the best action of the Six Nations and Super 14.

Today we've got a Top 14 clip though, featuring the best tries from the tournament so far.

Many of you may have already seen some of the tries featured here already, as part of the weekly best of compilations, but this video shows some of the best of the best from the action in France.

They're all worth watching again, and I'm sure you'll have your favourites. The order they're listed in, as chosen by Canal+, may be debatable, but in general it's a great recap of ten excellent tries.

Enjoy the clip, and the rest of the weekend.

Time: 05:09


Friday, January 29, 2010

Danny Grewcock suspended for seven weeks for stamping

Ulster flank Stephen Ferris has incredibly been the victim of yet another piece of dirty play, this time from Bath lock Danny Grewcock who stamped on his arm in a Heineken Cup match last weekend.

Not too long ago it was Ferris who was eye-gouged by both Julien Dupuy and David Atoub, resulting in lengthy bans for the Stade Francais players. Following this latest incident, Grewcock received a seven week suspension.

He received a red card from referee Jerome Garces at the time, and was found guilty of a ‘mid-range in the level of seriousness’ stamp following a European Rugby Cup disciplinary hearing in Dublin.

The 37 year old has a history of disciplinary problems, which was taken into account by the independent judicial officer as he delivered the punishment.

The standard suspension for a mid-range offence is five weeks but Grewcock was given an extra fortnight, resulting in him being out of the game until March 13.

The 2003 World Cup winner missed the 2007 World Cup as he was suspended for six weeks at the time, and in November last year he was banned for two weeks for striking Neil de Kock of Saracens.

Grewcock has been suspended in the past for stamping, punching, and even biting. But when you’re a brutish forward who’s been in the game for 15 years, there’s a pretty high chance that you’ll have the occasional run in the with law.

He’ll now have a few weeks on the sidelines to reflect on a more than eventful career so far.

Time: 02:29


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bill McLaren - Rugby's Man with the Golden Mic

The late great Bill McLaren was laid to rest on Monday in his hometown of Hawick, Scotland. Hundreds of mourners lined the streets to pay respects to the rugby commentator who left such an indelible mark on the game.

McLaren, who passed away aged 86 last week, worked in rugby for over 50 years before retiring in 2002. Tributes have poured in for the great man who’s unique, colourful, and impartial style of commentary was loved and appreciated by all.

Former Scotland stars Gavin Hastings, Colin Deans, Jim Renwick, and Gregor Townsend were all present at the funeral service which had over 650 family and friends present.

”We have been amazed by the response from the media, such touching tributes from the great and the good of the rugby world and far further afield and, just as important, people we've met on Hawick High Street over the past week or so,” said McLaren’s grandson, Gregor Lawson.

"So much has been said by people significantly more important and erudite than me about his unparalleled impartiality, his iconic voice, his professionalism, his gentlemanly nature and his ambassadorship for both rugby and Scotland.

"Whilst we have shed many tears through sadness, a great many have also been shed simply through bursting with pride," he added.

McLaren commentated like no other, with his love and passion for the sport shining through, to the point that you truly felt he was in his element being at the game.

That enthusiasm was infectious as millions of fans, young and old, grew fond of the manner by which he described the action in front of him. Players were honoured to take part in a match that he was involved in, despite possibly being referred to as a ‘raging bull’ or even a ‘wild octopus’.

The best known voice in the game of rugby has passed, but the memories live on with countless hours of classic footage from days gone by. Generations past and present grew up with McLaren, and if all goes well, our children's children will one day hear the lyrical tones of Hawick's greatest son.

Time: 04:20


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

London Irish go out after tense draw with Leinster

Another low scoring Heineken Cup match ended in frantic fashion this past weekend as London Irish and Leinster drew 11-11 at Twickenham, knocking out London Irish despite them coming close to the win in the end.

Leinster top the group with the Exiles finishing third behind the Scarlets. Coach Toby Booth had mixed emotions as his side went out of the tournament following the tense match.

"I'm not feeling suicidal," Booth said. "Strange as it may seem, my first emotion is I'm proud of what we've achieved in this Heineken Cup campaign, to be honest."

"To be undefeated against the team that holds the trophy, and to go to their back garden and win, tells me we can live at the top table of European rugby.

"The damage was not done tonight, it was done in rounds two and five. While you can have some indifferent performances in the Guinness Premiership, if you have them in the Heineken Cup, you can't recover.

