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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



Sunday, October 31, 2010

Canterbury into ITM Cup final after action packed semi with Wellington

Canterbury are on track to pick up their third consecutive National Provincial Championship after they beat Wellington 57-41 in a frenetic ITM Cup semi final in Christchurch on Friday. They will face Waikato in the final, who edged Auckland.

In a see-saw battle that had 60 points scored in the first half alone, Canterbury managed to hang in and come out on top to achieve the home final next week. Ten tries were scored in total in a thoroughly entertaining game that was unfortunately watched by less than 7000 people at the ground.

Colin Slade showed his quality yet again as he kicked 11 from 11 at goal, but it was Robbie Fruean who reiterated the feeling that he should be on the end of year All Blacks tour as he scored a try and set up two others. The 22 year old former Wellington player caused havoc all night long, prompting coach Rob Penney to state he’s ready for Test rugby.

"If they could find room for him, he's ready to go," Penney said. "He's got some areas of his game that he's developing but look at the form he's in. There's been worse players wearing the All Black jersey than him. He'd be a fantastic addition to their group."

He may still get the call up if they decide to replace injured wing Sitiveni Sivivatu. Fruean played wing for Wellington last season, so is no stranger to the position. He said Friday was one of his best games, but he remained humble, saying he could play better.

"We wanted to create the opportunity out wide, but we had to make sure we set it up inside first. The guys running the decoy behind me created the opportunity for me, massively. Tu Umaga-Marshall ran a nice decoy line and drew the 12 out wide and left the 10 by himself," he said about the try he scored.

Penney said they’re hoping for a better turnout for the final after the disappointing number of fans there, but he believes the economy, rather than disinterest, is the reason for it. “Sky has all the games on television and a large percentage of the population have access to Sky," he said.

"It's Cup and Show Week next week and people are still recovering from the earthquake. They just don't have the dollars to throw around since the recession.

"The guys love playing in front of big crowds. When we played Wellington on the afternoon of the quake game, it just added so much. It was a great game and people really enjoyed it.

"These guys are playing a really exciting brand; there's a bit of edge-of-your-seat stuff at times and Waikato have got firepower right across the park. I expect it will be a cracker,” he added.


Time: 05:35


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Incredible finish to the Bledisloe Cup in Hong Kong

It's been an incredible few days of rugby as we've seen plenty of points scored and many nails chewed off as a few games went right down to the final play, none more so than the Bledisloe Cup game between Australia and New Zealand in Hong Kong.

As we get things in order, there's much more to come here on RD as this weekend has been the ITM Cup semi finals, the Currie Cup final, Magners League, Aviva Premiership, French Top 14, and of course the big Test which is featured here now. Please be patient as clips are compiled and posts are made over the next day or so.

If you've not seen this game yet, best you watch the clip now to avoid the next paragraph spoiler as it came down to an incredible finish that has to be seen to be believed. It's yet another in the long line of classic matches between the two sides, now ranked number one and two in the world respectively.

Young James O'Connor wrote himself into the history books with his late try and sensational conversion as he joined the likes of John Eales, Matt Burke, Stirling Mortlock, and more recently Kurtley Beale as we once again saw a winning kick separate the two sides with time up.

New Zealand have now had their charge on the world record for consecutive wins broken after many believed they would get their record on this end of year tour.

It was a great game of rugby, and we'll have full highlights for you soon but for now here is an extended clip that shows the dramatic scenes in the last few minutes of the game. Keep a lookout for Stephen Donald's missed touch finder, which has seemingly turned him into the scapegoat for the loss.


Time: 06:47
Note: As said above, full match highlights will be posted soon. This is just the last few minutes.


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Friday, October 29, 2010

The Ross Skeate Diary - Final Preview

Skeato won't be playing for the Sharks in the Currie Cup final tomorrow as he's unfortunately still recovering from his groin surgery. That hasn't stopped the excitement though as he shares his thoughts on the what should be a great day of rugby between his former side, and his current.

What a momentous occasion this Saturday promises to be then. Two teams, hurtling headfirst at one another after months of dogged and precise preparation.

A mouth-watering and deserving match-up as the two sides that played arguably the best brand of rugby throughout the course of the Currie Cup now race towards each other with the kind of resolve that is sure to explode into an amazing spectacle that shall be carved into South African rugby history forever, as well as the minds and hearts of everyone involved.

That includes you and I, relegated to watch from the murky shadowy depths of the sidelines as lightning cracks around ABSA Stadium, and volcanoes erupt along its boundaries. An epic battle awaits!

What imagery hey? I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

The prospect of these two sides meeting in the final seemed to be written on the walls of each result as both teams marched towards this final point. When the Currie Cup log lead switched hands a few times in the beginning of the season before the Sharks claimed it firmly for themselves, it was easy to envision this final.

Of course the Boks coming back into the Bulls may have thrown a spanner into the works for both sides (and more significantly the Sharks) but both teams held fast and here we are. SA’s two biggest coastal cities couldn’t be happier.

There are of course some interesting permutations between the two sides and an interesting history that I have had the benefit of experiencing from both sides of the fence now. Although traditional rivalries such as the North-South derbies may have received more media coverage and gained more significance over the course of the past few years, indeed for as long as memory serves, make no mistake there shall be no shortage of ballast from either side come kickoff at 5pm on Saturday. That of course is providing no swarm of bees rock up – I’m no apiologist (Editors note - had to google that one, Ross).

The last time these two teams met in Cape Town marked the last loss for the Sharkies. Although admittedly they did have less to play for than Province and not fielding their strongest team also adding to their woes on the day, it was a game that shall really have no bearing upon this one as there shall be two very different sides running out the tunnel come Saturday.

As for the match before that one, in Durban, it was the Sharks that walked away with the honours but again now that is just a distant memory.

Both of those previous clashes were talked up as the Shark’s attacking play versus Province’s defensive prowess leading up to this weekend’s clash the talk seems to have switched to the issue of BMT and Finals experience and the like.

Personally I think it’ll be a good mix of discipline, aggression, first phase possession, tactics, kicking, and tackling, and shouting, and breathing, and running and jumping.

