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, November 28, 2010

The Wallabies thrash France in game of two halves

Despite early scrum worries and a closely contested first half, the Wallabies powered away from France in the second, humiliating the hosts with a 59-16 win at the Stade de France.

It was a tight first half and while the Australian scrum woes continued, a penalty try and yellow card did little to stop them playing the brand of rugby they wanted. Drew Mitchell scored a hat trick after Benn Robinson and Will Genia tries in the space of a few minutes killed off the French resistance.

James O’Connor added a try later in the game to add to his haul of 29 points.

Six tries in 31 minutes showed what the talented Wallaby backline are capable of as the Six Nations champions were made to look a different side in front of an expectant home crowd.

"There's a bit of a way to go to the summer," said coach Robbie Deans.

"But this has been coming for us for a while. We've got a young group of men becoming more experienced. Some of the composure showed in the physical exchanges was evident tonight. We've been flighty in the past but some of these blokes are now more assured at Test level.

"We think the future is promising, but having been beaten by England, we know you've got to earn everything. The tour's been good, we've learnt a lot and there's lots to look forward to.

"Once we smelled a bit of blood, the guys in attack got in and it coincided with some good pieces of finishing," he added.

Captain Rocky Elsom cited flyhalf Quade Cooper as an integral part of the success.

"The main positive for us, for me personally, was that Quade did an excellent job of game management.

"A lot of our finishing, which was brilliant at times, came down to choosing the right time to go. We got through more phases than in previous games.

"It shows maturity from him, choosing when to go. He was choosing the right time and the whole team was benefiting," he said.

Time: 07:00
Note: Thanks to tonytai2017. Better highlights will be posted later in the week.


All Blacks pushed by Wales but end with another Grand Slam

Despite the final score, New Zealand were made to work hard for a 25-37 win over a spirited Wales side to seal their Grand Slam tour of the home nations.

Stephen Jones kept the home side in the game, but scoring five tries to one, two in the last ten minutes, New Zealand pulled away to continue an unbeaten run against Wales that stretches back to 1957.

Wales were the first to score through a Jones penalty, but the All Blacks responded immediately with good hands from Sonny Bill Williams sending Hosea Gear into the left corner for an unconverted score. Dan Carter then added a penalty that took his international points tally past Jonny Wilkinson’s 1178.

Carter, who made his test debut against Wales in 2003, had, by his standards, an off day with the boot, but was his typical mercurial self in open play, returning an aimless Wales clearance to put full-back Mils through untouched for another unconverted try.

Wales, looking to make up for a lacklustre performance against Fiji last week, did gain some parity through their forwards, who tested the All Blacks in the scrum, and through Sam Warburton who looked to match McCaw in the loose. Centre Tom Shanklin also caused problems for the Kiwi defence.

Yet Wales couldn’t turn the pressure into a score, and inevitably conceded to a ferociously talented All Blacks side that continues to play sparkling rugby, as demonstrated when a poor miss-kick to touch was punished by Hosea Gear who squeezed past George North for his second score.

This proved to be the turning point in the match, and paved the way for man of the match Jerome Kaino to tear through the Welsh defence to put wing Toeava in for a score and for scrum-half Jimmy Cowan, whose style of play typifies the All Blacks finesse, provided a deft inside flick to allow replacement prop Afoa to storm in for a fifth New Zealand score.

Although Lee Bryne crossed for a consolation Wales try, welsh head coach Warren Gatland was critical in his post-match analysis. In reference to Wales’ misskick, he said "It was massive, wasn't it?

"We had got back to 13-12, we had all the momentum and we looked strong defensively at that stage. We had some confidence behind us and I thought the All Blacks looked a bit rattled, but to miss touch and have them score from it was a big moment in the game, and those are the things we need to eradicate from our game as those are key moments that can be costly."

However, Gatland insisted there were positives to take from Wale’s winless autumn series:

"The scrum went well. We are disappointed but there is plenty to take from meeting the best side in the world and the players know with a bit more accuracy they are not too far away."

Time: 04:37


England bashed by the 'Boks at Twickenham

The sense of optimism that has been emerging in English rugby in recent weeks was dealt a thundering blow on Saturday as a rattled England side were well beat 21-11 by South Africa at Twickenham.

The Springboks gave the Red Rose team a tough lesson in muscular, bullying rugby with a physical display at the set-piece that England could not handle.

Eleven points from Morne Steyn and two tries from replacement flanker Willem Alberts and wing Lwazi Mvovo saw the Springboks earn their seventh consecutive test win over the home side who had no answer to the South African physicality.

Clearly hurting from the shock defeat to Scotland last weekend, the Springboks were quick out of the blocks, and despite the absence of Schalk Burger, John Smit, Fourie de Preez and Bryan Habana, the Springboks hit England with everything but the kitchen sink.

The first-half was a turgid affair, with only an outstanding defensive performance from Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes, the standout players of England’s series, denying South Africa a try through their captain Victor Matfield. Two penalities from Toby Flood and Steyn saw the half-time scores at 6-6.

South Africa’s dominance eventually told in the shape of tries for replacement forward Willem Alberts and wing Lwazi Mvovo that confirmed the win for the visitors. Ben Foden scored a consolation interception try, although the missed conversion from centre Mike Tindall’s epitomised the England performance.

England manager Martin Johnson was frustrated was his side’s poor execution: "There were too many mistakes. Some of them were forced by their pressure but you can't compound them and let the opposition keep coming at you," he said.

"We just invited pressure back onto ourselves. Test match rugby is pretty basic and pretty simple but you have to execute the fundamentals under pressure. Too many times we didn't secure the ball. Those errors just hurt us."

South African head coach Peter De Villiers, however, admitted he was initially not so confident his side would overcome the in-form England.

"We saw the character. We stood up for ourselves. Against Wales we won the game with our defence. Tonight we won it with our attack.

"This is a big win for the country, a big win for the team. We put a marker down so we can build next year a bit easier."