"It's part of the continued improvement that we need, this ability to perform when we feel less threatened. It's about moving from happy underdog to expectant favourite and we need to learn that at this club," he added.

Leinster flyhalf Jonny Sexton slotted a wobbly late drop goal that brought his side back up to 11-11 following a penalty from Chris Malone.

Malone had an eventful night though as he scored the only try, but had a poor goalkicking night, as well as narrowly missing two potentially match winning drop goals at the death.

"Chris is very honest," Booth said. "Before the game, he was an 85% goalkicker and he had made his last eight kicks in a row. It can happen to anyone.

"You are either a hero or villain playing No 10 and I was the villain tonight. That's the way it goes,” said Malone himself.

"I knew I had the legs to hit those drop goals but just didn't hit the last one straight enough. But we did ourselves in earlier in the Pool with bad results."

Time: 04:10
Note: Now updated to include the dramatic last few minutes


Monday, January 25, 2010

Edinburgh end season on a high against Stade Francais

Edinburgh beat Stade Francais 9-7 in a low scoring affair at a soaked Murrayfield Stadium on the weekend, but despite the loss, the French side progressed to the Heineken Cup quarter finals thanks to the losing bonus point they picked up.

It was a tight match that was perhaps played in honour of Bill McClaren, who passed away last week. A minutes applause paid tribute to the great man before kick off, while Edinburgh did the same with the way they played.

The only try of the game was scored by Stade Francais lock Pascal Pape, but Chris Paterson of Edinburgh gave his side the morale boosting win with three successful penalty kicks.

With his first kick, Paterson became Edinburgh’s highest points scorer in Heineken Cup history, eclipsing the previous record held by Duncan Hodge.

Scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw was named Man of the Match afterwards for his efforts in playing an expansive brand of rugby as he darted around the pitch. Wing Jim Thompson, grandson of the late Bill McClaren, was another impressive back as he made a number of telling runs.

Flyhalf Phil Godman missed a last minute penalty attempt that would have stretched the lead to a slightly more respectable margin, but it was not to be and made no difference to the outcome as Edinburgh held on to end their European campaign on a high note.

There was a bit of a worry for Stade Francais and England flanker James Haskell as he limped off with an apparent leg injury. He seems to be confident that he’s alright though.

"I twisted my knee going for a ball. It's a bit sore but the Stade doctor has had a look and doesn't seem worried. I'll be OK to join up with England. I can put weight on it but I'll have to be assessed by the medics when I join up with England and hopefully it's not too serious," he said.

Time: 05:00
Note: Better highlights will be posted later in the week if possible


Ospreys beat Leicester under controversial circumstances

Ospreys beat Leicester 17-12 yesterday to advance into the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup as one of the two best group runners-up. The result is being disputed by the Tigers though, as the Ospreys fielded a 16th man during the game.

The Welsh region reached the last eight for the third year in a row as they knocked out two-time champions Leicester at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

Leicester however are hoping for a lifeline after Ospreys appeared to have 16 players on the field for over a minute. They’ve made an official complaint after Lee Byrne played a role in stopping a Tigers attack.

He had gone off with a bloodied and dislocated toe, being replaced by Sonny Parker. When he came back three minutes later though, no Ospreys player left the field for over a minute.

"This was a very serious incident with a 16th player interfering with a try-scoring event at a crucial part of the game,” said Tigers chief executive Peter Wheeler.

"We have lodged a complaint with ERC because at a significant point of the game the Ospreys had 16 men on the pitch, and that 16th man interfered with, or was involved in, a break by Ben Youngs and played a significant role in nothing developing from that.

"If you play a player who is unregistered, you get docked points and strung up and all sorts of bad things happen."

Referee Alan Lewis, who should have awarded a penalty at the time, was apparently told by an Ospreys player that Leicester also had 16 players on the pitch, an accusation that the Tigers strongly deny.

Leicester insists that the punishment should be severe, considering the outcome of the result. The Ospreys however are hoping that they’ll get away with just a fine, and continue in the tournament, facing Biarritz in the quarter final in April.

"It was very passionate and a lot of things were said down there," said Ospreys coach Scott Johnson. "But it’s a matter for the officials to sort out. I want to concentrate on the footie."

This latest bit of controversy has been dubbed Subgate, following on from Bloodgate and Mudgate. We’ll update the article when we know the results of the appeal.

Do you think the Ospreys should be fined, have points deducted, or neither, with this simply being an unfortunate mistake by the officials? Let's hear your thoughts on the matter.