But seriously, I do think that the usual clichés of: “defence wins championships” and “teams win games, not individuals” shall obviously play their part and of course we all know that the team with more possession and a better tactical approach will prevail but the same is to be said for every game really. There are no bonus points on offer on Saturday.

As for the BMT factor, and that of experience? Well that counts for a lot, but not everything. Just ask the Bulls.

So, who am I tipping then? When it comes to a final like this one all predictions can go out the window as anything can happen on the day. The collective scratching of heads by every bookie in the country is a small indication of that. All I can with any certainty say is that if you miss this one, you’ll be truly missing out.

All my best and see you there this weekend. Go Sharks.

Skeato
____________________________________________________________________________

While out of action Ross has been working hard on his recovery but also supporting another important cause - the fight against breast cancer. Find out what he's been up to by checking out his site where you can get all the information on how to donate and stand in line to win a signed, limited edition Sharks rugby jersey. Visit www.rossskeate.com and follow him on Twitter


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The Raging Bull Phil Vickery retires from rugby

Former England captain Phil Vickery called time on his illustrious career yesterday after medical advice ruled that he should hang up his well worn boots. Here’s a feature from Total Rugby, as well as an interview from yesterday.

After three lower back operations, two shoulder ops, and four career threatening injuries, it’s now time for Phil to throw in the towel after being advised that if he keeps pushing his body, the risk of serious injury will be high.

Desite that, he’s gutted and while remaining positive, the news and reality of a 15 year career coming to an abrupt halt will take some time to sink in.

"I think sportsmen have two deaths – one when they retire and one when they actually go," he said in an interview earlier today. "It's not a nice feeling and ultimately I'm a sportsman so in my head it feels like admitting defeat. But I will look back on my career with a lot of happy memories.

Vickery says that the pain he deals with on a day to day basis is something he’s learnt to live with, but this latest injury, after picking up a ‘stinger’ when playing for Wasps last month, signalled that something was seriously wrong.

"This time I knew something wasn't right. I am not scared of pain but the pain level was more than before. Even now just sitting, driving in the car, trying to sleep at night is painful. I sneezed earlier and thought someone had stabbed me in the back of the head. I know I can't carry on like this.

"I'm not afraid of fighting back or proving people wrong but there comes a stage when you have to listen and trust in the experts and it is based on medical reasons that I have been forced to retire.

"There will be no more operations. It is going to need a lifetime of maintenance now, it is not just week to week and month to month. I have never been under any illusions as to what you put your body through. Do I want to know what I will be like in later life? Probably not," he added.

"Rugby has given me everything in my life. It has been a dream run. I look back with real happiness and it's been amazing. Through the sad times, the injuries and the setbacks, my desire and passion for the game has never wavered.

"The more I look back and think about it the more I think what I've done is fantastic and I have a lot of fond memories but, of course, it's sad," he said.

A great man both on and off the pitch, we wish him well in his future endeavours. Below are two videos, the first of which is a recent feature on him by Total Rugby, the second is a short interview from yesterday as the 34 year old gave his thoughts on the unfortunate news.




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Western Province vs Natal Sharks - Currie Cup final 2001

The Natal Sharks host Western Province at Kingspark in Durban tomorrow in the Currie Cup final, the first meeting of the two sides in a final since 2001. Today we’ll take a look back at that classic match.

Newlands was the venue as the reigning champion Western Province, who had taken the 2000 final, hosted the Sharks in what was set to be a incredibly physical battle between the two arch rivals, who surprisingly have now met in just four Currie Cup finals.

The two sides had met a few weeks before this game, with the Sharks winning convincingly 36-13 but playing Province at Newlands in a final is a different challenge altogether. The Cape Town crowd backed their side till the very end, and it brought out the best in players like Corne Krige, Chris Rossouw, and Braam Van Straaten.

Van Straaten was playing his final game before heading to Leeds in the UK and it turned out to be some send off as he scored 24 points on the day as their forwards took a stranglehold on the game, proving the demise of the Sharks, despite them scoring a great try through John Smit early on.

The only other points for WP came from flyhalf Rossouw, the younger brother of Springbok Pieter Rossouw, as Van Straaten scored a try, two conversions, and five penalties to equal the Currie Cup final points scoring record held by Naas Botha.

"Any big game at Newlands is a great occasion so you can imagine what the atmosphere is like at an Absa Currie Cup final. The Sharks made an intense start, they scored a quick try and kept up the pressure. We knew if we kept on playing the way we had during the season the chances and points would come. It was close but we made a strong comeback.

"It was a nice way to end my Province career and I was honoured to have been part of such a great occasion," van Straaten said.

There were some great players on display, including Percy Montgomery, AJ Venter, Bob Skinstad, Deon Kayser, and Breyton Paulse. Fans of Saracens will notice Neil de Kock in action, while Shaun Sowerby of Toulouse was prominent. Stefan Terblanche, who will captain the Sharks in the 2010 final tomorrow, is the only survivor from both the 2000 and 2001 finals. He also played in 2008, so will play in his fourth final tomorrow.


Time: 06:55


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Midweek Madness - The Stade de France pre-match festivities

It's not technically the middle of the week, but Midweek Madness describes this best as we look back at what happened before the Stade Francais vs Toulon game at Stade de France. It included some overweight guys pushing a float, a caged leopard, and a bare-chested girl who clearly wasn't too bothered by the cold.

Over the years Stade Francais have pushed the envelope in terms of marketing their brand in Paris. The hot pink colour of their jerseys has amused macho traditionalists and created a whole new culture within the club, once which of course includes a calendar that comes out each year featuring their semi naked rugby players.

The jerseys have become more shocking as each season comes round and while their eccentric mix of art and kitsch leaves many giggling, it’s all part of the brilliance of club president Max Guazzini as he manages to bring in the crowds and get people talking.

The latest jersey is a collector’s piece and features leopard prints, on pink of course, which was the reason behind the feline creature appearing as part of Saturday’s extravagant show. Close to 70 000 people turned out in horrific weather in the French capital to be part of the event as the build up to the game is treated as an integral part of the days viewing.

It started with a few easy-on-the-eye dancing girls but soon got weird as a group of scantily clad giants walked out dragging a massive float. When it was opened, it revealed two beautiful sights, one of which was staring out from a cage and the other holding a golden rugby ball.