Time: 05:44
Note: Thanks to tonytai2017. Better highlights will be updated later in the week.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Brian O'Driscoll's brilliance against New Zealand

While the beauty of rugby is it’s many different facets, moments of sublime skill are perhaps right up there with why we have such an undying love for the game. There’s certain moments that will live on and be talked about for many a year to come. Brian O’Driscoll’s try against New Zealand is one of those such moments.

Although it’s been included in the match highlights from the game, I doubt many of you would complain about having access to watching it again on its own and be able to find it easily when telling your mates about it or sharing with those who missed it.

The way that O’Driscoll scooped up the ball with consummate ease said everything about the man and his high quality career. At times, especially in recent years, his powers have been questioned but in that moment, in that split second, there couldn’t have been a true rugby fan anywhere in the world who didn’t say ‘Wow’, or possibly some other choice word.

It was his 41st try for his country, and some will say it might have been his best. Of course in rugby you have to try things and sometimes they don’t come off, but there aren’t too many other players around who would have the audacity and self belief to do that at such high speed, against the All Blacks. Instinct and natural ability take over.

This weekend BOD is set to win his 107th Test cap for Ireland, and lead his side for the 70th time. They play Argentina, a side who in recent times have caused them somewhat of a headache at times. You can still win tickets for the game by entering our giveaway here.

This clip features the try, but also includes another neat bit of skill from him during the game.

Time: 02:02


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Midweek Madness - Drew Mitchell's cheeky run against Italy

Male nudity isn’t usually encouraged on here but this past weekend we all saw a different side of Wallaby winger Drew Mitchell, so some of you thought it would be pretty funny to see that tattoed behind again, and have it shared with the world right here on Rugbydump.

It’s one thing having your arse exposed to the world on the rugby field but when there is a tattoo involved, it makes things a whole lot more interesting. Within hours a still of Mitchell’s pale behind was circulating the web, with many trying to identify what exactly could be seen on cheek number two.

According to the tattooed-bum identifying experts out there, the ink shows three separate hands doing rock, paper, scissors. Yep, I don’t get it either, but I’m sure someone out there knows a bit more and will be willing to share the info in the comments below.

As for the actual rugby, Mitchell scored a try in the game and while the Wallabies won, it wasn’t as convincing as they would have liked so their final game of the tour will be what determines if this northern hemisphere adventure will finish up giving the impression of success or not.

Mixed results until now, France will offer quite a stern challenge in freezing weather and conditions that most of the Aussies will only have experienced on this tour. The French scrum will offer another challenge, not to mention their dangerous backs.

"We have a great opportunity against France to see where we are at," said Berrick Barnes.

"It is important for us going into the World Cup because we are facing a lot of northern hemisphere sides in our pool, so it's a good gauge for us and to get a few hints on where we need to improve in a few things for next year.

"It is our last game together for the year, so we'd like to finish on a good note," Barnes added.

It should be a fascinating battle, kicking off at 20:45 local time on Saturday night.

Time: 0:43


Jason Robinson on life at Fylde Rugby Club

Only a few months back former England fullback Jason Robinson announced that he’d be returning to rugby with a stint at division 2 club Fylde. The move surprised many, but since then Robinson has thrived not only on the field, but in his personal life too.

Totally Rugby caught up with the World Cup winner recently to hear about how his move to the small club came about, including the role that former England coach Brian Ashton played.

As we saw in a recent video with another England back, Will Greenwood, the passion for the game lives long after professional retirement and Robinson seems to be getting the same value from rugby that he was at the highest level.

"It’s quite different from playing at Sale, but it is an environment where I can enjoy it," said Robinson recently.

"I have never lost my appetite for the game, even though the World Cup final seems a long way from Fylde today," he added.

Robinson will actually be turning out on a bigger stage this Friday night as he, along with other England Legends, take on a South African Legends side at the Twickenham Stoop. The game is part of the build up to the England vs Springboks match on Saturday.

Led by former captain Martin Corry, the England Legends will field players such as Robinson, Josh Lewsey, Mark Regan, Dan Luger, and Paul Grayson.

The South African side will have AJ Venter, Joost van der Westhuizen, Braam van Straaten, Brendan Venter, Robbie Kempson, Cobus Visagie, Marius Hurter, Pieter Muller, Breyton Paulse and ex London Irish player Ryan Strudwick.

Time: 05:52
Note: With thanks to Total Rugby


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seremaia Bai's dangerous tackle on Aled Brew earns him yellow

The Wales and Fiji game on Friday wasn't too spectacular as for whatever reason, both sides failed to hit their straps. In an uneventful game, one of the moments that stood out was this tackle that resulted in a yellow card for Seremaia Bai.

Bai, so often an integral part of the Fiji setup, was sent from the pitch for ten minutes after what was ruled as a spear, or dangerous, tackle.

He certainly lifted Brew's legs past the horizontal and by recent rulings that alone is enough to show a player yellow, and in some cases can even result in suspension, as we saw a few months back in the Tri Nations.

If we look at it a little closer though, was this not a case of a great hit being over policed because of a technicality? By all means it looked like what we've all come to know as a good, solid, dump tackle. If a player's legs happen to go up in the air at the last moment but he still lands in the same position he would have if they hadn't, should the tackler be penalised for that?

A lot of it is about momentum and balance. If anything, Bai seemed to land more awkwardly. It certainly wasn't a lift, twist, and drive like we've seen rightly penalised in recent years. Bai actually went on to kick the all important penalty for the draw later in the game, so it was quite an interesting night for him.

Technically this decision was correct and spear tackles should definitely be stamped out of the game, but do you agree that perhaps officials are told to judge on the position of the legs rather than the tackle for what it is? All opinions are welcome as I'm sure we all see it differently.

Time: 01:55


Monday, November 22, 2010

New Zealand en route for Grand Slam after beating Ireland

The All Blacks continued their classy assault of the northern hemisphere with a convincing 38-18 win over Ireland at Lansdowne Road in what was the most entertaining game of the weekend.

Ireland competed valiantly for parts of the game but New Zealand managed to score tries with what looked like languid ease as they did what they do best, following the adage of letting the ball do the work.

Kieran Read crossed for two tries while second rowers Sam Whitelock and Anthony Boric each scored one. Dan Carter, looking back to his best on this tour, kicked 18 points as he came within a few points of edging Jonny Wilkinson as the highest Test points scorer of all time.