Time: 05:00
Note: Better highlights will be posted later in the week if possible


Munster and Northampton battle it out

Munster beat Northampton 12-9 on Friday as they booked themselves a place in the quarter finals of this seasons Heineken Cup. It’s a 12th successive quarter final appearance for the Irish side.

It was a game of penalties at Thomond Park as Ronan O’Gara eased the pressure for the home side with four penalties, while Bruce Reihana, Shane Geraghty, and Stephen Myler kicked a penalty each for the Saints.

"They were excellent tonight, the lads showed what it means for them to play for Munster, to dig in and find a way out like that," Munster coach Tony McGahan said after the tough encounter.

"It was a real battle out there this evening with every metre, every kick, everything meaning something. Northampton are an excellent side and a well coached piece, we had to fight for everything.

"We were under severe pressure at that stage in the second half. We kicked the ball out on the full. We had a few issues in the scrum and Paul O'Connell was off for 10 minutes.

"To dog it out and find a way out... We worked extremely hard on the floor. We got turnover ball, were lucky enough to get it down field and then get three points.

"We always had belief. We have said that many a time that we are always able to come back from any situation,” he said.

They’ve earned themselves a home quarter final as a result, ironically up against the same team once again, as Saints also qualified, thanks to their losing bonus point and the results of other matches.

Northampton advanced as one of the two best runners-up and are the only English Premiership side in the last eight.

Time: 05:00
Note: Better highlights will be posted later in the week if possible


Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Ross Skeate Diary - It's about world domination

Rugbydump columnist Ross Skeate unfortunately picked up an injury while playing for Toulon in the Top 14 recently. Ross is back writing for RD though, with his unique take on the life of a professional rugby player. The Beatles, Playboy, and taking over the world are the topics of discussion this week.

This aching knee! "Storms a comin’!" After the niggle I picked up playing against Montauban - a game we won at home with the highlight being my cross-kick into Chris Loamanu’s hands (impressed Tana?) - putting my body on the line every weekend, I do honestly wonder sometimes if the pay is worth the Zimmer frame and chronic arthritis that old age promises me?

After all there sure is some big money around the sport at the moment!

I mean there are a few big names out there and they seem to be raking in a lot of cash. Take me for example; I’m demanding 1.2 million Euro a year from our club owner Mourad Boudjellal - he didn’t seem too impressed when I brought it up but I sent him a bouquet of flowers and a Playboy and I’m thinking he’ll definitely warm up to the idea.

But never mind that, this ‘new professional era,’ as the kids are calling it, seems to be moving in a very interesting direction indeed.

With the IRB at the helm and rapidly expanding the game into all corners of the globe, even rugby Sevens has finally been accepted as an Olympic sport, thus pushing the code (both the 15-man version and its younger brother, 7’s) further into the limelight and arcing towards new heights of popularity and professionalism.

Some people have been talking about the game dying, and yes, there has been a lot of kicking lately (especially here in France) but those are just smaller details that in my experience have not detracted from the widespread appeal of the game.

Sure, there are the obvious questions about just how far the game shall extend, with relation to some confusing rules (ruck ball as an example although I think the refs are at as much of a loss as we the players are) and the contact element (which seems to be attracting people to it rather than vice-versa). That is in stark contrast to a relatively easily played and understood sport like soccer, or football, depending on your preference.

In some sense I do agree, but the steady expansion of the game seems to speak of other things entirely. Perhaps it’s a social economic thing or maybe just a social thing. But either way, the expansion is good for the economics. See what I did there?

Recent years have seen the Japanese league takeoff, the expansion of the game into African countries as well as Asian and Southern American territories.

Certainly cultures like New Zealand and South Africa will always treat the sport with an almost religious quality and if you could experience the kind of fanatical support that Toulon is famous for, you could argue that it is as much a religion here as places like Pretoria and Christchurch.

The recent performances of an extremely competent Kenyan side on the Sevens circuit as well as the growth of the game in the Russian Federation all points to the same thing - world domination.

That’s what it’s all about isn’t it, trying to take over the world? Whether you’re the Illuminati, The Beatles, Chuck Norris or Simon Cowell, it’s all about world domination. Bigger is certainly better and with the growth of the game at world level, the growing interest of the viewing public with subsequent demands for more viewing material and thus more television sees sponsorships and money come rolling into the game.