If you’ve read this far without hitting play, I’m impressed. What else is impressive is that the tv crews viewed this as art and rather than switch away from what was a fantastic spectacle, they showed it in it’s entirety. Fair to say it’s probably the weirdest start to a match I’ve seen, besides the bees recently, but it’s also a massive marketing success.


Time: 04:25


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Brotherhood of the front row - WIN with Bushmills Whiskey

Phil Vickery, Keith Wood, and Tim Payne got together with Bushmills Brothers recently to provide some excellent insight into the brotherhood of the front row. Check out these amusing videos and then enter the great competition below.

No introduction needed, the reputations of these front rowers speak for themselves. Each of them having played hours of professional rugby for their countries, their uncompromising approach to the game has earned them many caps and the respect of fans worldwide.

Along the way they’ve experienced wonderful bits of camaraderie, both on and off the field, so we get to hear them talk about that element of the sport as the banter flows and they sip on a glass or two of Bushmills' finest. "You have to be slightly deranged to play in the front row," says Phil.

The guys then take part in a few challenges which includes tossing ice cubes into a glass and a rugby ball keepy-uppy event that shows exactly why Keith Wood was at the top of his game for so long – his competitive edge.

It’s a good laugh so whether you’re a front rower or not, you should enjoy the three videos. You can also WIN one of two exclusive bottles thanks to our friends at Bushmills Brothers. Check out their Facebook Page, where you’ll find more info about their whiskey and more great stories of brotherhood. To enter the competition, make sure you watch the videos first! Question below.

___________________________________________________________________

WIN a bottle of Bushmills Brothers by answering the following:

In which year was the Bushmills area given it's license to distill?

Send your name, address, and the answer to contact@rugbydump.com before Nov 1st to enter.


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Toulouse beat Perpignan in classic Top 14 game

Toulouse beat last year's Top 14 champions Perpignan 38-29 on Saturday in a great game of rugby that included a few fantastic tries. Toulouse scored five tries, including a great effort from Byron Kelleher, and two for Clement Poitrenaud.

Toulouse have now gone joint top with Montpellier and Racing Metro, but have an inferior points difference so sit in second place, ahead of Montpellier and Toulon.

Perpignan had started well and an outstanding try by number nine David Mele before Toulouse bounced back with a nice finish from Fijian wing Vilimoni Delesau in the corner. Shortly before the break, they scored again thanks to Pointrenaud snatching a neat chip before passing to Vincent Clerc who dived over for the try.

With the match evenly poised at 16-15, All Black Byron Kelleher scored a powerful solo effort as he brushed off the attempted tackles by the loosies, then showed his pace and strength to get over in the corner. Perpignan coach Jacques Brunel said that was very costly for his side. "That was the first turning point of the game, at the beginning of the second-half and Kelleher's try. That cost us dear," he said.

Toulouse backline coach Jean-Baptiste Elissalde concurred. "We had a difficult beginning, but the try out of the blue by Kelleher did us the world of good. It is not something we work on at training and is really an individual spirit.

William Servat and Pointrenaud also scored, with David Skrela kicking 13 points in total.

Kelleher believes his side put in such a great performance thanks to the level of intensity in the Heineken Cup recently. "The victory against USAP isn't directly as a result of our performance. It's also about the culmination of a lot of physical and technical work done over the last three weeks.

"The break (from the Top 14) that the Heineken Cup offered allowed us to undoubtedly raise our game. In the match against Perpignan, we weren't a long way from test match level given the number of internationals on the pitch, the intensity, and the spectacle," he said.

It was a great game of rugby but as we can’t show the full eighty minutes, here’s some of the best tries from the game, as well as the hard fought final try for Perpignan.


Time: 03:19


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dimitri Szarzewski headbutt on Jean-Philippe Genevois

Stade Francais hooker Dimitri Szarzewski has been cited and will more than likely sit out for a few weeks after he head-butted Toulon’s Jean-Phillipe Genevois during their eventful meeting on the weekend.

Yesterday you got to see the clip of big Mathieu Bastereaud smashing wing Rory Lamont, a clip which brought up quite a lot of debate regarding not only the legality of the tackle, but whether or not the huge center wouldn’t be more suited to the front row.

One front rower who probably won’t be playing anywhere anytime soon again is hooker Szarzewski, who nutted Genevois for no apparent reason, other than a few words, some history, and a funny look. There was something very Zidane-Materazzi about the whole incident, particular in the way that Genevois flopped to the floor despite the contact not actually being all that significant.

Play acting seems to becoming more and more prevalent of late, as pointed out by commentator Gonzalo Quesada, former Argentina flyhalf.

That aside, you can’t defend the Stade hooker’s actions and he’ll no doubt be on the sidelines for a few weeks, missing France’s upcoming internationals when they play Fiji, Argentina, and Australia. We’ll find out soon what the length of the suspension will be, but it could be anything between a month and two years.

Check out the related posts for a few random links to other headbutts from the archives.



Time: 02:00


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Monday, October 25, 2010

All Blacks Don't Cry - A short film about John Kirwan

While most of us know John Kirwan as a legendary All Black wing who played close to 100 Tests and won a World Cup in 1987, what many don’t realise is that at the height of his career, young Kirwan suffered from clinical depression.

All Blacks Don’t Cry is a short film from multitalented filmmaker Julian Shaw that highlights the debilitating illness that Kirwan, along with countless others, have suffered with in silence.

Shaw, who idolised Kirwan while growing up in Auckland, teamed up with the great wing to help create awareness during Depression Awareness Month and paint a real picture of what one can go through, even when seemingly living the life.

“Depression is something I have lived through myself, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve been through as a young man,” says Shaw on his website.

“Someone like John helped me a lot. Growing up in Auckland when I was a kid, John Kirwan was my hero - he was the most famous man in New Zealand, a World Cup winner, and probably the best Rugby player in the world for a while.

"When I later learned about his struggle – that this mighty All Black had been to the edge and almost lost his life – it gave me a new perspective on what I’d been through myself. He was definitely someone who left me incredibly inspired."

Shaw is actually a regular visitor here on Rugbydump, so he reached out after completion of the project. "I'm a big fan of your site. It's where I get my fix of Northern Hemisphere rugby, which can be televised at some pretty tough hours Down Under," he said earlier.