Carter has said he was keen to kick some of the opportunities at goal that captain Richie McCaw turned down. "I didn't know how many points I needed, I just wanted to take the kick," Carter said. "When I found out afterwards I gave Richie some stick about it!”

McCaw, who with Mils Muliaina jointly achieved the record for All Blacks caps on the night, said that he wasn’t aware of Carter being so close to the points record.

"Dan obviously knew how many points he was on because I had no idea, I wasn't thinking like that," said McCaw. "He said to me afterwards, 'Jeez, if you'd given me that I would have got the record'.

"I thought, 'Oh well, next week!'. Had I known I don't know if I'd done it any differently. The difference between a 15 and 18-point lead isn't much, so I thought we'd put the pressure on. But now I understand why he was asking for the shot at goal!"

While they lost by 20 points, one of the highlights for Ireland was an incredible try scored by midfield marvel Brian O’Driscoll as he swooped down to pick up a loose ball as though he were on the training field. He scooped it up then dived over for a great try.

Flanker Stephen Ferris, who scored the first try of the game, has since questioned the All Blacks methods of slowing the ball down at the breakdown.

"If I'd been a referee I would have handed out a couple of yellow cards," said Ferris.

"It's hard because when you're in the middle of the pitch you get fast ball, but when you're in their 22 it keeps getting killed. It's the same old faces that are doing it, but they're good at it and get away with it. Richie McCaw did a great job at slowing it down. It's frustrating, but they're also good at poaching the ball legally," he added.

Ireland play Argentina next, while the All Blacks head to Wales looking for the Grand Slam.

Time: 05:34


England come good over resolute Samoan side

Samoa proved a decent challenge for England who, after beating Australia convincingly a week earlier, laboured to a 26-13 win over the Pacific Island visitors at Twickenham on Saturday.

While on a high after the great conquering of the Wallabies, the reality is that a week is a very long time in Test match rugby. Just ask Scotland. The England fans and media had expected the Samoa game to be a chance for the apparently new found flair of their team to let loose. That wasn’t the case as they made hard work of the win.

"I got asked: 'Oh haven't you got to win in style?' These people don't understand what you are dealing with. It's bloody competitive, bloody tough," said coach Martin Johnson.

"They were strong in the breakdown, a couple of times up the middle of the field I wasn't comfortable in my seat. These guys can play. How many times do they have to do what they can do before people understand that?"

Matt Banahan, playing at centre, came away with a try in the second half though. He then played provider as he linked with Danny Care and Tom Croft for another. Toby Flood did the rest with 16 points with the boot.

Flood has warned that they needed show complacency when facing a wounded Springbok side this coming weekend. "We wanted to really put down a marker his autumn," Flood said.

"That means beating the world champions. We can't look back and say 'you know what, we played really well against Australia'. It doesn't work like that, we've got to keep building.

"We need to win this last game. We need to finish it off. South Africa is huge for us in terms of how our autumn looks. If you set the bar as high as we did against Australia you have to continue that. You can't have ups and downs," he added.

RD will continue to bring you great quality highlights over the next few days, as well as clips of other incidents that you'd like featured. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see you can leave a comment on the Facebook page, fire off an email, or post a request.

Time: 06:04


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Wallabies bounce back with win over Italy

The Wallabies got things back on track with a 32-14 win over Italy on Saturday, despite the scoreline perhaps flattering the visitors in what was at times a closely contested match.

Berrick Barnes kicked an impressive 22 points to add to the early try of Drew Mitchell and the late one by captain Rocky Elsom at the final whistle. Italy defended strongly though and were powerful in the scrum, an area that continues to be troublesome for Australia.

"It's a test match and we were very happy with the win however it came," Elsom said. "Their strength is in the pack and the backs didn't get a lot out of us."

Coach Robbie Deans said he was happy with the way his side got back up following losses to England and Munster in recent weeks. "Obviously I'm satisfied, it was a genuine test match and the boys had to work hard for it," he said. "We were a little impatient in the first half, we created a lot but we didn't conclude a lot.

"That's to Italy's credit, they hung in there and as we anticipated they used field position and a bit of cunning to turn the scoreboard over but our boys showed a lot of composure and we earned the result," Deans added.

Italy scored a dubious try that looked to be knocked on, and were kept in the game via Wallaby errors and some good kicking from Mirco Bergamasco and Luciana Orquera. They’ll take heart from the performance though as they tested a top three ranked side.

The Wallabies head to France next weekend to play their final game on tour, while Italy will look for a win when they host the exciting Fijians in Modena.

Time: 05:57


Dan Parks and Scotland upset the Springboks at Murrayfield

Scotland put an end to South Africa’s Grand Slam hopes as they claimed a famous 21-17 win in the driving rain of Murrayfield on Saturday. The flow of the match was hampered by poor conditions, but the hosts handled them better and came out deserving victors.

After being hammered by New Zealand the week before, a bruised Scotland shouldn’t have been too tricky for the Springboks, but tactical naiveté and poor execution proved their downfall as they were beaten at Murrayfield for the first time since a similar performance in 2002.

There was no Plan B, and as has become fairly common under the reign of Peter De Villiers, a one dimensional Plan A. "These conditions level everything out but well done to Scotland," said an unhappy Victor Matfield. "Everyone wants us to play more expansive, but with the weather the way it was it didn't allow us to.

"You can't play a lot of rugby, so it was all about the guys making the least mistakes and putting the other team under pressure," he said.

They did manage to score the only try of the game, through Willem Alberts, but it was Dan Parks who took control and scored all of Scotland’s 21 points which included six penalties and a drop goal. Coach Andy Robinson was thrilled with the result.

"We're hugely delighted with the victory. This victory is achieved by the players and the mindset they've brought into the week that they're able to take on anybody."

"I think a number of young players have come of age," said Robinson. "I thought Richie Gray really stepped up, particularly when Scott MacLeod went off. The pressure he put on the South African lineout, his defensive work and the hits he put in, but also some of his ball carries."

