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Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams


Top14 player imposter!


JDV smashed by Benoit August


The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!


Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont


All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard


Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try


Wales vs England 1999


Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw



Monday, May 31, 2010

Clermont basking in glory after beating Perpignan to win the Top 14

Clermont Auvergne supporters have been celebrating their famous win since the final whistle blew on Saturday night as they won the Top 14 title on their 11th attempt when they beat Perpignan 19-6 at the Stade de France.

Known as perennial chokers, Clermont finally came good on all their promise as a repeat of last seasons final ended the other way around, with the club from central France repaying the faith of their supporters eventually.

Clermont’s kiwi coach Vern Cotter was visibly emotional at fulltime as his side finally got it right. "A good night! The players deserve that," he said afterwards.

Captain Aurelien Rougerie, who got stuck in all game, said they were extremely happy with themselves after all the hard work that has gone into the campaign.

"This squad really has a soul, a character. I'm very happy for us, this squad and obviously all the people who waited so long for this."

The only try on the night was scored by powerful winger Napolioni Nalaga, in somewhat of a different fashion to what we’re used to seeing from him. He hasn’t had things go all his way on the wing of late though, so his effort from close to the line showed his value around the park.

Morgan Parra kicked the conversion, as well as three penalties, while Anthony Floch slotted a neatly taken dropgoal. Things may have been different if Perpignan fullback Jerome Porical had kicked better, but he missed four of his shots at goal.

This video shows the try, as well as one or two other moments from the game.


Time: 06:38


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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ospreys beat Leinster to win the Magners League Grand Final

Ospreys became the only side to ever win three Celtic League titles as they beat Leinster 17-12 in the inaugural Grand Final of the Magners League at the RDS on Saturday. First half tries by Tommy Bowe and Lee Byrne proved the difference between the two sides.

The home side managed four penalties from Jonathan Sexton, but it was ultimately a frustrating day for them and a disappointing send off for coach Michael Cheika.

"We're just disappointed that we didn't play well enough in a final," Cheika said. "That's the key thing. We had enough opportunities to build pressure on the opposition but we didn't take them. When we eased off they took advantage and took their chances. There's no excuses. Two teams went out there; the Ospreys played better than us and they deserved to win," he added.

Both tries for Ospreys were well constructed and finished as the outside backs showed their class. Leinster mustered a bit of a comeback in the second half, but were held off by the experienced Welsh region who held on for the well deserved win.

"As somebody who has been to every single Ospreys game, it's pretty much up there I can tell you - it's a special night," said coach Sean Holley. "I wouldn't say it was our best performance, but certainly one of our most courageous and determined."

"We went out to try and win it, we went out to score tries and we did that. There aren't too many teams who can come here and score tries against Leinster. To score two in the first half, it just gave us a little bit more belief that we could try and push on and win it.

"We tried to lose it in the second half, by giving away some penalties, but our defensive effort in the end was outstanding," Holley added.

This clip is of the tries from the match. The new format of having playoffs and a final seems to have been a success. Do you prefer it this way, or like things the way they were before?


Time: 04:38


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The Bulls beat the Stormers to win back to back Super 14 titles

The Bulls won their second consecutive Super 14 title on Saturday as they beat the Stormers 25-17 in front of 40 000 fans in Soweto. For those who missed it, or want to relive to it, here's a highlights clip for you.

Morne Steyn, who kicked 19 points in last years final, kicked 20 this time around, as he once again played a vital role in a Bulls victory. Wing Francois Hougaard scored the only try of the match as Fourie Du Preez put him into a gap and he rounded Stormers fullback Joe Pietersen with relative ease.

The Stormers crossed twice, thanks to former Bull Bryan Habana and replacement scrumhalf Ricky Januarie, but the collective experience and composure of the Bulls made the difference in the end.

"I must make a special mention of Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez," coach Frans Ludeke said. "Those two players, for Bulls rugby, they're really special guys. Their rugby intelligence and the way they lead from the front is amazing. It's great to have them there and hopefully we can keep them for many years."

"The start we had was really important. Obviously those high balls worked nicely in the beginning. There were some turnovers and the guys capitalised on that. The second half Bryan almost turned the game on its head, but the guys kept their cool and in the end we won."

Stormers skipper Schalk Burger was visibly distraught afterwards, but admitted that the best side on the day had won.

"They're a champion side so all credit to them. We couldn't get any momentum going and struggled. We're obviously disappointed for losing out in a final, but it's a big improvement for us this season. Hopefully we can build on it for the next couple of years," Burger said.

As you know, it was a very busy day of rugby yesterday. Please be patient as clips from all the other big matches will follow soon. There's plenty to talk about too, so visit the forum to catch up on latest news and express your views on the best games of the weekend.

Time: 05:03


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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rugby Finals Day Results update

It's finals day around the world as domestic competitions come to an end with a few massive match ups taking place. All games have now finished, so here's the results.

Bulls vs Stormers - Super 14 Final
The Bulls beat the Stormers 25-17 earlier at Orlando Stadium to win their second consecutive final, and third Super 14 title overall. Morne Steyn and Fourie Du Preez controlled matters once again, with Steyn kicking 20 points to add to Man of the Match Francois Hougaard's excellent try.

The Stormers, playing in their first ever Super Rugby final, scored through Bryan Habana and a late consolation try from Ricky Januarie, but the Bulls looked in control throughout as they went on to win back-to-back titles.

Leicester Tigers vs Saracens - Guinness Premiership Final
The Tigers also retained their title as they beat Saracens 33-27 in what was a pulsating game of rugby. A late try to Dan Hipkiss proved the difference after Saracens flyhalf Glen Jackson had kicked what looked to be the winning penalty with only a few minutes left.

"It was a fantastic game, real last-minute stuff," Hipkiss said. "We are never quite done, there's always a bit more to go. In a final it means a massive amount and credit to the boys for sticking in there," he added.

Treviso vs Viadana - Italian Super 10 Final
Benetton Treviso beat Viadana 16-12 in the final of the Italian Super 10 championship earlier today. Treviso won their eighth consecutive final, and their fifteenth in total.

The match coincided as the farewell from the Italian championship for both sides, as next year they will play in the Magners/Celtic League.

Leinster vs Ospreys - Magners League Grand Final
Ospreys won the Magners League earlier tonight with a 17-12 win away from home at the RDS. The Welsh region became the first team to win the league for the third time. First half tries to Tommy Bowe and Lee Byrne sent them into a commanding lead in the inaugural playoff final of the tournament.

