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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

South Africa win the Edinburgh Sevens in dramatic fashion

The final leg of the IRB World Series Sevens took place in Edinburgh this past weekend, with New Zealand being crowned champions, and South Africa pulling off an incredible last few seconds win over Australia in the final. Here's a wrap-up of all the action.

New Zealand took the overall World Series champions title, but failed to produce for the second week in a row. They had already clinched the title last weekend, so despite perhaps wishing to have gone out on a high, they were victorious nonetheless.

Scotland, who were hosting the event, seem to have found their straps and managed to cause quite the upset, beating Fiji 14-12 on day one, as well as thrashing the USA. They lost out narrowly in the Bowl final though, with Kenya scoring late in the game.

Canada beat Russia 17-12 to take the Shield, but ultimately it was all about the Cup final, where South Africa and Australia served up one of the best, and highest scoring, finals of Sevens rugby ever seen.

Having won in London last weekend, South Africa had to launch two comebacks in their final against Australia, firstly from being down 7-28 early in the second half, then from trailing 19-35 with just two minutes on the clock. They scored last gasp tries through Steven Hunt, and then the winning try with time up was scored by flyer Sibusiso Sithole, who was so excited, he almost dived out in the process of scoring. The game ended at 36-35 to South Africa.

"Australia made a good start and we had to give it everything we got," said coach Paul Treu. "We were severely disrupted by the injuries and apart from the injured players, Frankie also shouldered on bravely despite hurting his knee early on Saturday.

"What can you say after a performance like that? They refused to give in and South Africa can be very proud of these young men," he added.

South Africa leapfrogged England, who sat on 127 points, to take second place in the overall standings on 140 points, while New Zealand were out of reach at 166 points. Fiji and Samoa came in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Below are three videos in a playlist. The first shows some of the big games, and then includes the final. The second video shows top points (385) and top try (40) scorer Cecil Afrika, and the third shows Seven of the Best tries from the weekend. Enjoy.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Munster take the Magners League title after beating Leinster in Grand Final

One of the bigger games of the weekend was the all Irish Magners League Grand Final, contested by bitter rivals Munster and Leinster. This time around, Munster took the title 19-9.

It was a task too large for Leinster, who a week prior had battled it out in the pulsating Heineken Cup Final. To come back from that and play another big final, especially against a side like Munster, was always going to be an uphill battle.

Leinster's aim was to get the double though, regardless of what happened before. Munster held firm though, with Doug Howlett and Keith Earls breaching the visitor's defence. Jonny Sexton did what he could to pull things back, but the Red Army were smiling come full time.

"I think today was a very good thing for Irish rugby. We haven’t always been where we would like to have been over the last two years, but I think that Leinster and Munster have always made each other better, and we have made the Irish team better by driving on standards," said Paul O'Connell.

"Both sides have a lot of leadership, and no little skill. People talk about this being a good era for Ireland, and when you look at some of the young players coming through, you would be very confident for the future.

"Obviously I haven’t seen the game, but it seemed to me to be a very tough, high-standard game, with a lot of very good stuff at the breakdown in particular, which is so important. I think it would be a good advertisement for the Irish game, and for the Magners League in general,” he said.

The quality of these highlights is admittedly not great, but they're good for now, and then later in the week other bits from the game, notably one or two big hits, will be featured.

Time: 04:16


Siale Piutau lets fly on Michael Rhodes after dangerous headlock

A handful of citings took place this weekend in Super Rugby, with one of the most talked about being this incident from the Lions' great 26-22 away win at the Highlanders on Saturday. Both players are in the dock.

As you can see in the clip, flanker Michael Rhodes appeared to get Highlanders winger Siale Piutau in some kind of headlock, then attempted to clear him out like that, flipping him dangerously. Piutau retaliated, as to be expected, landing two blows to the head of Rhodes.

In the chaos that followed, he threw another punch. As expected, both players have since been cited, and will face a SANZAR judicial panel tomorrow. They are both cited for 'acts contrary to good sportsmanship', while Rhodes' is for dangerous tackling without the ball, and Piutau's will be for punching and opponent and retaliation.