Springbok coach De Villiers was naturally disappointed and cited the weather and a few key calls by Stuart Dickinson as some of the reasons for the loss. "Scotland made use of it much better than us on the night, so well done to them," he said, referring to the constant downpour.

"The momentum at the beginning was with us and we were quite comfortable but we were nailed for a few things on our ball and it gave them a lift. Some of the refereeing decisions were puzzling, however we did not respond the way we should have done," he added.

Giant killers Scotland did the same thing to Australia last year in similar conditions.

Time: 06:05


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wales and Fiji battle it out for a disappointing draw

Wales and Fiji played to a 16-16 draw last night at the Millennium Stadium in what was a result that felt more like a loss for the home side, who gave away an easy penalty in injury time.

Ryan Jones, the guilty party, has since been dropped as captain after the lacklustre and leaderless performance by the Welsh in front of a disappointed home crowd. The game failed to live up to expectation and it was Fiji who surprised the Welsh by leading 13-6 at half time.

The game ended in drama once again as Wales, who came back through a penalty try, hung on for another exciting finish but yet again the crowd left frustrated.

"We have let them down," said coach Warren Gatland. "We feel a bit embarrassed by the performance. It would have been nice to send the kids and families here tonight away with a win and we were not good enough to do it," he added.

Wales have now not won any of their last six games under Gatland and have only won twice in their last 12. “As coach I’m always under pressure, But I prepare a team as well as I can... I can’t go out there and play the game for them.

"It’s up to the players, but you have to take the good with the bad. And this was bad. We have to take it on the chin and look forward to New Zealand."

James Hook said the result was definitely one of their lows since Gatland took over.

"We did not win the game and we drew, but it seems like a defeat. Warren did not have to say too much after the game because the players and coaches were gutted," he said.

A good result for Fiji though, who showed that they’re no pushovers.

Time: 05:36
Note: Better quality highlights will be posted sometime soon


Friday, November 19, 2010

Classic Encounters - New Zealand vs Ireland 1992

Ireland host the All Blacks tomorrow with history hanging over them and the fact that in one hundred years of rugby, they've never beaten the great team from New Zealand. They came mighty close in 1992 though, so here's a few highlights from that classic match.

Carisbrook, Dunedin was the scene of the first of a two-test series between the two sides in New Zealand. While the home side were heavy favourites, the Irish came out showing the kind of fighting spirit they've become known for over the years, taking an early lead through centre Vinnie Cunningham.

Jim Staples scored not too long after that and the All Blacks looked seriously rattled. They hit back through with a well worked try, then outstanding centre Frank Bunce crossed as New Zealand tied things up. Cunningham then scored another great try giving Ireland genuine hope.

Eroni Clarke hit back, then Bunce crossed again with a neat dummy as the home side came away with a hard fought 24-21 victory in what was a game that gave them a real shake-up.

A week later in Wellington, the All Blacks kicked into gear and won convincingly 59-6.

Time: 06:26


Argentina get the better of Italy in Verona

Argentina beat Italy for the fifth successive time in Italy as they won 22-16 at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on Saturday. Felipe Contepomi kicked five penalties for the Pumas while fullback Martin Rodriguez scored a nice try.

Mirco Bergamasco kicked three penalties to add to the a converted penalty try for Italy but they failed to challenge the Pumas line in front of their home crowd. They will host Australia this weekend, while Argentina head to France.

Contepomi, named as Man of the match, said the game was as tough as they’d expected. “We knew it would be a very difficult game against Italy, history tells us it's never been easy for us here," he said. "For us the important thing is the result and to come here and win."

Italy's South African coach Nick Mallett was disappointed with the result.

"Maybe we had more of the ball than Argentina, we had a lot of possession, the backs touched the ball a lot but having possession and creating holes in the defence are different things," he said. "We need to work on our backs' play to create situations to score tries and this is work for everyone, not just the backs," he added.

Captain Sergio Parisse blamed himself for not taking the two chances he had.

"It's a tough moment we feel really bad and I have to take responsibility. I had two chances. At this level you have to take your chances but I didn't and if I had the result could have been different," he said.

They’ve suffered another blow as flyhalf and former Australia rugby league international Craig Gower will miss playing against his country of birth as he’s out with a knee injury.

'Big hits are the name of the game this weekend' - Rugbydump blog in the Telegraph
Have a read through my latest blog on the Telegraph website. It includes a wrap-up and links to all the weekend's big games, a few thoughts about upcoming games, as well as a few other interesting bits. Read more here


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chris Ashton's brilliant try against the Wallabies at Twickenham

Those of you who have visited this site over the years will know that the aim has never been to be a highlights channel, but rather an archive of all things great in world rugby. It's with that in mind that we're adding this Chris Ashton wonder try to the archive as a featured post.

Ashton scored two tries as England turned on the heat against the Wallabies last weekend. His first came from some fantastic build up play. The second was that of pure adrenalin and raw speed as Ashton ran 95 metres to score one of the greatest tries ever seen at Twickenham.

The former League player made the switch to Union three years ago after being inspired by Jason Robinson. Robinson himself was watching on Saturday and has said that he did something he hasn't done in the past - leapt to his feet and cheered Ashton all the way to the tryline.

"Too right I did, me and 80,000 others," said Robinson. "I've not done that before but that was something special. Chris is the real deal. And to think he's only 23. You don't reach your peak until you're 26 or 27.

"He's come into a new game and he's learning new things but his league upbringing is helping him like it helped me. I see a lot of league in him in that there are no restrictions in how he plays. He attacks, he takes people on. You've got to be able to take people on when they don't expect it," he added.

Those involved, Ben Youngs, Courtney Lawes, and Ashton himself, described the moment through their eyes. "Sometimes in rugby your instincts just take over. I saw the gap and just went for it," said Youngs, who passed to second rower Lawes after his dummy on the tryline.

"I just tried to draw the man. I was going to pass the ball earlier bout thought, 'Whats the point?'. I managed to draw him in, give the pass to Ashy and it worked out all right," said Lawes.

"I think he thought he was Sonny Bill Williams, sucking in two players and offloading," added Youngs. Ashton said that he was pretty knackered by the end of the run, but with such adrenalin in front of a home crowd, he could have kept running all the way up the stands.