Allowing further resources to not only maintain that development of the sport and support of the game in ‘younger’ rugby playing countries but also increase the size of the world stages that the main event is staged on, ie: the Rugby World Cup, the flagship event of the rugby world and the stage where all others flow from, whether it be the Six Nations, Tri-Nations, Heineken Cup, Super 14, or Top 14.

It’s from these tournaments that the true stars of the sport are born and careers have been made. The best and most recent examples would be individuals with the Rockstar status of guys like Jonny Wilkinson, Sabastien Chabal, Jerry Collins, BOD and myself (erm, not).

Individuals who have gained such widespread appeal as sporting brands first and rugby players second, that they’re used to sell products as far reaching as fragrances to shower gels. I still find it a little strange when I see large posters of Chabal, hair all straightened and finely dressed, for some men’s fragrance. He does look ruggedly handsome though.

But what does this all mean for the future?

With rugby stars taking on new levels of celebrity and the game marching towards global appeal the sport shall slowly move towards the same heights as other professional codes such as soccer (again up to you), American football (I know it’s an American game but it’s popularity can’t be argued with) and basketball, to name a few.

I have no doubt that rugby will continue to aspire to those heights, and reach them.

As for the players? Expect bigger salaries, more professionalism and bigger stars of the future – oh, the phone’s ringing so better run, fingers crossed it’s Mourad!

Hope this finds you all well.

Ross, who's played for the Stormers and the Barbarians, has a really interesting website that features plenty of behind the scenes photos, podcasts, and latest news on life with Toulon.

We'll hear back from him soon, but until then, check out www.RossSkeate.com.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Win two tickets to the 2010 USA Sevens in Las Vegas

For the first time, the USA leg of the IRB Sevens World Series will be hosted in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas. You could be there as Rugbydump and USA Sevens Rugby have teamed up to give away tournament passes for the fun-filled weekend at the Sam Boyd Stadium.

For five years the tournament was hosted by San Diego, but organisers have chosen to take the spectacle to Vegas in the hope of reaching new fans and increasing the exposure of the event.

"Vegas is about attracting people with their fun, their parties, their concerts and events and they saw rugby as a group of people globally who tour, a band of camaraderie, brotherhood and sisterhood, a group of people that comes together in celebration," said USA Sevens Tournament Director, Dan Lyle.

Mike Miller of the IRB says Sevens and Vegas are the perfect fit.

“Sevens is great sport but also a great party and Vegas is obviously a great party town, so I see the two complimenting each other perfectly.

"This just shows that Rugby Sevens is continuing to grow in the USA, and that the major resort cities like Las Vegas now understand the worth of Sevens Rugby," he added.

The stadium for the event in February seats over 38 000, and you yourself could be one of the lucky fans who's there, simply by emailing us with the answer to the following question.

What is the name of the stadium that will be used for the Vegas Sevens in 2010?
Send the answer to us, along with your name and contact details and you and a friend could be there for a weekend of fun, sun, and top quality rugby sevens action.

Time: 01:21
Please note: The prize covers weekend passes only. Flights and accomodation are not provided.


Munster deliver knockout blow to Treviso

Munster scored six tries as they beat Treviso 44-7 in clinical fashion at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo. The bonus-point win puts them in pole position to finish top of Pool One in their Heineken Cup campaign.

It was a Munster-blitz as the visitors ran the Italian champions all over the park, scoring tries through Keith Earls, Denis Hurley, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul Warwick, and Donnacha Ryan. Ronan O’Gara added 12 points of his own with the boot.

Alessandro Zanni scored an intercept try for Treviso by it was stark consolation in a match that saw them totally outplayed, and eliminated from the competition.

The result has set up what should be a fiercely contested match with second place Northampton Saints, as the two sides meet tonight in Limerick.

Munster will be favourites at home, but Saints coach Jim Mallinder says his side will travel with confidence and self belief in the hope of coming out on top.

"Many of their players are familiar faces from their exploits for Munster, Ireland and the Lions," said Mallinder.

"But when the whistle blows it is just 15 men against 15, and if we play to our potential and stick to our game-plan there is no reason why we can't win.

"We are going in on the back of a good run - I think we are unbeaten in nine or 10 games - and that is very encouraging. But we also know it is going to be very, very tough - Munster are playing very well.

"However, so are we and we will take a lot of confidence from that, concentrate on our own game this week and go over there with both confidence and belief," he said.

It's tipped to be another classic European match, so try not to miss this one.