Both will no doubt face a few weeks off if (when?) found guilty.

Elsewhere, Sharks forward Jean Deyself was cited for a similar offence in their 26-21 win over the Waratahs in Durban. Unlike in the other incident, Deyself was seen by the officials, and yellow carded for his dangerous headlock.

UPDATE 31/05/2011: Rhodes has been suspended for 6 weeks, while Piutau escaped suspension, due to 'exceptional circumstances'.

"Whilst the player admitted to foul play he had been seriously compromised in the incident involving Rhodes," said judicial officer Nick Davidson, who added that the winger was placed 'at serious risk of injury'.

"Piutau's reaction was that of someone who had been seriously endangered and to impose a sanction in these circumstances would not reflect the effect on Piutau of the incident and a reaction that was the product of shock rather than retaliatory intent."

Rhodes has the right to appeal the sanction.

Time: 02:37


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Toulouse cruise into the Top 14 final with win over Clermont

Toulouse eased to the Top 14 final with a 29-6 win over current champions Clermont at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Rupeni Caucaunibuca scored both the tries.

The famous French club will face Montpellier, who narrowly beat Racing Metro yesterday, in the final on June 4th. Over 56 000 fans had turned out expecting a close battle, but Toulouse flexed their muscles and made it an unhappy occasion for Clermont.

From the get-go Toulouse, who topped the table all season, showed their intent with a wonderful flowing passage of play that started behind their own tryline. They were unsuccessful on that occasion, but later on scored through Fijian superstar Rupeni Caucau, who is surely playing his best rugby in years.

Late in the match Clermont looked to get some kind of consolation after Toulouse had pushed the scores apart even further through penalty kicks, but a turnover and sprint from Caucau rubbed salt in the wound.

It wasn't the most amazing game of rugby, but as you'll see in the highlights, the victors showed what an uncompromising outfit they can be,. With such talent to burn out wide, give them a sniff and they'll make you pay, as Clermont learnt on this occasion.

The best bits from the other semi final, the Magners League and Aviva Premiership finals, the Edinburgh Sevens, and Super Rugby, will all follow throughout the course of the next few days. If you saw anything you'd like featured, be sure to leave a note in the requests section.

Time: 03:56


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rugby Club Plays of the Week Round 13 & 14

The mood has been quite sombre over the last day or so here, as you will have noticed with the previous post. We do need to keep on keeping on however, so to lighten the mood, here's two weeks worth of Super Rugby Plays of the Week.

Obviously this weekend there's been a fair share of semi finals and finals rugby taking place around Europe. Before we get to those, lets take a look back for a bit of a laugh.

In round 13 a lot of the chat in Australia was about the brutally honest approach by Brumbies coach Tony Rea in their post match press conference following a loss to the Lions. For a team that at one stage were one of the most successful in the tournament, it was a massive upset.

Rea is leaving anyway, being replaced by former Springbok coach Jake White, so I guess he felt now was the time to throw some people under the bus, himself included. He pulled no punches, and gave an interview that is rarely seen in professional rugby these days.

Elsewhere there was actually some really good form, on the field, with some wonderful tries scored and a whole heap of big tackles. In this video we've got rounds 13 and 14 combined, with the latter being somewhat of a Plays classic. Great work Mr Maloney.

Keep a lookout in particular for the try scored by the Cheetahs against the Rebels, with wing Ryno Benjamin flicking a ball back inside miraculously, then Corne Uys somehow dotting down while in airborne. Also see if you can spot Super Rugby's planking debut. Enjoy.

Time: 04:29


Friday, May 27, 2011

Kobus Engelbrecht, paralysed playing rugby in 2007, murdered

It's with great sadness, and a huge amount of shock, that this post is to inform you of the untimely passing of young Kobus Engelbrecht, who was paralysed playing rugby at school in 2007. A few hours ago, he was murdered in his home.

Those of you who have been visiting Rugbydump since the beginning will no doubt remember the story of Kobus getting injured. He was 17 at the time, and playing fullback for his high school rugby team when he was tackled low, then hit high and hard by the opposition number eight. From that moment forth, he has been a quadriplegic, as the C5&6 vertebra were damaged.