"I just got the ball in a bit of space and ran like always. When I made the break out of the 22, I looked up at the big screen and it gave me an idea where I was and where Mitchell was," explained Ashton.

"There was no-one on his inside so I thought I would go that way for the corner, as as I went past him he seemed to drop off, so I went under the posts. I didn't really change speed, I just kept on going.

"I'll have to sit down with a beer and reflect on it," he added.

Time: 01:09


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Munster claim Australian scalp at freezing Thomond Park

Munster beat Australian 15-6 in a midweek clash last night at a windswept Thomond Park where the weather was more of a feature than the rugby on hand. Ironically it was Australian Paul Warwick who handled the conditions best, kicking all the points for the home side.

Rain, wind, and freezing conditions greeted an experimental Australian side at Thomond Park as they looked to get over the heavy loss to England on Saturday by picking up a good win. Munster had other ideas though as Warwick kicked three penalties and two drop goals.

Munster famously beat the All Blacks in 1978 so this win will go down as another great win and their fourth straight victory over touring Australia teams. The scrappy nature of the game, attributed to the conditions, didn’t play in the visitors favour as speedsters like Lachie Turner and Rod Davies were wasted out wide.

"There's a few boys in there suffering from hypothermia so we're definitely not used to that," said captain on the night, Berrick Barnes. "Maybe Munster can come to the outback and we'll give them a bit of heat," he added.

It was a first for the majority of the young Aussies who certainly wouldn’t have experienced such a night of rugby to date in their careers. It was to be expected though and Munster seemed to thrive on the nature of the game.

They themselves weren’t at full strength, so they’ll take the win as another famous scalp that will be spoken about for many years to come.

Time: 01:26


France beat Fiji comfortably in the wet of Nantes

France and Fiji met in Nantes in atrocious conditions on Saturday as the home side won 34-12 with Dimitri Yachvili kicking 19 points in a game that tried, but failed to live up to expectations, mainly due to the weather.

David Marty and Maxime Medard scored tries for France, with their third coming from a penalty try after a powerful scrum left the Fijians in tatters. Seremaia Bai managed four penalties for the visitors. The wet conditions hampered the Fijians, who fielded a fairly strong side but failed to utilise their talent in the cold, miserable weather.

France are still unbeaten against Fiji, with Saturday’s win taking the record up to eight matches between the sides with the French coming out on top each time. The venue was however the scene of Fiji’s classic win over Wales in the 2007 World Cup, a team they will face on Friday night.

It will be their first meeting since that historic game, an epic 38-34 win for the Fijians that knocked the Welsh out of the tournament. Revenge will be on the cards.

"They gave Welsh rugby a huge shock. They got a result they deserved that day, and the guys have now got an opportunity to go out on Friday and put that ghost to bed," said Ryan Jones.

"We don't want to get involved in playing 15-a-side sevens. We don't want to go out and try to beat Fiji at their own game, we want to go out and play the way we've developed and try to impose ourselves on the game for 80 minutes," he added.

France will host Argentina, who they themselves lost heavily to a few months back. They’re brought back their top players for the game though, making 14 changes from the side that beat Fiji. Sebastien Chabal will start at number eight for France for the first time since 2008.

"We want to see Sebastien start in this position. We already thought about it last year for a match against New Zealand when we wanted a more dynamic back row," Marc Lievremont said.

Time: 04:21


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Colin Bourke great try vs Hawkes Bay - New uncapped Barbarian

As with tradition, the Barbarians will have an uncapped player take to the field when they face South Africa on the 4th December. That player has now been revealed and it’s none other than dynamic Bay of Plenty number eight, Colin Bourke.

While the BaaBaa’s are usually packed with stars, its a huge honour for the player without Test experience to join them on the park. In the past players such as Tony Underwood, Derek Quinnell, Rob Howley, and Neil Back have all been selected in that role. As we all know, they all went on to achieve higher honours.

For Bourke, who was a talisman for his Bay Of Plenty side in this years ITM Cup, it’s a great piece of recognition as the Kiwi’s talent has been there for all to see this season. Playing at number eight, Bourke has been seen attempting 50m drop goals, slotting conversions and penalties with ease, and of course scoring tries such as the one posted here.

"I was pretty excited when I received the invitation. It will be incredible to be in the company of some outstanding players that I have watched and admired over the years," said the talented 26 year old. For the Barbarians, Bourke will pack down alongside fellow New Zealander Rodney So’oialo and Welshman Martyn Williams.

While not entirely complete, the Barbarians squad to play the Springboks is looking good so far, with a few All Blacks in the ranks. Keven Mealamu will be there after his suspension was downgraded, with teammates Joe Rokocoko, Ma'a Nonu, Neemia Tialata, Daniel Braid and Tom Donnelly all in the mix. Chris Jack will also be playing.

Backs: James O'Connor (Aus), Joe Rokocoko (NZ), Drew Mitchell (Aus), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Aus), Ma'a Nonu (NZ), Matt Giteau (Aus), Will Genia (Aus).
Forwards: Keven Mealamu (NZ), Stephen Moore (Aus), John Hayes (Ire), Salvatore Perugini (Ita), Neemia Tialata (NZ), Chris Jack (NZ), Tom Donnelly (NZ), Quintin Geldenhuys (Ita), Martyn Williams (Wal), Rodney So'oialo (NZ), Colin Bourke (Chiefs), Daniel Braid (NZ).

We've still got tickets up for grabs, so enter now to stand a chance of being at Twickenham for this great match. Find out more and Enter here. If you want to make sure you're there, get your tickets at Ticketmaster.co.uk. Prices range from £35 for adults and from £17.50 for juniors.


Shane Williams out for 10 weeks following Francois Steyn tackle

Welsh wizard Shane Williams will be out of rugby for at least 10 weeks after he suffered a shoulder injury just before halftime in Wales’ 29-25 loss to South Africa on the weekend. He may also be a doubtful starter for the Six Nations.