Leinster came up with four penalties from Jonathan Sexton, but that was not enough as Ospreys' Dan Biggar converted the two tries and added a penalty, completing their clean sweep of away wins over Irish sides this season.

Perpignan vs Clermont - Top 14 Final
Clermont waited a long time to achieve their first Top 14 title, with ten defeats in as many games in recent times, but they came up trumps against Perpignan earlier tonight, taking the French championship 19-6 at the Stade de France.

"Bloody hell, it was time. We worked so hard," said Clermont number eight Elvis Vermeulen.

"It was three years of sheer frustration but every year we tried to come back stronger. Full credit to the players. We are going to have a good night," said coach Vern Cotter.

Full natch reports and highlights will follow over the next few days. If there were any incidents in particular you'd like featured, please post them in the requests section.


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Friday, May 28, 2010

Quick fire questions with Jonny Wilkinson

There was an injury scare for England and Jonny Wilkinson last weekend when Toulon played Cardiff Blues in the Challenge Cup final. Wilkinson picked up a back strain, but he’s since been passed fit and will be fully recovered for England’s tour of Australia. Here are a few quick fire questions with the man himself.

Wilkinson was in doubt for the tour after he picked up the injury while making a jinking run in Marseilles, sparking fears that he would miss the important tour down under.

A scan revealed that he had not suffered what was thought to be a broken rib, but in fact only has a bruised back so will make the tour to Australia and New Zealand. He has been ruled out of contact for two weeks though, so will miss England’s game this weekend, against the Barbarians, as well as their fixture against the Australian Barbarians.

"Jonny Wilkinson has been reviewed by his club medical team and an x-ray has shown there is no break to his rib but there is soft tissue damage," the England Rugby Football Union stated.

"He will meet up with the England squad on Saturday as scheduled after receiving further treatment from his club. He will then be assessed and reviewed by the England medical team before agreeing a course of treatment and rehabilitation."

Captain Lewis Moody said: "Jonny is one of those guys who plays through most injuries and knocks and battles on."

Wilkinson, who is a Gillette Ambassador, took time out to answer these amusing quick fire questions recently. He reveals his cooking secrets, would like Macaulay Culkin to play him in a movie, and confesses to a love of American Football.


Time: 03:34


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Bulls vs Stormers Super 14 final preview

The Bulls and the Stormers of South Africa meet tomorrow in what is the first ever Super 14 rugby final to be held in the black township of Soweto, a highly significant moment for the country. It’s not only an achievement to have both sides in the final, but politically it’s a massive step forward.

The match being held in Orlando Stadium has been hailed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as 'the most important development in South African rugby since the World Cup in 1995.'

The sport has once again proved to be a nation-builder, as fans of all races converge on the streets around the stadium to celebrate rugby as one, and watch what should be a titanic battle as the traditional powerhouses of SA rugby go head to head.

The match is being held three, as was the semi final, because the Bulls’ homeground in Pretoria is under going final preparations ahead of the FIFA World Cup.

"It is one of those special South African moments that proves we are better off for having one another, and that despite the challenges we face, our society is on the right track," said Nobel Peace Prize winner Tutu in a statement.

The Stormers will be playing in their first Super Rugby final, while the Bulls, defending champions, will be looking to pick up their third trophy in four years.

"If you win the battle there, you will be remembered for a long time. We have to embrace this opportunity to play in Soweto and be part of this bit of history in our country," said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.

"Soweto has been perceived as a soccer-playing community, so it's not rocket science why there is such excitement. It shows how far our country has moved along," he added.

The 40 000 seater stadium, considered not big enough to host FIFA World Cup matches, was sold out earlier in the week. It’s set to be a massive physical battle with Springbok kingpins going up against each other ahead of the international season.


Time: 03:23
Credit: Thanks to Supersport


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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Japan beat Hong Kong to win the Asian 5N and qualify for the RWC 2011

Japan qualified for the 2011 Rugby World Cup on the weekend after they well and truly thrashed Hong Kong 94-5 to win their third consecutive Asian Five Nations tournament.

They scored 14 tries as they ran riot on their way to the massive win, which sets them up for their seventh consecutive World Cup appearance, in New Zealand next year.

While the game in Japan already has a large following, this win and the qualification for the showpiece of the modern game will provide a further boost to the profile of the sport in the country, and "represents the achievement of a very strategic goal", said the Japan Rugby Football Union chairman.

Coached by legendary All Black wing John Kirwan, Japan are on the up and realising their potential as they bring in new players and fans with their success. "We have achieved our first goal this year which was to qualify for the World Cup," said Kirwan.

"The players have worked very hard and that was our best performance in the competition so far. But there is a long way to go."

They will play in a tough group next year, Pool A, where they will face France, Canada, Tonga, and hosts New Zealand.

"We've got two easy games to start so I am not worried about those," Kirwan joked of the clashes with the All Blacks and France. "Canada and Tonga are at the same level and if we can win these two games we automatically qualify for 2015, so realistically we go out and have a go.

"It's important we keep growing. I want to show the world how much we have improved and I hope we have the courage to play our style of rugby. I have never taken the field to lose a game and won't in New Zealand and I am sure the players feel the same,” he added.

Kirwan has ambitious goals for Japan in that he plans to lead them to the top 10 in world rugby next year, the top eight by 2015, and to win the title when they host it in 2019.

There’s no doubt they know how to score tries. Wing Alisi Tupuialei got a hat-trick before the 45-0 halftime score. Enjoy the highlights.

Japan are ranked 13th in the world currently. Are Kirwan’s goals realistic at this stage?

Time: 03:39


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

London Sevens highlights of the final between Australia and South Africa

On Monday I posted a video from the London Sevens that was made by the IRB featuring seven of the best tries from the tournament. Today we’ve got highlights of the final that Australia won when they beat South Africa 19-14.

While Sevens clearly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, based on some of the comments on here sometimes, there’s a large majority out there who see the value in what it can do for both a player’s development, and of course enjoy the fun side of things with tries aplenty and a great party atmosphere in the crowd.

The London Sevens brought both those elements as there were thousands who attended Twickenham over the course of the weekend, many of which were dressed in fancy-dress.