The story was posted here, and great support was shown from the international community. Since then, he's been an important part of the Rugbydump ethos, and it was just a few months ago that I was privileged enough to spend a few hours with this inspirational young man, who fought so hard to get his life back to anything that resembled normality.

His family converted their downstairs room into his bedroom, and his mom, a lovely, gentle lady, was there to support him 24/7. We joked that he had somewhat of a bachelor pad actually, as his new bedroom was fairly large, including a pool table, TV screen, and a mini fridge.

Life was anything but normal for Kobus though, who was paralysed from the waist down and had limited movement in his fingers. He spoke openly later about how when I shook his hand, he could tell I noticed that it wasn't a manly shake. I had to disagree though, as what he had been through, and how he dealt with it all, made him one of the manliest people I know.

I was genuinely touched and taken back by his spirit. Many people go through horrible ordeals in life, but how they deal with it is what sets some apart. When I left his place I felt honoured to have met him, and determined to help his cause in some way. We had spoken about various ways in which we could do so, not only for himself, but for others in the same situation.

Kobus wanted to help, and to educate those who perhaps at times don't know how to react to, or treat, those in wheelchairs, or just those who need care. We had planned to meet again, and I'd told him we'll make sure that RD Cares, a small initiative which is yet to kick fully into gear, becomes something he can be more involved in. He was excited, and despite studying to eventually be a chartered accountant, offered to give his time and told me that I could give him a call if ever I wanted to discuss anything.

I can tell you that Kobus was touched by those of you who left comments on the original post when he first got injured. He was a gentle soul who had been humbled by what he'd been through, but had a smile that could light up a room, and an enthusiasm about him that was infectious. In truth, I could write for hours about my short meeting with this fantastic guy.

On Tuesday of this week, he posted a comment on his Facebook page that said he was getting a car on Saturday, modified for him to be able to drive it, but he was very excited. "Then it's me and the open road!" he said.

Earlier today though, four years after his terrible injury, he was murdered in his home.

His mother was also murdered. It's been reported that they were both strangled in their beds, and his father attempted suicide, but survived. He has since been taken into police custody, and will appear in court on Monday. If and when more details emerge, this post will be updated to reflect them.

For now, all we can say is that it's a horrific story and one that we can't quite comprehend.

If it's indeed true that Rugby is the game played in heaven, you can be sure Kobus will be playing his heart out. Rest in peace my friend.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Three refs taste the dirt in one weekend of rugby

While the Super Rugby Picks of the Week for the last two rounds is still being prepared, it's a good time to get this amusing clip up that shows a quite rare occurrence from last weekend.

Over the years whenever a ref has been knocked over it's usually been posted here on Rugbydump. Why feature it, you ask? Simple really - because it's funny.

Obviously nobody wants to see a referee injured, and when it's a serious knock, the due respect is shown, naturally. Players should also be doing everything they can to avoid making contact with the ref, but when it's just a case of him losing his feet or getting an accidental shove from behind, it brings a smile to most faces.

I'm not sure why that is, but every time a ref gets physical, there's a reaction from the crowd, the commentators, and the fans watching at home on TV.

It can't really be explained, as it's just a guy getting knocked over. More often that not though, that man is the focus of all the negative energy and tension that's boiling up in the players, coaches, and yes, you. We've all done it. If our team is playing badly and they don't get the bounce of the ball, who is the best person to blame? You guessed it.

So I suppose that is why when they take a knock, the majority of people will find it mildy titillating. Yes, titillating. That's the kind of broad spectrum of vocabulary you get to experience if you make it to the sixth paragraph. Most site visitors have no idea.

Keith Brown, Stuart Dickinson (crowd favourite), and Ian Smith all managed to get themselves in a tangle this past weekend, being bowled over by various players, but managing to hop swiftly to their feet and pretend it never happened. Three in one weekend must be some kind of record. A fairly trivial and meaningless record, but a record nonetheless.

Time: 01:44


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gloucester Rugby show off their tricks and talent at training

Just as the hype surrounding the All Blacks tricks at training videos has died down a little, out comes another one, from a different team, that is sure to get you scratching your head while asking the question, 'How did they do that?'