Williams, his country’s all time leading try scorer and the third highest try scorer in Test history with 53, was flung and dumped by Springbok center Francois Steyn, causing a dislocation of the left shoulder as he landed awkwardly.

"Truth is, I just don’t know yet what I’ve done to the shoulder. I’ve had an operation on both of them in the past to clean them out, but because I have never dislocated my shoulder before I’m not sure how bad it is," Williams said.

"I went down, heard it pop and then when I rolled over on it, I heard another pop, so I’m assuming it has popped out and popped back in. But I’m not a doctor. It’s as sore as hell at the moment, almost unbearably so. It’s like toothache and I’ve had to take quite a few painkillers," he added.

Wales physiotherapist Mark Davies said later that a scan revealed what was suspected – the shoulder dislocated then immediately moved back into place. Williams will undergo exploratory surgery to assess the damage.

"We know he will be out of action now for a minimum of 10 weeks," Davies said.

He will miss Wales’ remaining November internationals, including meetings with Fiji and New Zealand. There’s also a real chance that the 33 year old will be out for the start of the Six Nations too.

Wales now have just George North, the eighteen year old, to rely on as they search for another wing to join him for the next few games. Leigh Halfpenny is injured, so the talk is that Chris Czekaj, Will Harries, or Aled Brew may take the left wing berth.

Time: 0:43


Monday, November 15, 2010

The All Blacks show their class against Scotland at Murrayfield

New Zealand hammered Scotland 49-3 in front of 58 000 at Murrayfield on Saturday, scoring seven tries and bringing to an end the home side's run of four unbeaten matches. Sonny Bill Williams was a deserving Man of the Match.

While there was talk during the week of the Scots looking for a big performance, that was put to bed fast as the All Blacks blew them away with their far superior finishing and deft touches, led by Williams in the midfield.

The big centre was playing in only his second Test but showed what he’s capable of by setting up tries for those around him on more than one occasion.

"Williams has everything. It's fantastic he's in our sport," said Scotland coach Andy Robinson. "We have let the nation down," he added bluntly, referring to his team.

By the end of the game the Scottish commentators had resigned themselves to a humiliating defeat, and instead sang the praises of the All Blacks, and Williams in particular. He himself was happy with the game, but credited his support runners.

"You're only as good as your support play and you probably can't get much better than the boys that I played alongside in the last couple of weeks. It does make it a lot easier," Williams said. "I just hope they catch it, because if they don't catch it...

"It was a step forward - now I know I can mix it at this level -- but in saying that there's still big games ahead and there's a long way to go. Ma'a and Conrad to me are the best midfield combination in the world. As long as I can keep my foot in there and hopefully keep staying in that 22 and get a bit of game time here and there, I know I'll improve."

New Zealand travel to Dublin next to face Ireland, a team they’ve never lost to. Scotland host South Africa at Murrayfield, where both sides will be looking to put in better performances than was seen on the weekend.

Time: 05:13


Sunday, November 14, 2010

England outpace the Wallabies at Twickenham

England got the better of Australia for the second time in succession as they beat comfortably beat the visitors 35-18 at Twickenham on Saturday in what has been described as their best performance since winning the World Cup in 2003.

Their were signs of great things to come a week ago when going down valiantly to New Zealand, but this time around there was no doubt that this may well be a new era for English rugby as they mixed their power up front with an expansive style of play.

Fullback Ben Foden has insisted it’s worth keeping their feet on the ground at this stage however. "Legends aren't made out of one result," he said.

"We need to keep working and getting better and better and hopefully by the time the World Cup comes around we will be there or thereabouts. It was a pretty convincing win and we can be pretty happy with the sort of rugby we played," Foden added.

Wallaby coach Robbie Deans, whose team came into the match following wins over the All Blacks and Wales, said that he could see a big game from England on the horizon.

"I have seen it growing in this England side. They played better against the All Blacks but were frustrated with where they got to. They will take a lot out of it," Deans said.

"They are broadening their game and had success with it against us. They took initiatives in speeding up the game that worked for them," he added.

England scrumhalf Ben Youngs had an outstanding game, as did Chris Ashton, who scored two fantastic tries. The second of which was started by Youngs behind their own tryline, with dynamic lock Courtney Lawes then drawing two men before releasing Ashton. The Saints flyer then put in an incredible 90m sprint to score a sensational try.

"The southern hemisphere teams have to take us seriously. That was our main aim to put ourselves up there and make sure we're competing with the big boys. That's what we've gone out to do. We've put down a marker now," said Foden.

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Wales undone by Springbok comeback in Cardiff classic

The Springboks came back from being down 20-9 to hang on in the face of immense pressure and beat Wales 29-25 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Welsh debutant George North scored a pair of tries, but it was the visitors who left celebrating.

Victor Matfield became the highest capped player for South Africa as he made his 103rd appearance in Test rugby, beating the record of Percy Montgomery. Matfield captained the try on the day, and managed to score in what was an action packed game of rugby.

The Welsh came out all guns blazing with North, making his debut at the age of just 18, scored early after a great backline move created space for his to glide through. James Hook crossed not too long after that, with Shane Williams and a massive overlap proving the difference.

At halftime it was 17-9 and the Springboks looked out of it, not only on the scoreline but in terms of their overall performances. There was somewhat of a turning point shortly before the half though as Williams, who can turn a match, went off injured after a heavy Francois Steyn tackle. Tom Shanklin went off in the same passage of play.

The Springboks looked a different side in the second half as Morne Steyn narrowed the deficit, then loose forward Willem Alberts, on debut, scored a try. Matfield scored a few minutes later, adding to their 17 unanswered points.

North then scored his second after a well placed Stephen Jones crosskick, before Steyn stretched the Springbok lead again with another penalty. Despite an incredible assault on the visitor’s line for a full three minutes of extra time, the World Champions showed their mettle and hung on for a nailbiting win in what was a frantic finish to the match.

It was the second narrow win in succession for the Boks, following the 23-21 win over Ireland last weekend. They now head up to Scotland for their next game in pursuit of the Grand Slam.