Time: 03:00


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Northampton Saints punish Perpignan

Northampton Saints boosted their Heineken Cup prospects on Sunday with an impressive second half display to win 34-0 over Perpignan at Franklins Gardens.

The score was only 6-0 at halftime, but three quick tries in the second half, as well as a later bonus point try by Jon Clarke, sealed the victory.

Ben Foden was on devastating form, cutting the line from the back and setting up a try for Chris Ashton, as well as playing a part in other attacks. Ashton, Phil Dowson, and Lee Dickson crossed for tries, before Clarke’s late effort delighted the home crowd.

Saints captain Dylan Hartley put the victory down to a lot of hard work.

“It's all down to our mentality really. We work hard in the week, we work hard for each other and on the pitch we play for the full 80 minutes," the England hooker said.

The bonus point win has set up a mouth watering all or nothing encounter with Munster on Friday night. Saints now have a chance of qualification but will need to win to make sure they’re in the knock-out stage.

"Everyone knows who Munster are and what they can do," Hartley added.

"We've just got to treat this as though it's our last game. We'll go out there and play, and we have to win it.

"Heineken Cup rugby is special. When you take on sides like Perpignan and Munster it's as close to an international as you'll get. They're massive teams and massive occasions."

Time: 03:11


Lionel Beauxis - Look Ma, no hands!

Not too long ago we were singing the praises of Stade Francais fullback Lionel Beauxis as he showed us a sublime piece of skill against Bath in the Heineken Cup.

When it happened it was one of the most sensational pieces of skill (and camerawork) we'd seen in some time, but Beauxis has managed to undo all that in an instant, as he's gone from hero to zero with this faux pas against the same team.

He attempted to volley the pass from make-shift scrumhalf Hugo Southwell, resulting in a fly-kick that connected with nothing but the mist of Paris.

Luckily for him the moment of madness didn't cost his side the win, as they came out 15-13 winners despite scrumhalf Michael Claasons diving on the loose ball to score in the mud.

It's one of the strangest things we've seen on a rugby field, with the fly-hack being described by the commentators as an own-goal, if there were such thing in rugby.

While even the best make mistakes on occasion, it shows you what a leveller international sport can be. At one moment you're on top, the next you've made an embarassing blunder.

Perhaps in future Beauxis will stick to the boring, yet tried and tested option of actually catching the ball rather.

Time: 02:17


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

London Irish stunned by the Scarlets

London Irish had their Heineken Cup quarter-final hopes left in tatters after the Scarlets beat them 31-22 at Parc y Scarlets on the weekend.

The Exiles had a 22-10 lead which they blew as two second half tries from flanker Rob McCusker and two from Jon Davies set up the thrilling win for the home side.

London Irish now need a bonus-point win against Pool Six rivals Leinster this coming Saturday night at Twickenham.

"It was deja-vu, let's be honest about it," London Irish coach Toby Booth said.

"We're pretty disappointed by the unforced error count. We didn't take the opportunities that we crafted for ourselves. At 22-10 up, you expect to close the game out.

“We had glorious opportunities to put the game to bed and we didn't take them."

At Twickenham, London Irish will need to deny Leinster any points, as well as grab a five-point haul themselves if they wish to progress as group winners.

Time: 03:13


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Leinster see off Brive in Pool Six

Leinster overcame a resolute Brive side 27-10 at the RDS in the pool six Heineken Cup meeting on the weekend, picking up a last-minute bonus point try in the process.

The home side were made to work hard for the win as the lack of game-time over the festive period, along with two Magners League games being postponed, perhaps showed.

Despite the rustiness though, they still managed to produce some great tries, most notably the bonus-point effort by Brian O’Driscoll that featured a stunning flick offload by Shane Horgan.

Back from injury, Jonathan Sexton kicked a penalty and two conversions, the first coming after a penalty try. Isa Nacewa and Gordon D’Arcy scored the other two tries, with Nacewa’s in particular featuring some classy handling.

Brive were determined and show enough spirit to score twice through Retief Uys and Scott Spedding.

Leinster are now five points clear in their group and will meet second placed London Irish at Twickenham in the next round, a match that will determine the winner of the group.

Time: 03:54


Clermont too powerful for the Ospreys

Clermont Auvergne convincingly beat the Ospreys 27-7 in a crucial Pool 3 Heineken Cup clash at Stade Marcel Michelin on the weekend. By doing so, they’ve edged closer towards topping the pool next weekend.