There's an obvious answer of course, but we wouldn't want to take away too much from this latest offering from Gloucester Rugby, which serves as not only a bit of fun, but a nice way to market their main club sponsor, Jewson.

Teaming up for yet another in the viral video contenders for the year, Jewson and Gloucester produced this short film to show some of the fun and unbelievable talent that is on display behind the scenes, at a laid back training session at Kingsholm.

Narrated by Mike Tindall, it also features James Simpson-Daniel, Henry Trinder, Freddie Burns, and Charlie Sharples, as they make the exceptional look easy in a few minutes of footage that it's got to be said, it pretty good to watch.

"This was a really enjoyable project and one that we were pleased to be involved in. We hope it entertains not only our supporters but rugby fans and sports fans as a whole," said Pete Grzonka, Head of Sales and Marketing at Gloucester Rugby.

So while it's not an incredibly original concept, it is good fun and although in the back of your mind you know that there's some serious video editing that has taken place, it's done well and is almost believable. Check this out.

Also, have a browse through the related links for previous viral hits along the same lines.

Time: 02:30


The Stormers edge the Blues in another dramatic game

Following a bit of a trend this past weekend in world rugby, the Stormers traveled to Auckland and pulled off a last ditch 28-26 win against the Blues, in yet another game of two halves.

It was a classic match-up as the men from Cape Town were determined to avoid a three game losing streak, but had to fight for it after being down 19-3 at halftime, and playing with fourteen men after Francois Louw was yellow carded.

The Stormers came out pumped up in the second half though, and thanks to some great play by new center pairing Juan De Jongh and Johann Sadie, got within touching distance of a famous win. A controversial late try from Schalk Burger got them equal, then an ice-cool conversion from replacement scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage gave them the win.

Errors and missed tackles were the downfall of the home side, although the stats actually show that the Stormers missed eight more than the Auckland region. Perhaps a telling stat is the linebreaks, with the Stormers making 13 to the 7 of the Blues.

Coach Pat Lam seemed to direct his attention towards the officials though, claiming that the Burger try shouldn't have been given. "Some calls out there made it very tough for us," he said.

"When the touch judge says it's short, and Alby (Mathewson) says it's short, but Keith Brown (referee) believes he saw it over the line. We're very frustrated."

On the plus side, Luke McAlister became the first New Zealand player to break the 100 point mark this season, taking his season tally to 109 points, something that All Black coach Graham Henry will surely take note of.

For the Stormers, the successful center pairing of De Jongh and Sadie are likely to be relegated to the bench for their next game against the Brumbies. If Jaque Fourie and Jean De Villiers are fit, they will be automatic selections, said forwards coach Matt Proudfoot from Sydney.

Time: 05:19


Harlequins take the Amlin Challenge Cup final in dramatic fashion

The Heineken Cup final wasn't the only big game that took place in Cardiff on the weekend, as the Amlin Challenge Cup final produced a classic finish, with Harlequins snatching the silverware from counterparts Stade Francais.

Harlequins secured Heineken Cup qualification for next season with their come from behind 19-18 victory at Cardiff City Stadium. The Amlin Challenge Cup win ensures that seven English teams will take part in the next showpiece European tournament, which Leinster famously won on Saturday.

Despite having very little ball and Stade Francais controlling the game in the second half, Quins managed to manufacture a try with just 3 minutes left, brilliantly set up by the efforts of Nick Easter, Joe Marler, and Danny Care. Gonzalo Camacho gathered Care’s kick ahead, leaving them a point behind before Nick Evans lined up his kick.

The former All Black, surely the obvious second choice as flyhalf for New Zealand this year, took the challenge head on, slotting the kick with aplomb. "All those times on the training pitch you dream of moments like that one. I was excited to have the kick - I wasn't nervous. That is what we live for as kickers," said Evans.

"Credit to the whole team. We never gave up, and I think we have shown that throughout the season. We got ourselves out of jail, got the win and got the silverware.