On the field though, it was war as South Africa, who beat hosts England in the quarter-finals, looked to triumph in the finals after what has been an indifferent year for them. They beat Samoa in the semis, after Australia themselves had beaten Argentina.

As you’ll see here, the final went back and forth with it coming right down to the last minute, when an incredible try saving tackle was made by Australian captain James Stannard on Cecil Afrika.

Samoa are currently series leaders, with New Zealand not far behind. It’ll all come down to the final leg in Edinburgh next weekend. If you’re able to, make sure you get out there to support not only your team, but some fantastic rugby and a great party.


Time: 04:53


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Midweek Madness - Prop Brok Harris clears his line

The Stormers have surprised everyone this season by reaching the finals of the Super 14 with a brand of rugby that involves serious attention to detail on defence, and a fifteen man game when on attack. This is a short clip that exemplifies the latter approach.

They face the Bulls in the final on Saturday in Soweto, having named an unchanged side from the one that beat the Waratahs in the semifinal in Cape Town a few days ago.

Packing down in the front row will be Brok Harris, who at times this season has shown that he’s more than just an ox who does the hard work up front come the set pieces.

That’s been a trademark of the Stormers’ play this year, in that they’ve scored tries from all over the park with numbers one to fifteen getting involved to the point that we’ve seen props give scoring passes, and loose forwards combine out wide as if they’re midfield veterans.

There’s even been a 6ft10 giant galloping around as though he’s a wing, such is the confidence in the side. They’ll be truly tested against the Bulls though, playing them away from home in what will probably be a far tighter contest.

This short clip from earlier in the season is a pretty funny example of just how much confidence the players have out there on the park, and how the game has changed over the years.

Whether he’s been secretly practising at training or it’s natural ability, prop Brok Harris shows us that it’s not only backs who can impress with the boot when called upon.

Time: 0:50


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cardiff Blues beat Toulon to win the Amlin Challenge Cup

Cardiff Blues became the first Welsh side to lift a European title as they beat French side Toulon 28-21 to win the Amlin Challenge Cup at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome on Sunday.

It was Toulon who started off the better side though, with midfield maestro Sonny Bill Williams weaving his magic and crossing for the first try of the match, taking the home side to a 13-6 lead.

The Blues mounted a strong second half comeback as Toulon seemed to struggle to deal with the loss of flyhalf Jonny Wilkinson to what looked like a back injury.

Speared by talisman Xavier Rush, Cardiff worked hard for their tries as they worked their way down field then finished well from close range. Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny, and Bradley Davies all scored as they silenced the partisan home crowd.

The Blues’ victory is not only a great achievement for them, but it means that fellow Welsh side the Scarlets are now guaranteed Heineken Cup qualification.

Toulon were left contemplating what could have been as they missed out so narrowly on two major trophies in the last few weeks. The loss of Wilkinson certainly hampered their cause, and the question now remains if he will be available for England selection.

He will receive an x-ray tomorrow for what he suspects is just a back strain that he picked up when making a jinking run, not when taking contact.

"Things will be much clearer after the scan and x-ray. If it is a muscle strain, he should be fine to tour with England. If it is a cracked rib, the chances are it would rule him out but at the moment it is all speculation," said Toulon team manager Tom Whitford.

The Sonny Bill Williams hit is now included as a separate, short video for those who don't want to watch the whole highlights package. It's the second one here.


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Monday, May 24, 2010

Seven of the best tries from the London Sevens

The penultimate leg of the IRB Sevens World Series took place in the Twickenham sunshine this past weekend as the London Sevens dished up it’s usual razzle dazzle and a bucket load of tries. Here’s seven of the best, as chosen by the IRB.

Australia won their first title since 2002 as they edged out South Africa 19-14 in the final, turning around a seven point deficit in the process. Captain James Stannard scored a try and kicked two conversions.

Highlights of the final will be up here on RD within the next few days if all goes well, but for now there’s this clip that the IRB have thrown together featuring seven of the best, or most interesting, tries of the weekend.

There’s some quality on show with neat passing and gas-men doing their thing out wide. Tries from France, Fiji, Kenya, South Africa, and Australia are on show but the try from Albert Valentin will go down as possibly the most unique finish.

Take a look for yourself, but I can tell you that he puts Breyton Paulse’s flick flacks in the shade as he’s found a new way to give his coach a heart-attack over the tryline.


_____________________________________________________________________________
This post was sponsored by: viagogo
The Barbarians play England this coming weekend, then play Ireland a week later. They'll also take on South Africa in December, so get your tickets now to avoid disappointment. As always, use the discount code VGGDUMP5 when purchasing. Get your Barbarians tickets now


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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Toulouse beat Biarritz to win the Heineken Cup Final

Toulouse won an unprecedented fourth European Cup trophy as they beat French rivals Biarritz 21-19 at the Stade de France yesterday. Biarritz came close late in the game with a try through league convert Karmichael Hunt, but two drop goals and three penalties from David Skrela, along with a penalty and drop from Florian Fritz, proved the difference in the end.

The highly experienced Toulouse held on for a tense finish after Biarritz had squandered an early 9-3 lead that they probably should have built on. The win is the first for Toulouse since 2005, but their fourth in total.

Biarritz back and England international Ian Balshaw said the best team on the day won.

"I'm gutted to come that close and lose by two points. But for 60 minutes Toulouse dominated the game. We were flat, we weren't combative and we lacked dynamism. Over the 80 minutes the best team won," he said.

"We had a bit of life in us in the last 20 minutes but we were just flat. I'm disappointed for the lads and the fans who travelled up. We were just off the boil and you can't afford to be off the boil against a team like Toulouse," Balshaw added.

Former All Black Byron Kelleher, who has played for Toulouse since signing after the 2007 World Cup, was thrilled with the win. "Year after year, this competition gets tougher," said now 34 year old Kelleher.

"We're just ecstatic to come out as European champions because it really is a challenge. It's been a long, old season but a satisfactory one today."

For Karmichael Hunt, who scored the only try of the day, his stint with Biarritz and Rugby Union is now over. The League convert will now take on another massive challenge as he heads back to Australia to take up an AFL contract on the Gold Coast.

He will be the first professional player to play all three codes, a feat that has even the 23 year old himself a little bemused.

"It is a week away from when I land in Australia and meet my new team-mates and get used to a whole other game. It is all a bit too much to fathom at the moment. But my time at Biarritz has been special.

"It is a crazy adventure but one that I am happy to be on," he added.