Brock James scored 17 points to add to tries from wingers Julien Malzieu and Napolioni Nalaga in the second half, denying the Ospreys the possibility of at least picking up a vital losing bonus point.

The Welsh region started well, with a converted try for Tommy Bowe, but they missed out on a few chances and Clermont’s power showed as they ran away with the match, coming into their own in the second half.

Flyhalf James hit the posts on a few occasions, but he took all other chances presented to him, making the visitors pay for their missed opportunities.

“Full credit goes to Clermont as we were beaten by the better side. In fact, they were amazing especially Brock James,” said Ospreys head coach Sean Holley.

“You have to admire them but we came here with a lot of hope and ambition and we saw that in the early exchanges. But the penalty count was 14-2 against us and they came in the scrum. That clearly had an effect in the end.

“It is an extremely disappointing dressing room and we’re disappointed for the fans but Clermont were worthy winners,” he added.

Clermont head coach Vern Cotter said: “The Ospreys came at us early on and found some gaps in our defence. But we tightened up and took control. It was a hard battle on a heavy pitch so it’s a good win. We are in good shape to qualify from such a tough group.”

Clermont will take on Viadana in their last pool clash this weekend, with a maximum points haul there being enough to take them through to the last eight. The Ospreys will host Leicester in Swansea.

Time: 05:00
Note: Thanks to WRN


Monday, January 18, 2010

Toulouse show their quality against Harlequins

Toulouse joined fellow French side Biarritz in the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup as they beat English side Harlequins 33-21 in front of their fans at the Ernest Wallon on Sunday.

The three-time European Cup winners got the bonus point win which means they will top the pool whatever happens next week. The scoreline slightly flattered the visitors, who were 33-7 down with just over five minutes left in the game.

Toulouse were remorseless as they hit their straps, scoring some great tries and showing that they’re a genuine threat once again.

Ugo Monye scored two excellent consolation efforts late in the game for Quins, but it was too little too late as Toulouse romped to victory, much to the delight of Coach Guy Noves.

"We really raised our level of play today," said the coach who has been in charge at Toulouse since 1993.

"We owe nothing to anybody and we deserve to have qualified. We are third in the championship, in the European Cup quarter-finals and despite outside criticism, I think that a lot of other sides would like to be in our position."

"The good start of the second half and the fact that we could get ahead on the scoreboard allowed us free ourselves up and lift the level of our play.

"We saw some really fantastic stuff on the field with four great tries, even if we conceded three, including one at the end when we turned off," he added.

Toulouse travel to Sale this weekend for round six of the tournament.

Time: 09:50
Note: Commentary for this clip is in French


Friday, January 15, 2010

Mathieu Bastareaud's powerful try against Biarritz

Last weekend Stade Francais beat Biarritz in the Top 14, with a great try being scored after only two minutes by young Mathieu Bastareaud, who looks to have put his troubles behind him.

The powerful centre charged into the defense, and while it seemed like he was halted, he kept going and eventually made his way over the line for what was a stunning try by a young man who's had to deal with a lot over the last year.

Through the help of his club, as well as showing strong character, Bastareaud has moved on from the New Zealand tour scandal and is now showing that form that we saw glimpses of when he first arrived on the scene.

Stade Francais host Bath in the Heineken Cup this weekend, and Bastareaud feels that they're finding form at precisely the right time, despite not doing brilliantly until now.

"It was imperative that we finally clicked, that we woke up because since the beginning of the season it has not been very pretty what we have been doing," he admitted.

"We were not getting much pleasure from our play on the pitch, it was beginning to become a little worrying," he said.

There's no doubt he'll be in contention for the France side in the upcoming Six Nations, especially as there have been recent injuries to Damien Traille and Maxime Mermoz. He is quick to dismiss that pressure though, focussing only on the tasks at hand for now.

"I am trying to play well on the pitch, to give my all for the club. After that, what will come will come," he said.

Time: 01:05


Nigel Owens - Behind the Whistle

Referee Nigel Owens suddenly found himself in the spotlight once again last month, as fellow Welshman Gareth Thomas announced to the media that he is gay. Owens himself came out the closet a few years back, and his career has since flourished.

Owens has been through a lot in his life, including steroid use, bulimia, and attempted suicide. These days, he's found happiness and is one of the top referees in world rugby.

While the stigma surrounding homosexuality in the sport still exists, for the most part Owens found that people have been supportive and have let him get on with doing his job.