If you or anyone you know has suffered from depression, please support this powerful film by sharing it. It’s about awareness, and it’s about realising that you too can be helped in the same way as JK was when he finally broke the silence.

Learn more about the film at www.allblacksdontcry.com, where you can also purchase John Kirwan’s memoir ‘All Blacks Don’t Cry’ to help support depression awareness.
You can read more about Julian on his website www.julianshaw.com.au, which also includes information about his current project, Cup of Dreams, in which he follows the All Blacks in their build up to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year.


Time: 13:17
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Mathieu Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

Stade Francais scored a later try through Ollie Phillips to take a 22-15 win over Toulon in Paris on the weekend in what was a typically eventful Top 14 clash. You’ll see a few clips from the game this week, but we’re starting with this huge hit from Mathieu Bastereaud.

The hosts led 12-6 at halftime after three penalties from Julien Dupuy and one from Lionel Beauxis, but Jonny Wilkinson kicked four penalties and a drop to keep his side in the game.

It looked as though they’d done enough but the late try from Phillips proved the difference, as well as a late drop by Beauxis which sealed the deal.

Center Bastareaud, who looks as though he’s bigger now than ever before, put in this crunching hit on Rory Lamont as the Scotsman looked to clear the ball. It was allowed by the officials, but they did have a word with him as he looked overly pumped up.

Later in the game he saw yellow though, for an off the ball tackle/shove that was picked up by the touchjudge. We’ll have more from the game soon, including a headbutt and a rather interesting prematch show that included a leopard in a cage, some scantily clad men, and a blonde missing half her top.


Time: 0:55


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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Morgan Stoddart's slam tackle on Leigh Halfpenny

This is a short clip from Friday night's Magners League match played in Cardiff as Scarlets beat the Blues 16-10. It was a low scoring affair with two nice tries but not too much else to write home about, other than this big tackle in the first half.

Morgan Stoddart made the hit on opposite number Leigh Halfpenny and despite putting on a good poker face and arguing his point to the ref, was penalised as it was viewed as dangerous by the touch judge.

Based on recent occurrences, the tackle might have been worthy of a yellow card, but in Stoddart’s favour was the fact that he brought the player to ground ‘safely’, albeit on the back of his neck in what looked more like a wrestling move than a rugby tackle.

It could be viewed as an awesome tackle for some, but reckless and dangerous for others. It probably depends which side of the fence you sit on. Stoddart was actually yellow carded a few minutes later though as he failed to roll away after making a tackle close to his tryline.

Halfpenny wasn’t injured, and continued on but later picked up an ankle injury, causing an injury scare for the national team. Coach Dai Young said he will be fit though ahead of the series against Australia, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand.

Stoddart himself limped off in the second half after picking up a hamstring niggle.


Time: 01:42


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Felipe Contepomi trysaver prevents Munster scoring a classic try vs Toulon

While this weekend’s rugby hasn’t quite come to an end yet, here is a short video from the Heineken Cup round 2 game where Munster thought they’d scored a sensational Johne Murphy try, but were denied by Toulon’s Felipe Contepomi.

The match got off to a great start as Toulon scored in the first minute of the game, a try that is included in the Best Tries from Round 2 video that was posted on Friday.

Munster came back though and in the 13th minute as Contepomi - arch nemesis from his Leinster days - attempted to put them in the lead with a penalty kick but missed, sparking a fantastic Munster counter attack from deep.

Doug Howlett showed that there’s life in the old dog’s legs yet as he streaked down field and gave Murphy the space to sprint for the corner. Somehow Contepomi got across though to make a telling tackle that pushed Murphy’s leg onto the line. Many replays later, it was judged that he was out, a decision that is still being debated.

In the end it didn’t matter as Munster came out convincing 45-18 winners. Toulon’s Phillipe Saint-Andre played down the big win though, stating that the Top 14 is his team’s priority right now.

"The Magners League is not as important to Munster as the Heineken Cup but next week we play Stade Francais in front of 80,000 people and then we are away to Toulouse and Perpignan so, at the moment, the Top 14 is more important for us."

Captain Joe Van Niekerk was a little more complimentary and less matter of fact.

"The experience of playing in the Heineken Cup for the first time against Munster was amazing... the scoreboard wasn't so amazing," said the eighthman.

"Physically, Munster were really up to the challenge and you can see that they are a well-drilled side, with a lot of experience. We were playing probably the best side in Europe, the level of intensity was a lot more than in France," he added.

Many of you had requested this clip so while it happened a week ago, I'm sure you still have your own opinion about whether or not this 'try' should have been awarded. Great play nevertheless.


Time: 02:41


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Five minutes with Matt Banahan and Butch James

England international Matt Banahan and Springbok Butch James were at Farleigh House a few days back so we were given the opportunity to catch up with them. Some questions were also submitted by you on the RD Facebook Page, so here's what the two Bath backs had to say.

So Matt tell us a little bit about the scheme you are here to launch today.

Matt:
We're here for the the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme, which is a brilliant idea and a global thing that all the Premiership clubs are going to buy into and that can only be good for the game. I didn’t play rugby as a youngster but I think that if this sort of programme was around back then, then it might have been a different story and it can only help push rugby forward across the whole of Britain.

Are you as passionate about rugby now as when you started out, or does it sometimes feel more like a job?

Matt: It never feels like a job. My girlfriend is a beautician and she sometimes works from 7am to 7pm – that’s a job. We are blessed. We have to enjoy every day and have a passion for it every day. That passion comes out in big games, and especially at the start of the season and at the end of the season. There are only a few weeks here and there when it might get hard, but otherwise there is always something to look forward to.

How did you find the transition from second row to wing?

Matt: I only played as a second row from the age of 16 until I came to bath at 19, so I only played there properly for about 18 months or two years. Now I have spent five years as a winger. People always refer back to me as being a former second row but I have spent much more time on the wing, so I don’t look back on those days at all. It’s all because I get tarred with that brush of being tall and heavy.

What is your daily diet?

Matt: I wake up in the morning and take all my tablets and powders that our nutritionist gives us to make me feel good. Then I train and have my protein shake after a weights session, train again and then go down to the Rec for lunch. We have whatever the chef picks for us to eat.