Time: 07:15


Ireland break losing streak with hard fought win over Samoa

Ireland ended their six-match losing streak as they were made to fight for their 20-10 win over Samoa at Lansdowne Road on Saturday. It took a try by Ronan O’Gara in the 66th minute to make things comfortable for the home side.

Jamie Heaslip scored Ireland’s first try while O’Gara added the conversion and went on to score the rest of their points, including the opportunistic try that stretched their lead.

Alesana Tuilagi scored a nice try for Samoa after they had dominated territory and possession but struggled to take advantage. They will take more out of the game than Ireland though, who face an uphill battle against New Zealand next weekend.

"I'm glad Samoa are not in our World Cup group. They're a tough, physical side," said Ireland coach Declan Kidney. "It was bit of an arm wrestle for long periods of the game, especially in the second half when they had us tied down to our goalline.

"We became nervous when they built up some momentum and scored their try. It was 13-10 for 10 or 15 minutes with them pressing so I'm sure there were opportunities for them to win. We've been in situations like that before but managed to get the win this time," he added.

Samoa will be looking forward to a physical encounter with an inform England next weekend, while Ireland will host a side they've never beaten, the All Blacks.

Time: 04:26


Saturday, November 13, 2010

A day in the life of Will Greenwood

There’s been a lot of heated debate amongst rugby fans of late as recent events, right up until rulings yesterday afternoon, have caused quite an amount of tension and negativity on the site. This video will hopefully remind everyone what rugby is all about, and that we’re all here because of our love for the game.

This inspiring video features a day in the life of a guy named Will Greenwood, a 38 year old club rugby player. You may also recognise him as a TV pundit, commentator, and of course a World Cup winner with England in 2003.

Greenwood turned out for club side Olney against Old Northamptonians recently, showing all the passion and love for the game that he did, in his own words, at the age of 17. To see such enthusiasm from a guy who has travelled the world and played with and against some of the best players in the game, brings it all back to why we play, watch, and love the wonderful sport of rugby.

Greenwood played at flyhalf in this game, and while it featured a number of long in the tooth players, it still had all the intensity and niggle that you’d expect at the highest level.

As you can see, even though he’s achieved as much as you can, Will still absolutely loves everything about the sport and will no doubt continue to play for as long as possible. Hats off to the guy, and of course all the others who play week in and week out, no matter what their age, fitness, or skill level. This is why we love rugby. Enjoy.

Time: 06:21
Note: Thanks to Canterbury for making this great video.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Referee fitness in the modern game, with Craig Joubert

England host the Wallabies at Twickenham tomorrow with man in the middle Craig Joubert taking charge of proceedings. While the scrum will be a big focus, it’s Joubert’s general fitness around the park that might determine what kind of decisions he makes.

With professionalism came a big change in the way the game was played, watched, and officiated. As with everything in life, change is constant so as technology improves, it’s gradually being applied to rugby to enhance the game for all involved.

We’ve now got pundits chatting about the game at halftime with iPad’s in hand, experiments with matches being filmed in 3D, and the ability to interact directly with players through that buzz word everyone loves, social media.

Referees, often the most scrutinised men on the field come the final whistle, are also pushing the limits of their trade as they’re now being required to reach and maintain stringent fitness levels.

Joubert, who took control of the Super 14 and Currie Cup finals recently, is an IRB panel referee and as such needs to be in peak condition to maintain his standing as one of the best in the game. He chatted to Total Rugby recently to show off his new device that monitors every aspect of his training and matchday performances.

Gone are the days when Test referees are overweight, experienced men who doddle along in the hope of keeping up with play. The top professional refs are now younger, fitter, and more in tune with the game than ever before, thanks in part to the equipment they now have access to.

It’s perhaps ironic though that as this type of technology develops and improves, we the fans are also getting closer to the action with big screens in the stadiums, fantastic TV and online coverage, and replays of every single controversial decision.

At the end of the day, referees will always take a lot of flak because of that, but being the fittest they can be certainly puts them in the best possible position to make sure those 50-50 calls go the right way.

Time: 04:26


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Australia come from behind to beat Leicester Tigers in midweek clash

On Tuesday night Australia’s second-stringers played Leicester Tigers at Welford Road as the English side hoped to grab another big scalp to add to their already impressive list. Australia came from behind though, taking 26-15 victory.

Speedster Lachie Turner scored early in the game before Leicester’s Billy Tweletrees kicked them back into the game with five successful penalties. The tourists stuck at it though and thanks to the boot of Berrick Barners, and a late try from Scott Higginbotham, they managed to avoid a repeat of what the Tigers did to South Africa last year.

"We are delighted with the win," said coach Robbie Deans. "This is the nearest our young side can get to a Test match. You can't replicate this on the training ground. Seven of our guys put on the jersey for the first time," he added.

Richard Cockerill was naturally disappointed that his Leicester side couldn’t hang onto the lead they earned early in the second half.

"It was a fierce contest, we gave them an early lead but we got right back in it. The momentum was with us, we were 15-13 up and we should have closed the game out and in the end the scoreline was too heavily in their favour," the former England hooker said.

Loose forward Higginbotham scored a controversial late try that made the scoreline look more comfortable than it probably was for the Aussies. The Wallabies will face England at Twickenham this weekend though with added confidence within the squad.

'Headbutts, forearms, cameos, and Sonny Bill keep rugby fans glued to their TVs' - Rugbydump's guest blog on the Telegraph

Please check out RD's latest blog on the Telegraph website. It includes some thoughts about the passed weekend's goings on, as well as a few links to the best recent videos here on Rugbydump. Read more here


Connacht pick up famous win over Samoa in Galway

Irish side Connacht pulled off a massive upset on Tuesday night as they beat the touring Samoa 26-22 at the Sports Ground in Galway. The game was a warmup for Samoa ahead of their meeting with Ireland in Dublin this weekend.

A late try from John Muldoon, who was released from Ireland duty earlier, proved the difference between the two sides as Samoa, who had two players yellow carded, failed to capitalise on their early lead.

Neither side had their full strength team, although the Samoans did have more than a few familiar faces from the IRB Sevens circuit. Experience wasn’t there though and while they were positioned to take control of the game at one stage, they failed as Connact recorded a famous midweek win.