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Stormers outplay the Waratahs to reach the Super 14 final

The Stormers beat the Waratahs 25-6 in Cape Town in the second semifinal of the Super 14 yesterday. Centre Juan de Jongh scored the only try of the match, with flyhalf Peter Grant kicking six penalties and a conversion.

The two best defensive sides in the competition went head to head at Newlands, but it was the Stormers who reached their first ever Super 14 final and will face the Bulls in Orlando next weekend.

De Jongh, who has been included in the Springbok side to face Wales on the 5th June, scored his first ever Super 14 try as he stepped Kurtley Beale and wing Drew Mitchell on his way to the tryline.

The Stormers didn’t concede a point for the last 55 minutes, adding to their impressive defensive display throughout the tournament.

"It was typical semifinal rugby," Stormers captain Schalk Burger said. "It was pretty tough to get stuff going but at the end of the day we won it and that's all that matters."

Coach Allister Coetzee said he was relieved afterwards.

"The players had to grind this one out and that's what they did. That's how you win playoff matches. Our defence put them under pressure and kept winning penalties and it shows at the end on the scoreboard," he said.

"This is the side the media mocked in the past as a side that flatter to deceive and are a great team on paper. But this team has matured and we're happy that we have become part of history.

"But we have work to do next week and we respect the Bulls. They are the best team in the southern hemisphere and we are excited to have this opportunity," he added.

The South African derby, the first final of its kind since 2007, will be a bruising encounter next weekend. The Bulls might have the edge at home, but expect plenty Stormers fans to travel up for the big match.


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Bulls beat the Crusaders to head in the Super 14 final

The defending champion Bulls will host the final of the Super 14 after they beat the Crusaders 39-24 in the first semifinal at the Orlando Stadium yesterday. They will host the Stormers, who won the other semi, at the same venue next weekend.

Fourie Du Preez once again showed why he’s widely regarded as the premier scrumhalf in world rugby as, along with flyhalf Morne Steyn, he steered his side into the final with another great display as the Bulls kept up their run of 19 undefeated games at home.

Steyn himself scored 24 points, reaching and breaking Dan Carters 2006 record for the most points in a Super 14 season, 221. Steyn kicked nine penalties and three conversions, with tries scored by Fourie Du Preez, Pierre Spies, and Zane Kirchner.

Despite having to travel to South Africa for the second time in three weeks, Crusaders captain Richie McCaw refused to blame fatigue or travel for the loss.

"We've got no excuses with the travel. We were ready to go and we came up short," he said graciously. "It was just about little mistakes that we just couldn't afford to make," he said. "Their up and unders that we just needed to take, little things like that - and straight away they put us on the back foot. You start playing catch-up and they just punish you for it."

Bulls captain Victor Matfield said that despite playing away from 'fort' Loftus, he was happy to be part of the special occasion in Soweto, and was hoping to see the crowd out again next weekend for the final.

"I've played 100 games for the Bulls and this is one of the best experiences I've ever had," Matfield said. "Everyone's going to be back here next week and it's going to be huge."

There was a lot of talk last week about the Bulls resting players for their last round-robin game, but it proved a masterstroke as they looked fresh against the Crusaders.

"It's going to be a great final next week, but credit to all the guys for making our third final in four years," Man of the Match Du Preez said.

"There's been a lot of talk about our rest last week. But it's a tough competition. I think the rest helped us perform today," he added.


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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Super Saturday - Results update

There were three massive games earlier today as it was an action packed day of sport around the world. In the Super 14 we had the two Semi finals in South Africa, while the final of the Heineken Cup took place at Stade de France in Paris.

Bulls vs Crusaders - Super 14 1st Semi final
It was a repeat of last years semi final as the Bulls once again beat the Crusaders to progress to the final. A packed Orlando Stadium hosted a high profile rugby match for the first time ever in what was a great occasion for not only Soweto, but the country on a whole.

Morne Steyn kicked 24 points while tries were scored by Pierre Spies, Zane Kirchner, and Fourie Du Preez as the Bulls took the match 39-24, and will host the final next weekend.

Biarritz vs Toulouse - Heineken Cup Final
Toulouse were crowned champions of Europe once again as they beat Biarritz 21-19 in front of a packed Stade de France in Paris earlier this evening. This win is their fourth in the fifteen year history of the tournament, the best record to date.

David Skrela and Florian Fritz scored the points for Toulouse as the Skrela kicked two drops and three penalties, while Fritz slotted one drop and a long range penalty. Biarritz managed a late try through Karmichael Hunt, but it wasn't enough as Toulouse powered on to victory.

Stormers vs Waratahs - Super 14 2nd Semi Final
The Stormers will face the Bulls in the final of the Super 14 after they beat the Waratahs 25-6 in what was a comfortable win despite it being a physically bruising contest. Peter Grant kicked 20 points while centre Juan de Jongh scored a stunning individual try.

The final will be the first ever for the Stormers, and is set to be am uphill challenge as they'll be away from home, facing the defending champions Bulls in what will be a fiercely contested all South African derby.

Springbok team to face Wales on 5th June
Following the matches, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers named his team to face Wales at the Millennium Stadium next month. As expected, De Villiers has chosen a contingent of overseas based players, with recalls for Butch James of Bath, and Joe Van Niekerk of Toulon. Both last played for their country in 2008.

Frans Steyn (Racing Metro); Gio Aplon (Stormers), Jean de Villiers (Munster), Butch James (Bath), Odwa Ndungane (Sharks); Ruan Pienaar (Sharks), Ricky Januarie (Stormers), CJ van der Linde (Leinster), John Smit (Sharks), BJ Botha (Ulster), Danie Rossouw (Bulls), Andries Bekker (Stormers), Francois Louw (Stormers), Dewald Potgieter (Bulls), Joe van Niekerk (Toulon)
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle (Bulls), Jannie du Plessis (Sharks), Alistair Hargreaves (Sharks), Ryan Kankowski (Sharks), Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs), Juan de Jongh (Stormers), Bjorn Basson (Cheetahs)


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School of Hard Knocks 2010 - Episode 6 - The Final episode

Today is the final of the Heineken Cup, as well as the semi finals in the Super 14. To stay with that theme in mind, here's the much anticipated final episode of the School of Hard Knocks.

It's been eight long weeks for the group of East London youths who for the most part, hadn’t graced a rugby field until very recently. They’ve learnt a lot along the way, not only about rugby, but about themselves and where they want to be in life.