"Bloodgate was like a bomb going off in the club. Everything scattered and we had to start again, we had to rebuild. We had a lot of the same players but confidence had been knocked out of them. Everyone hated us and things like that, so it was hard.

"Hopefully now, we can push on and create a bit of a dynasty," he added.

On the flip-side, James Haskell admitted that he might have been at fault for allowing Harlequins to slip through for that final try as he shot out the line.

"I've got a feeling in my gut I lost us the game. I won't be sleeping well tonight."

It was a fantastic ending to a final, and tense throughout. Most of the points were via the boot, so this highlights clip focuses on a few of the kicks, and includes the try in it’s entirety, the celebrations, and then an interview with Evans as part of the playlist. Also, much requested, keep a lookout for fullback Mike Brown enjoying the festivities with the fans after the game.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

South Africa win the London Sevens as NZ are crowned series champions

Record crowds turned out for the penultimate leg of the HSBC IRB Sevens World Series in London, with Twickenham bathed in sunshine for a fantastic weekend of top quality rugby action.

The first day of the event brought in a crowd of 54,357, a record in the 12 year history of the series. Fancy dress, beer, and the occasional streaker were the order of the day.

New Zealand did enough to be crowned outright series champions after hosts England failed to get out of their group, winning just one of their Pool games. New Zealand themselves were disappointing, being knocked out in a heavy defeat by Fiji, but their ninth series win reasserts their overall dominance since the series' inception.

Fiji impressed throughout, but coming up against South Africa in the final, they blew a 14 point lead as the men in green and gold fought back to outwit the larger opposition, and take a 24-14 win, their first in London since 2005.

Cecil Afrika was as inspirational as ever, and continues to lead the try scoring records for the season. It was the relatively unknown Stephen Hunt though who proved invaluable as he pulled off a brilliant try saving tackle late in the game, then scored the winner.

South Africa are now up to third on the overall standings with one leg to go, the 100th event in World Series history, which takes place in Edinburgh this coming weekend.

The following three videos give you a nice general view of the tournament, including what led up to the final, the final itself, Seven of the Best tries from the tournament, and a video that shows some of the record breaking crowd on day one.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Leinster fight back to win a classic Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff

It’s been called one of the greatest European cup finals we’ve seen, and it probably wasn’t far off as Leinster came back from the dead to pull off an inspired Heineken Cup tournament win over Northampton Saints in Cardiff on Saturday.

Down 22-6 after a first half onslaught, Leinster came back to win the match 33-22 in sensational fashion. Scoring 27 unanswered points in a second half blitz, the Irish side were inspired by young Jonny Sexton, who’s halftime teamtalk will no doubt become a thing of rugby folklore.

After the match, Brian O’Driscoll revealed that it was the flyhalf that sparked the team’s unbelievable comeback. "Besides what Jonny produced in the second half, some of his words at half-time really struck a chord.

"He was a man possessed. He said this game would be remembered if we came back. You could see he had the bit between his teeth and he was ready for it."

Sexton told his teammates that stranger things have happened in sport, that fairytales do exist and that they only needed to think back to Liverpool’s 3-0 down recovery in the 2005 Champions League Final to see that the impossible is indeed, possible.

"We were shell-shocked and we needed half-time. We regrouped," Sexton explained. "I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to sport and I said we see in sport that teams can come back, like Liverpool a few years ago. Stuff like that happens. We had to believe it."

Leinster came out pumped up, determined to turn things around, while Northampton were spent, having demolished their opposing pack in the first half with a one-sided scrumming performance, the likes of which are very rarely seen at this level.

With their powerhouse Soane Tonga'uiha seemingly struggling with a sore shoulder, and hooker Dylan Hartley having taken a knock to the head when scoring his first half try, the Leinster forwards looked rejuvenated, turning things on their head.

"It doesn’t matter how well you play for 40. If you don’t come out in the second half then the opposition will punish you," said Saints fullback Ben Foden.

"All credit to Leinster. They are the best side in Europe for a reason. I thought they were outstanding and they showed tremendous character to pick themselves up."

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Questions from Round 13 of Super Rugby

It's the Heineken Cup final this evening, as the biggest game in European rugby takes place in Cardiff. And I'm in Edinburgh. But this is life, things don't always go according to plan, as you'll see in the short video below.