"You do get the odd few who shout the odd things from the crowd - but most of that is still in good banter," he said. "I have been lucky. Everybody from supporters to players to coaches to administrators have all been very supportive.

"There are obviously people who may feel uncomfortable with it but they are very few and far between and you've got to respect the way they think about people as well."

While he was surprised at the support he received, he still feels it could have been a lot worse if he were a referee in another sporting code.

"I think it shows that, especially in Wales, how close a community rugby is. This is not against football (soccer) in any way because I like watching football.

"But I think when you think of spectators in football - if I was a football referee it would be more difficult to go and referee in football matches than it is in rugby matches."

Straight faced on the field but with a great sense of humour off it, Nigel Owens has come a long way and will no doubt continue to command respect for the manner in which he controls a rugby match.

This interesting feature allows us to get to know Owens a bit better and see that while to many he's still just 'that gay ref', he is in fact one of the more amusing characters of the modern game.

In a sport where we are traditionally critical of all referees, how does Owens weigh up in your opinion when compared to other international refs? And who do you think are the top 3 currently? We're interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Time: 05:18


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Big hit by England against Argentina in the Dubai Sevens

This is a clip that was dug up by a contributor that has had a few clips featured on here over the years. He's found this cracking hit from during last months Dubai leg of the IRB World Series Sevens.

Dubai was the first leg of the series, which has since had a tournament in George, and will next month go to Wellington, and then las Vegas. Keep an eye out for competition info regarding the USA leg, as we'll have a ticket giveaway for that one.

In the Cup quarter finals of the Dubai series though, England went up against Argentina in a tightly contested match that ended with England winning 17-12.

Fairly early on in the first half, England's Chris Cracknell put this bone jarring hit in on Argentina's Hernan Olivari, actually leaving both players laying injured on the floor.

The referee made a brave call and let it slide, rather than issuing the yellow card in the heat of the moment. As you can see by the replays, Olivari, a pretty small guy to start with, ducked quite low into the tackle.

You can decide for yourself whether you think a penalty, yellow or no action at all was required. Whatever the case though, that shoulder on face contact doesn't look too pretty.

Time: 1:35


Jonny Wilkinson solid hit against Montauban

For some reason we've had a few Top 14 clips in a row here on Rugbydump over the past few days. That's the way it goes sometimes, despite things usually being more of a mix.

This short clip was requested though, so while other clips are being compiled and prepared, this may be of interest to English and Toulon fans around the world.

Incidentally, if you feel that your favourite team isn't getting enough coverage here on RD, please do get involved with contributions and we'll definitely check out your clips, and probably post them on the site.

Jonny Wilkinson scored eight points as his side beat Montauban 18-7 at home as they moved into the top six of the Top 14 in France.

England will be happy to hear that Wilkinson's fitness isn't a concern ahead of the upcoming Six Nations. He limped off a week ago against Clermont, complaining of back pains.

In this latest match he was back to his old form though, managing to put in a trademark hit on flanker Abdel Boutaty, albeit with a bit of assistance from Mafileo Kefu.

Wilkinson will arrive in England on Thursday, as his side will play Toulon in the Amlin Challenge Cup. Keep a lookout early next week for another one of lock Ross Skeate's fascinating diary entries, exclusive to Rugbydump.

Time: 0:53


Monday, January 11, 2010

Best Tries of the Top 14 - Round 17

Round 17 of the Top 14 produced a few great tries, some of which are featured in this edition of the Best Tries of the Top 14.

Castres continued their fine form as they beat Albi comfortably, with Joe Tekori scoring a nice try as he ran from about the halfway line before bashing aside a hapless defender. Cameron Mcintyre also crossed for a fine try, following a great build up by Phil Christophers.

Racing Metro's winning streak came to an end at the hands of Bourgoin, who beat them 18-17 despite Jonny Leo scoring a nice try after some good handling. Lock Camille Levast then scored for Bourgoin after some nice hands by his fellow forwards.

Iain Balshaw scored for Biarritz as they beat Montpellier 26-10, showing once again that the move to France has reinvigorated him as a player.

The top try on this list is handed to Alexis Palisson for Brive as they thumped reigning champions Perpignan 29-9.

We aren't able to get these clips for you always, so please bear in mind that if you yourself are able to watch, edit and upload, then your contributions are welcomed with open arms.