"It was an opportunity for the younger lads to get game time and to give them credit they were up against a powerful team tonight. I thought the character they showed and the desire to play rugby was fantastic. It is a nice headache for us to have. We rotate our squad very little and these guys stood up to the plate and showed what they can do," said coach Eric Elwood.

Young Eoin Griffin was outstanding on the night, picking up the Man of the Match award and making a name for himself with a standout all round performance, as well as a cheeky through the legs pass.

"I honestly don’t know what I was thinking but it came off and thank God. Hopefully, I put my hand forward tonight so I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks," Griffin said.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Kurtley Beale greatest try that never was

There’s been a fair share of negativity on here in the past couple of days due to some dirty play, so lets take a look at something good from the weekend as Kurtley Beale produced a moment of sheer genius against the Welsh. The Wallaby fullback didn’t complete the job, but it's remarkable that he even got close.

Beale has come into his own of late. Still only 21, it feels as though he’s been around for a very long time. He started his Super Rugby career with plenty of promise but failed to cement a regular, dominant position for himself at international level.

For the Waratahs he was thrown in at number ten at a young age and while it was clear he had incredible talent, something just wasn’t right. This season however, he’s found his feet at fullback for both the ‘Tahs and the Wallabies, thriving in the position.

He admitted he’s made a few lifestyle changes and now, thanks to his improved fitness and confidence, is the quickest in the Australian squad – along with flyer Rod Davies – and has managed to live up to that promise he showed at such an early age.

Of late there has been a few key moments for himself and his team. Against South Africa in the Tri Nations he kicked that sensational penalty from 50 out to win the game in Bloemfontein. Against the All Blacks in Hong Kong he was the one who beat two defenders as he returned the missed touch finder from Stephen Donald. Then against Wales this past weekend, he put in a fantastic Man of the Match performance.

The man is on fire, and its having a great effect on the others in the Wallaby squad. "It's infectious, any sort of positive vibe's infectious," said fellow back Drew Mitchell.

"I think he really found his feet at full-back towards the back end of the year with the Waratahs. With that came a lot of confidence and you can see it with the way he's playing now. He's playing with a lot of confidence and very instinctively but you love that. Everyone around him thrives off his enthusiasm," he added.

This moment of sheer brilliance against Wales was a fine example of what he’s capable of, and how important it is that players are given the freedom to back and express themselves.

"I turned to Quade during the Welsh Test.. the try that almost happened with Kurtley. You could only look at one another and laugh at how he came up with even just getting himself in the position to potentially come up with a try like that," Mitchell said.

"The boys have had a couple of little goes at him about why he didn't score the try and he's not too happy with himself because it probably would have gone down as one of the best ever."

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Dylan Hartley's forearm drop on Richie McCaw

While Keven Mealamu heads to a disciplinary hearing tonight for his headbutt, England’s Dylan Hartley got off scot-free for a dangerous challenge on New Zealand captain Richie McCaw. Both incidents occurred during the Twickenham game between the two sides on Saturday which the All Blacks won 26-16.

It’s a bit strange that the one was cited and not the other, as Hartley’s shot was clearly away from the ball and looked fairly malicious. How he escaped punishment, only the citing commission knows, although they apparently did take note of the incident.

It was hinted that the retaliation after the forearm drop, mainly from Brad Thorn after the whistle, might be the reason for it being cancelled out.

All Black assistant coach Wayne Smith has said that they are frustrated with the Hartley incident not being picked up. "Yeah, I was disappointed. From what I saw, it warranted it. I don't have any comment on that, other than as I was looking at it at the time I thought 'that will be interesting'," he commented.

Mealamu was cited for breaching Law 10.4 (a) for striking an opponent with the first or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knees. It could be argued that what Hartley did should fit into that category.

The ref missed the actual shot, and although McCaw told him what happened, he did well to calm the situation down at the time. For his sake alone, you would have thought that the citing procedure would take care of the rest.

If you're into sports betting, England host Australia this weekend while New Zealand head up to Murrayfield to play Scotland.

Time: 02:44


Monday, November 08, 2010

Keven Mealamu's headbutt on Lewis Moody at Twickenham

All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu will face a IRB judicial hearing in Glasgow tomorrow after he was cited for headbutting England’s Lewis Moody at Twickenham on Saturday. If found guilty of striking with the head, it will no doubt be the end of Mealamu’s tour.

While it wasn’t clear at first view, telelvision replays surfaced randomly a full five minutes after the incident took place as Moody looked groggy and appeared to be worse for wear from ‘something’. What the replays revealed were Mealamu holding onto the England flanks jersey, then driving into the back of his head with his own.

Citing commissioner John West of the IRB charged the New Zealand hooker with ‘striking with the head’ on Sunday, leading to a possible suspension that would see him out of the game for at least a month if found guilty.

All Blacks coach Graham Henry has come out in defense of Mealamu, saying he’s one of the cleanest players in the world. British & Irish Lions fans may well disagree with that after an incident involving Brian O’Driscoll in 2005 that still gets brought up on regular occasion.

Moody has since been suffering from ‘general soreness’ so England have brought in Tom Wood as cover ahead of their meeting with Australia this coming Saturday.

Bakkies Botha was handed a nine week ban for his headbutt on Jimmy Cowan in the Tri Nations, which doesn’t bode well for Mealamu as this appeared to be fairly similar.

An interesting aspect of this incident is the way that the commentators from the two countries had such different reactions. The English commentators naturally expressed what they saw, while there was deathly silence in the New Zealand commentary box.

Grant Nisbett in particular was one of the most outspoken during the Botha incident. "Not the smartest thing to do.. a headbutt into the back of the head," he said at the time. There was also a bit of talk back then about replays being shown over and over. It looks like the Sky Sports producers have taken a leaf out of their NZ colleagues’ book.

For interest’s sake, this video features both versions as it's probably quite amusing to some of you. Regarding the suspension though, is this as clear cut as the Botha headbutt, or could there be some kind of other explanation for what Mealamu was doing?

UPDATE: Mealamu was suspended for 4 weeks, reduced to 2 following an appeal.

Time: 01:53


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