In the afternoons we have time off so I might have a sandwich for a snack, and then have a nice wholesome meal in the evening – some pasta maybe, or kievs. It’s the same every day really, and one day a week I might be allowed some naughty food.

Can you be an English version of Jonah Lomu?

Matt: I don’t want to be an English version of Jonah Lomu. He was one of the best in his era and this is a different era now. I’d like to make a name for myself and not be behind somebody who was as great as him. I would like people to say that you could have Matt and Jonah on the pitch together, rather than me being referred to in comparison to him.

Are you ever intimidated by an opponent physically?

Matt: Only the small, fast ones. I wouldn’t have liked to have played against Joe Maddock, luckily I played with him! Even though he has a smaller build he was powerful and fast. That isn’t comfortable for me to play against. I try not to think about other players though – I would like it more for them to be thinking about playing me.

How many tattoos do you have and what is your favourite?

Matt: I have so many that they almost blend into one, they’re scattered all around my body. I like the big one I have on my chest as my brother has the other half to it and that means a lot to me. I like the pin-up girl on my arm and they’re all good quality as I get them done by the best tattooist around.

What is your best time for the 100m?

Matt: It’s probably very slow. I can do it in about six seconds on my motorbike but I wouldn’t know to run it. I picked up rugby so late and only do short distances so I haven’t timed myself for 100m.

Butch, how different is it playing at the Rec compared to Kingspark in Durban?

Butch: It’s very different. At Kingspark you get far bigger crowds, that’s one difference, but the Rec makes more noise than Kingspark. That’s pretty cool for us and whatever the weather is we get the crowd – in Kings Park if it’s raining then you won’t get too many guys in the stand.

The stands are all close to the field at the Rec, so you can hear every comment, which makes it like having 25,000 people there. I’ve never seen a crowd like you get at the Rec – come rain, hail or snow they are always out supporting us.

You've fixed up your tackling technique over the years – have you worked hard at it or does tackling lower now come naturally?

Butch: I don’t think I really changed anything. There was one year in my career where I got nailed and did some bad tackles. I think I built up a bit of a reputation and that stuck with me for a while. Hopefully I have dusted that off over time and I haven’t changed much to how I normally tackle.

What is it like to work with a player like Morne Steyn?

Butch: It’s good, especially when you practice kicking with him after a training session. You see how good he is at it. The whole time I was in camp, over three months, I think I saw him miss three kicks. Its awesome to be able to kick and train alongside him. He is playing really well and it is good to see how he takes control of a team.

What do you think of the Springbok selection policy for overseas based players?

Butch: They aren’t excluding them at the moment, so that’s a good thing – they are trying to keep their players at home by not picking guys overseas but I’m sure in a couple of years when the game goes even more professional I am sure they will start looking elsewhere.

Who would be in your fantasy Aviva Premiership backline?

Butch: No.9 would be Michael Claassens. I would like to be in there myself but if I had to choose someone else at fly-half it would be Toby Flood. At 11 would be Big Bad Banners. I'd have to choose my centre partnership at Bath – Ollie Barkley and Shontayne Hape. Alesana Tuilagi would be the other winger and then Nick Abendanon at full-back.

Matt Banahan and Butch James were speaking at the launch of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Schools Programme, designed to increase participation in the sport and unearth young England stars of the future. Find out more at avivapremiershiprugby.com


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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Best tries of the Heineken Cup - Round 2

The standard of tries in the first two rounds of the Heineken Cup has been outstanding as the good weather up north, some positive law interpretations, and a bit of self-belief has all meant we've seen some fantastic running rugby.

There were many games, with many great tries. Most of them have been squeezed into seven minutes of quality action, although obviously some were left out as this should be only the best tries. Some of which you will have seen here on RD earlier in the week, but they're worth re-watching.

The Scarlets produced another classic with the Morgan Stoddart try, while Biarritz showed great precision to get Zee Ngwenya over in the corner against Ulster. Edinburgh, despite being on a losing side, scored three fantastic tries of their own. Shane Williams also scored a classic against London Irish. All of those were featured here so be sure to browse the homepage if you want to watch them again, with replays.

Other than those, there are also excellent tries from Leinster, London Irish, Munster, Toulon, Bath, Castres, Leicester, and Perpignan. Fantastic rugby all round.

With two rounds played, the competition now takes a break as they resume duties in the respective competitions. A much anticipated round three will start up again in December.

There are many contenders, but which was your try of the round?


Time: 07:05
Music: Rob Dougan - Clubbed to death


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

All Black legend Christian Cullen interviewed in Hong Kong

The good people at the Rugbyasia Channel managed to track down legendary All Black fullback Christian Cullen for a short interview recently in Hong Kong. Mixed in with match footage, if you're a Cullen fan, this one is well worth watching.

A young Christian Cullen took the rugby world by storm as he broke onto the scene with an incredible performance at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament in 1996. He played an integral part in the final as New Zealand beat the powerful Fijians 19-17 in a classic final that included the likes of Waisale Serevi for Fiji, and Jonah Lomu for the men in black.

In this interview an extremely humble Cullen talks about that famous moment behind the posts, then goes on to name his best back three in the world, his favourite tries that he's scored, and what he'd have done if he didn't play rugby professionally.

A sumptuous runner with exceptional balance and an ability to glide through gaps at will, there's no doubt that Cullen was the best attacking fullback of his generation. He wasn't bad on defense either, and packed well above his weight as it was commonly known that he was one of the strongest All Blacks pound for pound come gym time.

Watching these clips brings back some fantastic memories and for those who haven't seen them before, sit back and enjoy as the legend talks you through some of the defining moments of his Sevens and Test rugby career.

A big thanks goes out to Semi from the RugbyAsia Channel, the first stop for rugby fans from Hong Kong and the surrounding Asia region. Visit the Facebook page for news, interviews, video skits, and a whole lot more.


Time: 06:52


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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Midweek Madness - Shane Williams hurdles Topsy Ojo

This is a quick clip that was actually posted to the Rugbydump Facebook Page earlier in the week and features Shane Williams hurdling over opposing wing Topsy Ojo of London Irish during their match on the weekend.

If you've already seen the clip, then you're more than likely one of the thousands who Like RD on the FB page. If you're not on there, or following on Twitter for that matter, then you're missing out on random video clips, news, info, and competitions as now and again some good stuff gets posted there first or instead of here on the main site.