On a sidenote, we've come across this very catchy web based rugby game from O2 called Chargy Bargy. Just by playing, you can win some great prizes including an all expenses paid trip to Rome to watch England play Italy in the Six Nations. Check it out here now.

Time: 04:38


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Rémy Martin cited for stamp on Jean-Baptiste Elissalde

This is just a short clip to show the incident that has resulted in a citing for Bayonne's Rémy Martin in the Top 14.

Bayonne are near the bottom of the table and looking at a possible relegation from the Top 14, so this blow won't do their cause any good whatsoever.

Martin, captain of the side, was cited by the LNR and will appear before a disciplinary commitee after he stamped on Jean-Baptiste Elissalde of Toulouse.

Martin will surely claim that it wasn't deliberate, but Elissalde was injured in the incident, and as you can see in this clip, wasn't too pleased with his former French colleague.

Martin's displinary hearing will only take place on January 20th, which oddly enough means that he will be free to play until then.

Elissalde had scans on Monday which found that there was actually no cartilage damage around his ribs after they were stamped on.

We've been working on a great competition for you that will be launched tomorrow. Be sure to enter to stand it line to possibly win tickets to watch your team play.

Time: 0:30


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Joe Van Niekerk yellow carded for double high tackle

After a few days without updates, Rugbydump is back online today and will get updates rolling again within the next few days, starting with this pretty amusing clip from the Top 14.

Last weekend Clermont hosted Toulon in what turned out to be a severe hiding from the home side as they ran out 39-3 victors at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

They ran in five tries against a Toulon side lacking direction, with flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson missing penalties and eventually leaving the field at halftime.

His replacement Sebastien Fauque kicked a dropgoal, but that was all Toulon could muster as Clermont scored 29 unanswered points in the second half.

Matters were made worse as Toulon captain Joe Van Niekerk was yellow carded for committing what can only be described as two high tackles.

First he pulled fullback Anthony Floch down by the neck, then clothes-lined winger Napolioni Nalaga.

It's hard to tell which offense the ref sent him to the cooler for, but both high tackles would have comfortably earned him ten minutes on the sideline.

Dirty, yet amusing for some reason.

Time: 01:46


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Record crowd for Harlequins vs Wasps classic

A record Guinness Premiership crowd turned out at Twickenham on Boxing Day to watch Wasps achieve a narrow 21-20 victory over rivals Harlequins.

An expectant crowd of 76,617 arrived for the match in the freezing cold, the day after Christmas. Who says rugby is in a bad state at the moment?

Those who did make the trip to the ground were treated to an excellent match as they watched a determined Wasps hold out against a Quins side that were looking to end on a high after a disappointing year.

Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson, regarded by many as the best number nine in England at the moment, dislocated his shoulder and looks set to miss the Six Nations.

He had some joy earlier in the match though, scoring a try to add to John Harts effort and the points kicked by both Danny Cipriani and Dave Walder.

Nick Evans kicked ten points for Harlequins, while another Test prospect at scrum-half, Danny Care, scored a second half try, as did wing David Strettle.

The late try by Strettle, and the subsequent conversion, kept them within one point, but Wasps held on for a great win in front of the massive crowd of supporters.

Time: 04:35
Note: Further Guinness Premiership highlights will be available throughout the week via the mini-player on the sidebar. For individual clips, post a message in the requests section and we'll see what can be done. Thanks


John Qovu try after great Sebastien Chabal run

Racing Metro narrowly defeated a struggling Bayonne side 23-19 at the Stade Jean Dauger in the Top 14 last week. This is a short clip of a nice try from the match.

Flyhalf Jonathan Wisniewski kicked four penalties and spent ten minutes in the sinbin in what was an eventful afternoon for him.

He contributed towards the first try for the Paris based side though, as Bayonne opposite number Craig Gower kicked a poorly directed high ball that Wisniewski collected well before off-loading to number 8 on the day, Sebastien Chabal.

Chabal has often been required to do the grunt work up front when playing in the second row, but has shown once again that he's more than capable of switching to number eight when needed.

On this occasion the neat pass by Wieniewski set him off on a run that was reminiscent of his great try against Namibia in the 2007 World Cup. He showed that at the age of 32, he certainly isn't lacking in the pace department.

Big Fijian flanker Jone Qovu Naliko accepted a neatly timed pass and did the rest as he charged towards the line to finish off a quality Racing Metro try.

Time: 0:33
Note: This try was found in the Requests section. If you'd like to see anything specific, please post it there. Also, thanks to Lerugbynistere.


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