A return to Edinburgh was long overdue, having lived here over ten years ago. It's a beautiful city and while rugby seems to struggle for popularity up here, it's been good to see the marketing efforts of those pushing the Edinburgh Sevens, which takes place next weekend.

If you're in the area, make sure you get along as it's sure to be a good fun, and a could be an excellent introduction to the game for those who aren't usually rugby fans, so drag them along. The same can be said for the London Sevens, which is taking place at the moment down south.

As for the rugby fifteens calendar, the Heineken Cup final kicks off in a few hours time, but then there's also been some fantastic Super Rugby going on, with much more to come later today.

While there's a few critics of the tournament due to it's open, attack-minded style of play, you can also be sure that there's always something entertaining happening. That's the beauty of rugby, as often the small incidents make great viewing. With that in mind, here's a few questions for you from last weekend, as asked by Reunion in New Zealand.

Time: 01:25
Thanks to Reunion on The Rugby Channel, Sky NZ


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Cheetahs upset victory over the Crusaders in Bloemfontein

The Cheetahs produced one of the results of round 13 of Super Rugby as they upset the Crusaders 33-20 in front of a passionate home crowd, taking their third consecutive win of the tournament.

The injury ravaged men from Christchurch had Dan Carter and Richie McCaw turning out for them, but the home side managed to negate their influence, along with that of Sonny Bill Williams, who had such a storming game in Cape Town a week prior.

Williams was actually hit in a solid tackle early on, forcing him to leave the field after the knock to the knee. The Cheetahs believe that they shut him down well when he was on though, perhaps providing a blueprint for other teams to follow. Coach Naka Drotske was hesitant to get too carried away though.

"It would be way too early to say he was worked out, he still is one of the best players in Super Rugby but we believe the answer to stopping him is to cut off his space. The plans we worked on went well and Robert Ebersohn was excellent in defence and his decision-making on defence was enough to ensure that he never got enough room to move.

"The other South African teams and the Springboks will be making a huge mistake though if they are under the impression that the Sonny Bill Williams-factor no longer exists. He remains a special player capable of breaking through any defence in the blink of an eye," Drotske added.

Aside from the attention to Williams, the Cheetahs did well to control the game up front and seemed to have an effective gameplan against the New Zealand side. Twin brothers Robert and Sias Ebersohn both scored tries, as did loose forward Ashley Johnson, sealing the famous win.

Time: 05:10


Vote now for the RPA Sunday Times Try of the Year 2011

Today is your last chance to vote for the RPA/Sunday Times Try of the Year, as voting closes at midnight tonight. The tries are a selection from the Aviva Premiership, and span from October till as recently as the end of April.

The six try shortlist of nominees includes fantastic tries scored by foreign imports Michael Classens, Schalk Brits, Sireli Naqelevuki, and Alesana Tuilagi, and then locals Ugo Monye and Nicky Robinson.

Last year Chris Ashton won the award, so he will be there at the annual awards dinner on Wednesday May 25th to hand over the crown to whoever comes up tops in the public vote.

The list of nominees in full is as follows:
Michael Claassens (Bath) - Bath v Exeter 9th April 2011
Schalk Brits (Saracens) - Saracens v Gloucester 24th April 2011
Sireli Naqelevuki (Exeter Chiefs) - Exeter v Northampton 6th March 2011
Alesana Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) - Leicester Tigers v Gloucester 16th April 2011
Ugo Monye (Harlequins) - Harlequins v Gloucester 26th March 2011
Nicky Robinson (Gloucester) - Bath v Gloucester 1st October 2010

Have a look at the video, and if one stands out for you, make sure you vote now as today is the last day. Head on over to the RPA website to place your vote. If you want to just share your thoughts on the best in the comments here, feel free to do so too.

Time: 03:21


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brock James scores a sneaky try against Biarritz in the Top 14

Clermont progressed to the Top 14 semi finals after coming back from being 14 points down, to beat Biarritz 27-17. This quick piece of thinking by Brock James contributed to the effort.