So all you need to do to become a fan of Rugbydump is click like on the box on the side here, or visit facebook.com/rugbydump to like it and news feeds will then integrate into your homepage there so you won't miss any of the great clips, news, or promotions from around the world of this wonderful sport.

Back to this video now though - it features twinkle toed Williams on attack as he slipped through the defense then tried to avoid the covering Ojo by stepping inside and taking off. It probably wasn't so much dangerous as it was freakish.

"Topsy Ojo is a very good defender, he's very quick as well, I just assumed I wasn't going to go around him, I certainly wasn't going to go through him and it was a last gasp attempt to just get over him!

"Luckily enough he didn't even touch me I don't think, but there was cover defence there and I got absolutely creamed in the end and lost the ball so a bit disappointing," he said afterwards.

Williams scored a fantastic try in the match too, which you can check out in the related posts (under the video) as well as some other great videos.
Next step: Become a fan of Rugbydump | Follow Rugbydump on Twitter.


Time: 01:25


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Benoit Baby runs into a brick wall named Mikaele Tuugahala

It was an all French affair in Pool two of the Heineken Cup on Saturday as Racing Metro picked up their first win of the campaign by beating Clermont Auvergne 16-9. The only try of the match went to Sireli Bobo, but the clip featured here comes from another Pacific Islander.

We all know the penchant for big hits that stems from that part of the world, and while there have been unfortunately a few that have been misdirected of late, there was nothing wrong with this punishing hit from Racing Metro prop Mikaele Tuugahala.

Benoit Baby was the unlucky recipient as he picked the wrong guy to run into. The fullback was brought to a halt instantly by the veteran from Wallis and Futuna, who is actually the cousin of Toulon’s Jocelino Suta.

Possibly the most impressive thing is that despite running into and being smashed by a far bigger man, Baby got up after a few minutes and continued on.

It's actually not the first time we've seen Baby hit hard, as two years ago (to the day!) we posted a clip of him being nailed by Jean-Philippe Viard of Montauban.

Morgan Parra picked up a late penalty for Clermont which gave them a valuable losing bonus point as the result means that both sides are now sitting with one from two so far.


Time: 01:23


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blue Bulls' Derick Kuun cited for striking Bismarck du Plessis below the belt

This past weekend seems to have been less eventful than the previous in terms of citings, but there was one for Blue Bulls flank Derick Kuun following an altercation for Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis in the Currie Cup semi final in Durban.

The game started late thanks to the infamous Beegate debacle, but it didn’t lack any sting as the rain came down and things got quite heated in the second half.

As you’ll see in the clip, Du Plessis – who’s never far from the action – tried to get the ball back from Kuun after being awarded a penalty, but things got out of hand with Kuun striking out at the fiery Bok hooker.

Whether it was in fact a punch or an open hand push remains to be seen as the cameras didn’t pick it up very well. It seemed to hit the spot though as Du Plessis got that delayed reaction then ended up on the floor.

Kuun has since been cited for foul play under law 10.4 (a) for striking. He was due to appear in front of a SARU judiciary committee earlier today, but that’s now been postponed till Friday for an unknown reason.


Time: 01:34


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Biarritz blitz Ulster with three great second half tries

Biarritz are looking good in Pool Four of the Heineken Cup after they convincingly beat Ulster 35-15 at the Parc des Sports Aguilera on the weekend. The bonus point win is their second of the campaign, placing them in good stead going into the next round.

Dimitri Yachvili scored 15 points with the boot as he kicked three penalties and three conversions, as well as set up one of the tries for last season’s finalists.

Zee Ngwenya scored twice, while Manuel Carizza and Sylvain Marconnet picked up a try apiece. For Ulster, Andrew Trimble scored in the 66th minute and Stephen Ferris picked up a consolation try on the stroke of fulltime.

Ngwenya’s first try came after he plucked a Ruan Pienaar high ball out of the air and made his way rapidly down field. The ball was recycled and a few phases laster, he found himself crossing in the left hand corner. Marconnet finished nicely when Yachvilli flicked the ball inside beautifully as the hosts scored their third try.

The final try from Biarritz was finished by Ngwenya but started way back in their half as they produced a fantastic passage of classic French running rugby, albeit with a few foreigners involved. Accurate passing, great running lines, and after sweeping left then right again, it ended with a hooker hitting the line hard then passing to the flying wing.

The three best tries of the game are featured in the video below. Enjoy.


Time: 03:29


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Monday, October 18, 2010

Western Province cruise into the final after beating the Cheetahs

The Sharks beat the Bulls at a bee-infested and soggy Kingspark in the first Currie Cup semi final, while in the second we saw Western Province run away with a convincing win over the Freestate Cheetahs in Cape Town.

Newlands was packed to the rafters for what was expected to be a tight encounter. It was up until 20 minutes in when Province scored their first, and later piled on the points. A late consolation try was a gift for the visitors, as the home side looked very impressive and finished well.

Bryan Habana, who took so much stick recently for his lack of form in the Tri Nations, showed what a bit of conditioning and time off can do for a player as he looked back to his best with some hard work on defense, a neatly taken try, and a great run to set up Gio Aplon for a try of his own. Francois Louw also scored, and Willem de Waal did the rest with the boot, kicking seven out of eight at goal.

"It's been a while since we've been in a final, so it's a great achievement by the boys," Burger said, referring to the fact that it’s been nine years since they made a final.

"We've lost a couple of semis to the Cheetahs in the past as they are a quality outfit. We've been building some momentum since beating the Sharks last week and hopefully we can carry that over to the final," he said.

Speaking about Habana’s form, Burger was full of praise for his Springbok and provincial collegue. "It’s different when you’re someone’s team-mate to sitting at home, drinking brandy and booing. Bryan’s record of 38 tries in 66 Tests, as well as all the tries that he has scored at Super14 level, speaks for itself.

"I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Bryan to be treated in that manner. People will realise in time how good he is. We never doubted his ability," added Burger, a sentiment that Western Province coach Allister Coetzee echoed.

"It’s good to see Bryan finish like that again. The saying that form is temporary and class is permanent applies here. Bryan could settle down again and speak to people close to him about other things," said Coetzee about the time off.