Not everyone made it to this final hurdle, but for those who stuck around through the process, the big day has come as they face up to the big match that they’ve been working towards this whole time.

While the final match has been the main goal rugby-wise, that’s not the sole purpose of the exercise. Transforming lives and setting these guys on a path that they can be proud of is pretty much what it’s all about.

Since the show, we’re pleased to announce that many of the players who took part have now found themselves full time employment, and are also continuing to play rugby. Most of them now play for East London rugby club, Eaton Manor, or Barking.

Lucky, the big guy who was picked out by Will in episode 5 for not going into the tackle hard enough, is in training for the Sharks academy at the moment.

All in all, it’s been a fascinating show and a success for all those involved. If you’d like to read more about other projects from the guys at Rugby Performance, you can do so here. You can also now access all the episodes from the archive page over here.

Feedback on the show is welcome. What was your best moment in the series, and what did you think of the whole process in general?



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Friday, May 21, 2010

Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 14

So we’ve watched fourteen rounds of the Super 14 and the top four have been decided after yet another intense week of rugby down south. We’ve got a great selection of tries for you today, so take a look at the Pick of the Week ahead of the semi finals tomorrow.

The Bulls, who fielded a below par side in order to rest some players, got hammered by the Stormers in Cape Town who were playing for a home semi final spot.

The Stormers actually set a few records this season, as they are the side that conceded the lowest amount of points for a season, as well as the least number of tries, 17. Nobody managed a four-try bonus point against them either, and the Blues were the only team to cross three times, despite the Stormers winning that game.

They will host the Waratahs tomorrow, a side who’ve actually won and lost the same amount of games as the Stormers, as well as scored 20 more points than them. They’ve conceded more though, with the Stormers having a better points difference. By all means they’re an evenly matched side, so it should be a great game.

The Bulls, sitting pretty on the top of the table, will host the Crusaders in Soweto, a field foreign to them, but they’ll no doubt have the fans from Pretoria out in full force. The Crusaders have a disadvantage when it comes to travel, as they left South Africa not too long ago, but have now had to make the long trip back for the game.

We’re set for a great afternoon of rugby with two intense semi finals. For now though, here’s the best tries from the final round-robin stage of the tournament. They’re all quality tries as usual, but make sure you don’t miss the Quade Cooper flick that everyone’s been talking about. Enjoy.

The Pick of the Week archive is now updated so you can easily access and watch the best tries from each week of the 2010 Super 14. Click the banner on the sidebar, or follow this link now.


Time: 05:14
Music: Doves - Kingdom of Rust


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nick Abendanon wins Guinness Premiership Try of the Season award

The annual Guinness Premiership Awards evening took place in London earlier in the week, with Bath and Nick Abendanon scooping the Try of the Season award for this effort against Leeds a few weeks back.

Bath teammate Olly Barkley picked up the Community Player of the Season award, while in form Northampton Saints wing (no, not Soane Tonga'uiha) Chris Ashton was named Player of the Season.

Proming young Leicester scrumhalf Ben Youngs was given the Discovery of the Season award, with Saracens’ Andy Saull coming second. Andy Key was named as Director of Rugby of the Season for his part in helping Leeds Carnegie up. Jim Mallinder was a narrow second on that one.

You might have seen this try already, perhaps as part of the highlights packages, but it was requested to be shown again and is up for discussion if you think it’s your try of the season, or maybe there were others that were more worthy.

It was a great effort though, with it starting way back and going through the hands of both backs and forwards before Abendanon dazzled with some great running and a stunning dummy on his way to the tryline.

There's been a few unsavoury incidents featured this week, so it's time for the good stuff as we start with this great try, then up next is the Super 14 Pick of the Week. Enjoy.


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The Ross Skeate Diary - So close, yet so far

Following the epic Top 14 semi final against Clermont, Toulon's Ross Skeate gives us a report-back on what it was like to come up second in such an incredibly close game of rugby. The Challenge Cup final against Cardiff Blues is next though.

We've come so far, only to stumble at the final hurdle! What a magic season, only to run out of fairy dust when we needed it most. How close was it, running into extra time and nearly coming away with the victory via Gabi Lovobalvu's try attempt at the death? How amazing would it have been to come from behind fighting a 10-point deficit? How amazing would it be to be preparing for a Top 14 final?

Sadly it was not to be though, and admittedly it was our own errors that let us down on the day. Some people may highlight the refereeing decisions or a few turns of luck that went against us (that freakish drop kick of Brock James comes to mind). But for me it was our own mistakes, our own lack of execution of our first phase that let us down and a few decision-making errors. But mainly our first phase problems.

To win championships, a team needs to have certain facets to their game. Somewhat bland to be sure but extremely important. Winning things like the World Cup for example, needs a completely watertight first phase, backed up by an excellent defence and kicking game. Some of these things are not what we excelled at during our semi clash.

That’s why sides such as the Boks and the Bulls have done so well in recent times, namely because of a powerful pack guaranteeing their backline quality ball on the front foot and the boot of the flyhalves taking control of the game afterwards.

Even the successful 2003 World Cup Winning English team had these very qualities in spades. Often it is the side that plays the least but controls the game the best through their clinical execution that translates into success, even though they do cop a little criticism in the process. If you win though, who honestly cares?

Fighting back to 22-all at fulltime was a huge achievement in the context of the game. Jonny’s penalty to get us there was amazing and just the reason that we signed him. Extra time though was gut-wrenching and we just couldn’t take our chance at the end.

But although it was our own mistakes, it was also our fiery ambition that nearly meant the game was ours despite the mistakes we made. Had we been bested soundly by a better side, I would have more reservations about the experience. Had we been completely out of our depth and been easily beaten by the Clermont side, which has not only been together for a number of years but made it to numerous semi-finals together, I would be scratching my head now.

But happily that was not the case, our mistakes and our failings on the day are the type that can be rectified and polished with enough experience together and enough maturity as a team. And because we are so fresh to each other, these things will follow quicker than I expect.

Certainly we didn't play semi-final rugby, or at least not the type of semi-final rugby that catapults teams into finals. But we did fight tooth and nail for every inch on that field. I think Clermont can count themselves lucky in some ways.

There was a noticeable sigh of relief breathed by all there players after the encounter, but they can also feel that they deserved the victory in the way that they used their experience and attention to details to do what they needed to. At the end of the day they are the ones heading to the final.