Defending champions Clermont will face Toulouse in the semi final in Marseille in two week's time. They were 17-6 down following two Biarritz tries, but rallied well in the second half, and were helped by a yellow card for Iain Balshaw.

In fact it took literally seconds for Clermont to take advantage of the dismissal, as Balshaw had barely left the field before flyhalf Brock James caught the Biarritz side napping, coasting in for a sneaky, yet well taken try.

The try was converted by Morgan Parra, taking the score to 13-17 before the home side scored two tries in 5 minutes, rapidly taking the score to 27-17 before Biarritz knew what hit them.

There was more controversy though, with Alexandre Lapandry's try allegedly being prevented from touching down, but the TMO made the decision, and the rest is history.

Time: 01:31


Monday, May 16, 2011

Brian O'Driscoll's air punch at Ulster's Chris Henry

Brian O'Driscoll is fairly lucky that his arms aren't an inch longer, as he appeared to swing a punch at loose forward Chris Henry in Leinster's Magners League semi final against Ulster on Friday night.

Leinster, who came out 18-3 winners at the RDS, will wait to see if O'Driscoll will be available for their Heineken Cup Final against Northampton Saints this coming weekend. While he seems to have avoided a citing, there is still an injury cloud hovering over the talisman centre.

O'Driscoll lashed out at Henry early in the first half as the two of them got in a bit of a tangle while competing to get to the breakdown. The Ireland captain's quick left seemed to only glance Henry, with no damage being done and play continuing.

Referee George Clancy was however notified by one of his touchline assistants, and had a bit of a chat with the players, telling them too cool down and direct their energy into the game.

Leinster have not heard from the citing commissioner, so O'Driscoll, injury worries aside, looks to have dodged a bullet with that one. With events taking place elsewhere this past weekend, it does make one wonder if players should be punished according to intent or outcome.

His punch could easily have landed, while Manu Tuilagi's three might have been poorly aimed glancing blows with far less consequence. As it stands, Tuilagi is facing a hefty suspension, while O'Driscoll, who by all means looked like he lost his cool, is free to play.

It's an interesting one. I suppose you could say that had Tuilagi swung just once, and barely connected, it would hardly have been discussed, giving the entire incident a different complexion. Maybe his good aim, landing three from three, is his worst enemy right now.

Whatever the case, Leinster's fans will be breathing a sigh of relief that O'Driscoll may have actually held back at the last split second. Either that, or maybe he simply mistimed it.

Time: 0:40
Note: Thanks to www.dicksondigital.com for the fantastic photo of the incident


Rugby Club Plays of the Week - Round 12

It's been quite the weekend of rugby. As you will have hopefully seen already, probably the biggest talking point was the punches from Manu Tuilagi on Chris Ashton. Elsewhere though some great rugby was played, and that will all be covered soon. Until then, lets catch up with last week's best plays in Super Rugby.

This round actually produced one of the most enjoyable of the tournament, which resulted in one of the better segments of 'Plays', from Sean Maloney and the Rugby Club in Australia.

Starting with a match that most neutrals probably didn't even bother watching, the Cheetahs came up with an absolutely classic try against the Lions, starting in their 22 and ending with a try for Robert Ebersohn after some superb offloading in the tackle.

The Rebels' Mark Gerard had quite a solid collision against the Reds, while Julian Huxley showed that he's still got a neat touch, and elsewhere there was the regular serving of scantily clad ladies, for those dull moments in the game.

It's good harmless fun, so have a watch to make sure you haven't missed out on any of it.

Time: 02:14


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Gio Aplon's brilliant individual try against the Chiefs

Gio Aplon scored this sensational solo effort against the Chiefs on Saturday in their Super Rugby meeting in Hamilton. The home side won 30-23 however, coming back from being 20-3 down.

Having flown off into a commanding lead, the Stormers, who last week lost to the Crusaders but have been in great form otherwise, would have thought that the game was dead and buried at halftime. The Chiefs came back though, scoring 27 points in the second half to take a great win.

The try of the game however came from the losing side, as Springbok flyer Gio Aplon showed that there most certainly still is room for the little guy in professional rugby. One of, if not the lightest players in the tournament, the former Sevens star glided through the Chiefs cover.