"It’s important to be able to switch off and to be able to handle criticism. It will be to your disadvantage if you take everything personally."

The Sharks will host Western Province in the final in Durban in two weeks time.


Time: 06:42


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Edinburgh's flair not enough to beat resilient Northampton Saints

Edinburgh scored some fantastic tries in the first half of their Heineken Cup meeting with Northampton Saints at Murrayfield on Saturday but couldn’t hang on in the second half as Saints come back to take a valuable 31-27 away win.

In front of another disappointing turn out in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh produced some scintillating rugby as they tossed it about and scored three superb tries. Sadly there were just under 5000 fans on hand to witness it though, half of which were made up of the travelling Saints contingent.

Pro Alan Jacobsen scored the first for the home side which included some sharp play from Mike Blair, who looked back to his best, and a neat sidestep before diving over. The next two Edinburgh tries were try of the season contenders as backs and forwards combined to work the ball up field, offload, and stay in support.

Saints chipped away through Stephen Myler though and scored a try on the stroke of half time to keep them in the game. Their forward power proved too much in the second half and a neatly worked try, scored by Paul Diggin, gave Myler a chance to take the lead with the conversion. He did so, as well as added a late penalty to seal the win.

"We're delighted with that win," said Northampton’s Jim Mallinder. "Edinburgh are a formidable challenge. It is a big game coming to Murrayfield, because Edinburgh have beaten some big teams here."

Try scorer Jacobsen summed up the Edinburgh performance. "We played some great rugby in patches, our tries were brilliant with the boys doing amazing things on the ball, but we then immediately give away stupid penalties or miss easy tackles and they result is soft scores. In the second half we allowed them to strangle possession, and now we've got an uphill battle."

There’s no doubt the first half was great to watch as the home side turned it on and forwards Nateni Talei and Fraser McKenzie featured prominently with some wonderful handling. Perhaps if Edinburgh Rugby can get their marketing, investment, and stadium strategies in order they’ll get more fans turning up to watch the side perform.


Time: 06:04


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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Morgan Stoddart finishes another great Scarlets team try

Scarlets went down to a heavy defeat against the Leicester Tigers in the Heineken Cup earlier today at Welford Road. Despite the 46-10 loss though, they did manage to score another great try for the second week running.

It's perhaps a bit strange singing the praises of a try that was scored before taking a 46 point hiding, but on it's own it was a great effort and they spread the ball and stayed in support for a number of pinpoint passes to go to hand. Last week it was Rhys Priestland, this time it was Morgan Stoddart who got on the end of the flowing team move.

After the first half it was all Leicester though, who scored some great tries of their own. Matt Smith, Martin Castrogiovanni, Ben Youngs, Thomas Waldrom, and Tom Croft all scored tries as they pulled away from the Welsh region. Croft scored twice himself.

Toby Flood did the rest with two penalties and five conversions as the home side put themselves about the park, featuring some clinical play from scrumhalf Youngs, and a few trademark charges from powerful wing Alesana Tuilagi.

Some of the other tries from the game will be posted in this rounds Best Tries compilation sometime during the week. If you spotted anything else this weekend that you think should be featured on the site, please get in touch.


Time: 01:29


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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shane Williams great solo try against London Irish

Ospreys wing Shane Williams showed his class as he produced a piece of magic for his side as they beat London Irish 27-16 in their Heineken Cup second round match played at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night.

Williams’ try came after right wing Tommy Bowe had scored another nicely taken try earlier in the game following a good piece of play by James Hook. Dan Biggar kicked four penalties on the night, but Hook himself added a penalty and a conversion.

For London Irish, Sailosi Tagicakibau scored an intercept try, and Ryan Lamb kicked 11 points. They were outplayed by Ospreys though who looked the hungrier side, and with moments of brilliance like was seen from Williams, they’ve shown that there’s plenty more to come.

Williams, now 33 years old and surely reaching the latter stages of his career, scored the wonderful try on the occasion of his 50th Heineken Cup match. "I had been finding it really difficult to get involved in games this season, but I felt sharp," he said.

"I just wanted a crack, to be honest. I feel pretty good. It was a very tough game and there was a lot of pressure on us to play well. It would have been doom and gloom in Wales had we lost."

London Irish head coach Toby Booth was full of praise for Williams after the game.

"He came up with something exceptional - it was Shane Williams at his best. I am all for the entertainment business, and it was a great piece of skill by him. It's what the Heineken Cup is about, and he has been doing that for a long time," he said.

If there's something in particular that you spotted this weekend that you feel should be featured here on Rugbydump, please post a request, or get in touch via email.


Time: 01:57


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Major buzzkill as bees delay Currie Cup Semi Final kick off

There was a quite bizarre occurrence in Durban earlier today as the kick-off for the first semi final of the Currie Cup, to be played by the Sharks and the Blue Bulls, was delayed due to a swarm of bees invading the field. This is a short report of the scenes prematch.

The players had run out onto the pitch in front of 40 000 expectant fans but it soon became apparent that a swarm of bees had been disturbed and it became unsafe for the game to continue. The game was delayed while a frantic effort was made to find the source and get rid of the bees.

Eventually the players, after standing around aimlessly for a good 5 minutes, went up the tunnel to relax in the safety of the change rooms.

Smoke machines and leaf blowers were used as clearly there was no resident beekeeper to be found. It was all a bit chaotic and a delay that brought back memories of the rain delayed 1995 World Cup semi final between the Springboks and France at the same venue.

Eventually things settled down and while some of the bees were removed manually, others were scared off with smoke, and the rest seemed to settle on small palm trees that were then placed on the sides of the field.

The game kicked off 40 minutes late, causing the second semi final to also be pushed back, but there was no sign of the bees again and not too much harm done, bar the occasional sting, and some very bad puns flying around the ground.


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Friday, October 15, 2010

The Best tries of the Heineken Cup - Round 1

We're in for another busy weekend of rugby as the second round of the Heineken Cup takes place in Europe, the ITM Cup in New Zealand, and the Currie Cup semi finals are in South Africa. Before getting into that, here's the best tries from Round 1 in Europe last weekend.