I am proud of the season we have put together up until this point but it’s not over yet with the Final of the Challenge Cup this Sunday against the Cardiff Blues.

But what we have achieved as a team after assembling as a unit for our first season, is so encouraging for what lies ahead for this group! The bond that the team shows off the field, meals together and other social high-jinks the norm, is so evident on it. It showed up at every turn as we fought the deficit and tackled and played for one another and glory.

So onwards and upwards and we’ve been given another chance as towards greater things we strive. Every player in our squad is focused on winning this weekend's final, using what lessons we learnt last weekend to our benefit.

After getting that close last week – we’re craving a little silverware on the Var.

See you all soon.
Skeato
_______________________________________________________________________________

Having played for Western Province, the Stormers, the Emerging Springboks, the Barbarians, and Toulon in the Top 14, Ross has gathered a wealth of experience both on and off the pitch. Step inside his world by visiting his excellent website, RossSkeate.com, and following him on Twitter @RossSkeate.


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tomas O'Leary's controversial tackle on Cian Healy

If you missed the big Magners League semi final between Leinster and Munster on the weekend, you probably haven’t yet seen the tackle that divided opinion and put referee Nigel Owen under the spotlight as he dealt with it in rather controversial fashion.

As Leinster charged towards the line, prop Cian Healy looked certain to score but with the tryline beckoning, he was taken high by Munster scrumhalf Tomas O’Leary, knocking him to the floor and dislodging the ball in what proved to be a try saving tackle.

While Healy did lean into it as he was swerving, O’Leary hit him pretty high, riding up and making contact with the face with his shoulder. By all means it looked like it would normally be called a high tackle, particularly based on the way Healy dropped like a sack of spuds.

Referee Owens initially ruled it was just a knock on, but it then got interesting as he decided to refer it to the TMO, justifying it by saying it was ‘in the act of scoring a try’, despite the tackle happening almost five meters out.

As with most decisions in rugby, it comes down to the referee’s interpretation of the laws, but this seemed to be a bit of a stretch perhaps? The TMO said it was too far out anyway, so Owens reverted to a penalty, rather than just making the call for a yellow card or penalty try himself.

Such is the respect that Owens commands, he seemed in complete control of the situation the whole time, and basically just gave O’Leary a talking to and warning.

So while there’s obviously tension between Leinster and Munster fans at the best of times, I thought it would still be interesting to post this and see what the general opinion is regarding the way it was dealt with by the officials. As a bonus the only try of the match, scored by Rob Kearney, is included in this post.


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Saracens edge Northampton Saints in Guinness Premiership semi-final

On Sunday Saracens edged out Northampton Saints 21-19 to reach their first ever Guinness Premiership final after a tense finish at a packed Franklin’s Gardens. If you’ve not seen the highlights yet, here they are.

Schalk Brits, form hooker and one of the players of the season in the premiership, scored a late try that was coolly converted by flyhalf Glen Jackson, giving Saracens the chance to meet Leicester in the final on May 29th, after they beat Bath 15-6.

Jackson had earlier converted tries by Alex Goode and wing Chris Wyles, but the try of the match would probably go to Saints, and Tongan prop Soane Tonga'uiha who charged towards the tryline with time up in the first half.

He ran it in from about 45m out, a run which included a bit of a dummy, a step, and a handoff. Fellow prop Brian Mujait also scored, but it was Saracens who held their nerve to drive over for that late try to Brits.

On a sidenote, Saracens coach Brendan Venter was given a 14 week touchline ban after he was found to have made inappropriate gestures towards a spectator when they played Leicester a few weeks back. That would mean he will have no contact with his side during the final. They have launched an immediate appeal.

"The tribunal found Venter guilty of conduct prejudicial to the image of the game, and imposed a 14-week touchline ban," said Chief executive Ed Griffiths.

"In essence, Brendan stood up to follow play during the match at Leicester because he was given a seat with a restricted view, half a dozen Leicester supporters complained and this has now resulted in a substantial touchline ban, which may keep him away from the team on the day of the Premiership final.

"We will immediately appeal against this decision, and the RFU have indicated the appeal will be heard before the final."

In other related news, Saints wing Chris Ashton received the award for Guinness Premiership Player of the Season last night. Ashton scored 16 tries in 20 games.

"My Dad passed away about two weeks ago," he explained. "It was his funeral yesterday and he helped me get to where I am in rugby and I would just like to say thank you.

"It has been a big year for me. It took me a while to get the hang of this game, coming over from rugby league, and I think I am finally getting the hang of it," he said.

Please note that you can also catch all the Guinness Premiership highlights in the e-player on the sidebar here. This was posted anyway though, as many have requested it to be featured. For tickets to the final, check out the sponsored message below.


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This post was sponsored by: viagogo | Sponsor a postGuinness Premiership Final tickets
They're selling out fast, so get your final tickets with the 5% discount code (VGGDUMP5) when purchasing through ticketing partner viagogo. There's many different packages available.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bakkies Botha suspended for four weeks after dangerous clearout

Bakkies Botha will take no further part in the Bulls’ Super 14 title aspirations as he’s been suspended for four weeks for his dangerous clearout of wing Gio Aplon in the game between the Stormers and the Bulls on Saturday.

A lengthy disciplinary hearing took place both yesterday and today, resulting in the Bulls lock having to spend four weeks on the sideline, after only just returning from an injury layoff.

The incident took place in the opening minute of the game, and while he was penalised for entering the ruck from the side, referee Jonathan Kaplan felt no need to discipline him further at the time, despite warning him about leading with the head.

His charge into the ruck was deemed by citing commissioner Freek Burger, to have been illegal as he dangerously and recklessly entered a ruck without using his arms or grasping onto a player. He was suspended last year for a similar offence against the British & Irish Lions, although many felt it was harsh at the time.

He will miss the semi final against the Crusaders, and a possible final should they get through. He’ll also miss the upcoming Tests against both Wales and France.

Botha was captaining the Bulls for the first time on Saturday, and while the game was expected to be a fiery affair, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that he’d manage to cause damage after just 24 seconds. Aplon played on though, and will be fit for this weekend.


Time: 01:58


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The Reds vs Highlanders brawl from the weekend

The Reds played the Highlanders in the last round of the Super 14 in a dead rubber that turned out to be one of the most enjoyable games of the weekend. It had it all, with the Quade Cooper show once again coming to town, and then this big punch-up that happened after an alleged eye-gouge from Jimmy Cowan.

The season ended on a high for the Reds as they beat the Highlanders 38-36 in what was a great game of rugby that went back and forth in the second half after the Reds had taken the early lead.

They once again had a man sent off the field though, after lock Van Humphries was carded for lashing out which basically started this mass brawl. It’s the eighth time they’ve had a player carded this season, causing concern for coach Ewen McKenzie.

"Why are we doing it more than anybody else? Is it youthful exuberance or stupidity or whatever. Eight yellow cards is 80 minutes of rugby without a player. So we've played one game a player short. And for every card is a try, if not more. Two against the Hurricanes," he said of their season, in which they finished an impressive fifth.

Cowan appeared to rake the face or headgear of Humphries, who retaliated, resulting in almost every player on the field getting involved. Not too many punches landed, but it is surprising (refreshing?) to see players go all out in the modern days of citings and TV analysis. Ironically though, nobody has been cited or suspended since.

"I'm not sure what happened there, we’ll have to have a look at the video," said McKenzie. "Anyone who knows Van Humphries knows he doesn’t come up swinging for no reason. In the end we got a yellow card and it cost us a try against us again.

"We're actually working on an analysis of the yellow cards in the competition, about us and how they fit in and what impact they have on the game because in a Super rugby match they are almost guaranteed tries for the opposition," he added.

Last week we featured a clip of Nathan White punching Al Baxter, with referee Steve Walsh taking no action. Walsh was once again involved in this incident, but he handled it well and simply sent off the guy who, in his view, threw the first punch. It’s got to be said that Walsh had a better game overall too, demanding far less TV time than usual.

If there’s time this week, I’ll try get a video up of the match highlights as there was plenty to be enjoyed in a ding dong battle that dished up an adequate helping of great tries.


Time: 02:51


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Monday, May 17, 2010

Jamie Heaslip flattens Ronan O'Gara in Magners League semi

Leinster defeated Munster in the Magners League semi final in what was yet another great match this past weekend. It was a typical all-Irish derby with plenty of passion and ferocity, and was a tightly fought affair but was separated by some good kicking, and a nice try to Rob Kearney.

There were a fair few talking points, but one of the most enjoyable moments for the Leinster fans, and most probably neutrals, was when Ronan O’Gara got absolutely smashed by powerful number eight Jamie Heaslip.

Heaslip had such a strong game that he was actually named Man of the Match, once again adding to his growing reputation as one of the best in his position in the world.

O’Gara on the other hand, his Ireland teammate that he smashed here, was recently named Europe’s beat player for the past 15 years of European rugby competition.

He claimed the award for ERC European Player Award after a panel of former players chose him. Those players included Sir Ian McGeechan, ex-internationals Lawrence Dallaglio, Ieuan Evans, Fabien Galthie, Donal Lenihan, Michael Lynagh and Stuart Barnes.

Whether O’Gara would be your choice or not, there’s no debating the fact that he got well and truly smashed by Heaslip. There was another big incident and that was the Tomas O'Leary tackle on Cian Healey just before the tryline. If you'd like, I'll post that too for discussions sake.


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Highlights of the Clermont vs Toulon epic Top 14 semi final

The second semi final of the Top 14 proved to be a real thriller as Toulon and Clermont battled it out for over 100 minutes of rugby as they were deadlocked at fulltime of this classic encounter. If you’re yet to hear the score, skip to the video to avoid the spoiler.

There was plenty to get excited about in the rugby world this past weekend, with play-off games taking place in the Magners League, Guinness Premiership, and of course the Top 14. The Super 14 down south also provided its usual helping of entertaining rugby, but it was this match that was probably the game of the weekend as it thrilled from start to finish.

Clermont flyhalf Brock James put the past behind him as he played a huge part in Clermont progressing to their fourth successive Top 14 final as they beat Toulon 35-29 after the game was forced into extra time.

Australian James had almost single-handedly lost his side their Heineken Cup quarter final against Leinster recently, but against Toulon he redeemed himself in stunning fashion as he kept a cool head throughout and landed a superb 55m dropgoal in extra time.

"There was a little bit of luck. I practice drop goals, but from 55 metres, no," he said.

There were so many other great performances on each side in what was an enthralling play-off. The tempo of the game, combined with the raw physicality, gave it that classic Test match feel.

These highlights cover what’s possible in only ten minutes, but those who saw the game will know it was one of the all time classics. The winners, Clermont, will play Perpignan in the final on May 29 at the Stade de France.


Time: 10:19


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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jerome Porical kicks Perpignan into the Top 14 final

Perpignan knocked Toulouse out of the Top 14 with a 21-13 victory over their French rivals in the semi final in Montpelier on Friday. Jerome Porical kicked all 21 points as they progressed to the final, where they will face Clermont, who beat Toulon yesterday.

Toulouse had hoped to get a rare double by winning both the Top 14 and Heineken Cup, but that’s not possible now so they’ll throw everything into that final next weekend.

They did get off to a good start though, with scrumhalf Nicolas Bezy scoring early on thanks to a typically Toulouse counterattack and classy interplay. They were also up 13-9 at halftime, with two other penalties againt the three from Porical.

The defending champions Perpignan took control in the second half though with fullback Porical kicking four penalties to place them out of reach and into the final.

There was a bit of a scuffle in the second half, with Toulouse wing Vilimoni Delasau making an accusation of eye-gouging, one that is taken very seriously these days. We'll wait to see if anything develops from that.

Coach Jacques Brunel was delighted with the win, saying it was hard work getting there, but that his side couldn’t wait to face Toulouse. "We knew this would be very, very tight from the start.

"Even when we were four points down at half-time, we knew there was still everything to play for. We are in the final again, but I don't know whether we are stronger than last year.

"We want to defend our title, but we know it'll be very difficult," he added.

We’ll have highlights of the other semi final soon, as well as clips from the Magners League, Super 14, and Guinness Premiership.


Time: 06:24


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The Land Rover Sunroof Challenge

Later today the top for in the Guinness Premiership will meet in the semis in what should be yet another highly entertaining afternoon of rugby. This clip features those four sides taking part in the Sunroof Challenge, where they need to pass the ball into the roof of a Land Rover from the 22m line.