The opening weekend of the Heineken Cup was littered with incident as no less than four players were cited for dirty play. They've been suspended, some more leniently then others, but lets hope that this weekend produces the same kinda of intensity, but a cleaner round.

There were however some fantastic tries scored and some great rugby played, particularly in the Scarlets vs Perpignan game where Rhys Priestland, Julien Candelon, and Stephen Jones all crossed for top quality tries. Also keep an eye out for Ruan Pienaar's flick to Andrew Trimble for Ulster.

The wrap-around move that Leinster pulled off against Racing Metro was also really slick, as was the flick pass from Olly Barkley that led to a try for Michael Claasons against Biarritz. For Ospreys, Shane Williams finished as only he knows how, and later Paul Sackey crossed for the winning try for Toulon after Jonny Wilkinson showed his class.

Other stand outs would be the neat kick through by Ronan O'Gara for Munster following a great run by David Wallace, and then in Treviso's home game against Leicester, their young center Tommaso Benvenuti scored two tries and a drop goal, but it wasn't enough as Alesana Tuilagi scored the winning try for the visiting Tigers.

This video is a pick of the best tries from the weekend. Not all tries are included, as the video would be too long, so these are simply the most memorable and enjoyable of the round. Enjoy.


Time: 05:57
Music: Uniform by Bloc Party


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New Zealand take Gold yet again at the Commonwealth Games Sevens

New Zealand came back from being 7-17 down to beat Australia 24-17 as they took gold at the Commonwealth Games Sevens tournament in Delhi, sealing the win with a later try to Kurt Baker.

Despite trailing, New Zealand captain DJ Forbes said they never panicked. "We were down but never out. In Sevens, it's not really tough to upturn such a slender margin. After having won this tournament three times in a row, there is always big pressure. Going through the way we did is great."

It’s an impressive fourth consecutive Gold medal at the games. "We were under pressure but we saw through it. Well, it's fourth for the team but for me, it's the first. Makes it all the more exciting," said try scorer Baker.

They've now not lost a match since they first won the inaugural tournament in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. They went on to win in Manchester, then Melbourne, and now Delhi.

South Africa won bronze with a 17-14 victory over England. Fiji were unfortunately not in the tournament, as they had been suspended by the Commonwealth for political reasons.

The Australians didn’t come out tops but a few of their players have impressed enough to be included in the Wallabies’ 36-man touring squad to play the All Blacks in Hong Kong and then tour Europe.

Lachie Turner, Luke Morahan, Pat McCutcheon, and Nick Phipps have been selected for the tour where after facing the All Blacks, they will go up against Wales, Leicester, Munster, England, France, and Italy. The squad will be reduced to 30 for the latter two games.

Wallaby squad: Ben Alexander, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Kurtley Beale, Richard Brown, Luke Burgess, Mark Chisholm, Quade Cooper, Rod Davies, Ben Daley, Huia Edmonds, Rocky Elsom (captain), Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Will Genia, Matt Giteau, Scott Higginbotham, Matt Hodgson, Peter Hynes, Van Humphries, Salesi Ma’afu, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Pat McCutcheon, Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Luke Morahan, Dean Mumm, James O’Connor, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Benn Robinson, Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons, James Slipper, Lachie Turner.


Time: 06:45


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nick Abendanon's try saving tackle on Zee Ngwenya

Biarritz beat Bath 12-11 in a low scoring but tense game at the Rec on the weekend. Bath failed to take their chances in the Heineken Cup home game, but this quick clip is of a nice try saving tackle that was requested earlier in the week.

Bath scored an excellent try via Michael Claason’s that followed a fantastic piece of quick hands by Olly Barkley, but it was Dimitri Yachvili of Biarritz that controlled matters as he kicked four penalties to make sure the visitors left with the win.

Barkley did have a chance late in the game to have a crack with a drop goal, but for whatever reason Bath chose to move the ball wide, resulting in a turnover and a blundered opportunity. Coach Steve Meehan has since said that his team needs to grow up.

"It's actually quite difficult to put into words," said head coach Meehan. "We played a very good first half - we got all the decisions right - but a few technical penalties went against us in the second half. And then with four minutes to go, we had an opportunity to win the match, but we didn't take it."

"We've got to grow up and take the points. It's straightforward, it is about being ruthless, getting the job done and getting it through the sticks. Simple. Drop-goals and penalties win games. They kick the penalties and keep the scoreboard ticking over. We had the opportunity and didn't take it," he added.

Besides the try, there was another highlight for Bath and that was this well timed tackle by fullback Nick Abendanon as speedster Zee Ngwenya got the ball in a tiny bit of space, all he needs usually. If Abendanon hadn’t committed then, the flying Eagles wing would have been gone for all money. A memorable moment from a frustrating day for the home side.


Time: 01:24


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Duane Vermeulen smashed boot-less but still catches Lwazi Mvovo

Western Province secured a Currie Cup home semi final on the weekend by beating the Sharks 33-21 at Newlands. It was a great game, with highlights to follow, but for now here is one of the best moments of the match.

Duane Vermeulen has been in great form of late and for many, should be on the end of the year tour with the Springboks. While it seems that Pierre Spies in unmovable as first choice, the aim for Vermeulen would be to jump ahead of Ryan Kankowski in the pecking order.

Province fans will tell you that Vermeulen should be first choice, while ardent Bulls and Sharks fans will no doubt disagree. That’s just the way it goes and despite all the pressure and criticism of Spies in recent times, it’s pretty safe to say that it’ll take a lot to bump him off the top spot.

This isn’t about that though, this is about Sharks center Andries Stauss absolutely smashing Vermeulen in the first half of the match. It was a fantastic tackle but didn’t stop the workmanlike Vermeulen, who then got up and – without his boots on – chased down gasman Lwazi Mvovo, another possible end of year tourist.

Why was Vermeulen bootless? Watch at the beginning of the clip when he and Bismarck Du Plessis go head to head and you’ll see that the one boot popped off then. What probably happened is that he wanted to keep up with play, so just took off the other.

It made for a comical incident though and even without the boots, he showed his pace and commitment by chasing down Mvovo, one of the top try scorers this season. Great rugby all round – first the confrontation with Du Plessis, then the Habana run, then the cracking hit, and finally the great chase. An outstanding few minutes of rugby.


Time: 02:11


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