Based on the original crossbar challenge idea of Soccer AM, which led to rugby’s Crossbar Challenge with Scott Quinnell, this particular test of skill requires the players to pass the ball directly into the sunroof, preferably without breaking the windscreen.

As you’ll see, there’s a bit of kicking involved for those who don’t fancy their passing ability, and in general because of the distance, it proves to be quite a bit more challenging than what you’d initially think.

All the teams that were visited as part of the Land Rover Guinness Premiership tour took part, but for the purposes of a light hearted build up to the semi finals this weekend, this video features the sides that will be fighting it out for a place in the final.

Leicester Tigers play Bath at Welford Road, while Northampton Saints host Saracens at Franklin’s Gardens. While there are not too many sunroof challenge hotshots, the matches today will no doubt provide a far higher skill level.

Kick off for the first game is at 13:00 local time, with the second at 16:00.


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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ospreys beat Glasgow to reach Magners League final

Ospreys progressed to the Magners League final as they beat Glasgow 20-5 in their semi final meeting at the Liberty Stadium on Friday. Tries were scored for the winning side by Shane Williams and James Hook, while Glasgow scored through Fergus Thomson.

There was a pretty disappointing turn up of only 7079 spectators who watched their side progress to the final, where they will meet the winner of the Munster and Leinster all Irish semi final.

It might have been a tighter match if Dan Parks had got his kicks, but he missed eight in total which cost them dearly. The try to Shane Williams could have gone either way too, as it looked as though his foot may have brushed the touchline.

"The try was given, I know I was pretty close to the line but I'll take the five points,” said Williams afterwards.

There was no disputing Hook’s try though, as he created a moment of magic with a sublime chip and chase down the left wing before gathering to score.

The experience of Ospreys, packed with Welsh internationals, came through in the end, despite the loss of flanker Jerry Collins to what was a nasty (and accidental) knee to the head.

Ospreys coach Sean Holley was ecstatic about the win, and making the final.

"It feels great, I thought we deserved it - fair play to the boys, they dug in and got the win,” he said.

Glasgow coach Sean Lineen was understandably upset, and had a slight dig at the players and officials.

"We didn't get the rub of the green anywhere, which was very frustrating. The number of players they take off the ball - they should be playing American Football. It's unbelievable but they get away with it, so good on them."

Highlights of the other semi will be up on here tomorrow sometime if all goes well. The Top 14 semis will also, as well as the best of the Super 14 and Guinness Premiership. If you’d like to speed up the process by contributing with highlights or clips, please get in touch.


Time: 05:59


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Friday, May 14, 2010

Northampton Saints vs Saracens Guinness Premiership semi preview

This weekend the semi finals of the Guinness Premiership take place as Bath and Leicester face off, while Northampton Saints and Saracens do battle in what should be two fascinating match ups.

Saints host Saracens as the sides go into the match in second and third place on the table respectively. Saracens are the form side though, who actually beat Saints at Franklins Gardens just two weeks ago. Saints are out to get revenge.

"That hurt, hearing them singing as if they had won the league," said Saints boss Jim Mallinder. "For us, you can take motivation from a lot of things, and we are eagerly looking forward to that game next weekend now.

"We've had some close games against them this season. They are playing well - they played very well when they came to our place - and they've just won at Welford Road against Leicester. It will be an almighty battle, but we think we have a side to win that game."

In this video preview Saints stars Ben Foden, Stephen Myler, and Lee Dickson talk about the upcoming match. Does anyone fancy giving their predictions on both matches?

Incidentally, you can buy tickets for the Guinness Premiership Final by using the RD 5% discount code VGGDUMP5. It's set to be a great occasion, so get your final tickets here now.


Time: 02:47


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Super 14 Pick of the Week - Round 13

As we head into the final round of the Super 14, this weekend is vital in that the Bulls are the only side assured of a play-off place. Here’s a look back at the best tries scored in an incredible round last weekend though, with fifteen included in total.

The race for the semis was well and truly on last weekend, as sides within touching distance made it imperative to get maximum points, resulting in some great running rugby as they searched for those all important bonus points.

The Reds’ second half against the Hurricanes was much like the second half of their season – disappointing. They still managed to scored a few great tries though, namely through Anthony Faainga and Rod Davies. The ‘Canes themselves dished up their usual brand, as Hosea Gear crossed more than once as he looks to be the form wing in New Zealand at the moment.

We all saw, and talked about, the classic match between the Crusaders and the Bulls in Pretoria. Perhaps the controversial ending unfortunately overshadowed what was an incredible display of attacking rugby from both sides. The pick of the tries from that game are included here as they’re well worth watching again.

For the Chiefs, last years finalists who this season haven’t found their form, Jackson Willison got on the end of a brilliant try that was made by some slick passing down the line. Drew Mitchell pulled off a great individual try for the Waratahs, and seasoned campaigner Carlos Spencer got on the end of a nice counterattack for the Lions.

That’s just a few of the excellent tries that were scored in a fantastic weekend of action. This weekend is set to be a tense final round, as each match has it’s own set of permutations that will determine who makes the top four and who doesn’t.

For now though, kick back and watch fifteen of the best tries scored in Round 13. Enjoy.


Time: 06:24
Music: Junkie XL - Today
Note: The audio volume is now fixed up


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

School of Hard Knocks 2010 - Episode 5

This is the penultimate episode of School of Hard Knocks so as the series comes nearer to a the grand finale, the guys continue their preparation as they play another training game, apply for jobs, and meet Sir Clive Woodward.

Mentored by Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell, both Test legends, the boys have already come a long way from when they first got together as a squad. The friction that comes from their differing backgrounds still exists, but they’ve made great progress.

In this episode they get to meet Dick Greenwood, who is not only Will’s dad, but a former England coach and player who has plenty to say when it comes to getting the boys in shape and teaching them the basic principles of forward play.

Their meeting with 2003 World Cup winning coach Woodward is yet another highlight of their eight week journey as they pick up some valuable tips when it comes to believing in oneself.

There’s trouble at the start of their game later on though, when one of the players is again found out to have been drinking, which proves a distraction to all.

The job applications at the Olympic Park go pretty well, and by all means it looks as though the group are setting about making great changes in their lives. Next week we’ll post the final episode, and include an update on how the guys are doing today, a few months after the show was filmed.

To those who had some trouble playing part two from last weeks show, a link has been posted there now so you can catch up on what you missed out on.


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