The angle he took initially, to break a tackle from a nicely timed Jean De Villiers pass, was what put him through. The way he casually bobbed and weaved, beating All Black players, was great to see and no doubt makes this try one of the best we've seen in the last few weeks.

In fact it was last year in the selfsame fixture that the Stormers scored another unbelievable try, that time it was a team effort though, with Bryan Habana crossing for the honours.

Besides this great effort, the loss was disappointing for the tourists, with captain Schalk Burger naturally unhappy about how they played in the last 40. "The second half was pretty disgusting really."

There was a touch and go call that resulted in a penalty try, with Aplon himself being yellow carded, but all credit to the Chiefs for a fantastic comeback against one of the top sides in the tournament this year. As for the Aplon try, you won't see many better this year. Enjoy.

Time: 01:20


Manu Tuilagi likely to be cited after flurry of punches on Chris Ashton

It's clearly the most talked about incident of the weekend in the Premiership, so if you missed it, here is the moment that Manu Tuilagi lost his cool and unleashed on Chris Ashton, landing one devastating blow in particular.

The Aviva Premiership semi final between Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints was expected to be a ferocious battle between two top sides in the English game, and it's didn't disappoint. Unfortunately things crossed a line though at one stage in the first half, with young Tuilagi totally losing the plot.

Leicester played the second half with all their fifteen players on the field, and took the 11-3 win late in the match with a powerful Alesana Tuilagi try. Saints fans, neutrals, and perhaps even Tigers fans, will all realise though that they're very lucky to have not been a player down for a longer period.

Young Tuilagi took England winger Ashton out off the ball with a hit that itself could have been worthy of punishment. A little shove to the back of the head followed from Ashton, but Tuilagi, who could well be his Test team mate in the not too distant future, stood up and dished out what can only be described as a three punch combination more fitting for the boxing ring than the rugby field.

Ashton looked stunned, unable to fight back before the third, devastating blow landed. The fact that he stayed on his feet through it all was quite something, but he needed stitches afterwards, and some initial bandaging while the great injustice took place, as referee Wayne Barnes chatted to his touch judge.

Saints boss Jim Mallinger was appalled at the decision that followed. "First of all, you can't have players taking players out, and you can't be hitting players directly to the head, punching," he said. "Chris Ashton did go over and give him a push, but you cannot react with three punches to the head without a red card.

"It's a big game, live on television and it should be one of the highlights of the Premiership season. I guess the referees and referees' assessors will have a real good look at it and work as hard as they can to make sure it doesn't happen again. All I know is I have seen it, and to me, it is a clear red card. What did Ashton get a yellow card for - pushing?" he added.

Richard Cockerill from the Tigers said he didn't see it, instead trying to focus on the match. "It was a good performance against a really good side. Let's talk about that shall we? Let's talk about how we controlled the game, let's talk about Alesana's try, let's talk about the scrum contest, not all the crap you boys want to talk about and make headlines out of."

The RFU will now decide whether or not Tuilagi will be cited, and what the resultant punishment will be. It seems almost certain that he'll miss the Premiership final, and possibly the Churchill Cup with the England Saxon's. Just how long he is suspended for will be interested to see.

UPDATE 18/05/2011: Manu Tuilagi has been suspended for 5 weeks, reduced from 10.

Please note: The highlights player below has been embedded to make sure that you can still see the incident. It takes place about 30 seconds in. You can also see the winning try, as well as skip around the player to view highlights of past week's Premiership action. If you'd like extended highlights, you can sign up for PremiershipRugbyTV here.

Time: 03:44


Friday, May 13, 2011

Ryan Cross shows why you should always chase a penalty kick

It's the weekend and a big one for rugby around the planet. Unfortunately there's been a few delays on here in terms of updates and previews, but we're back at it now, with this great try from last weekend.

If you've checked RD in the past day or so you will have noticed that despite normal activity on Facebook and Twitter, the site hasn't received too many new updates. The reason is that unfortunately the Blogger service, which is the content management system behind the site, was down for over 20 hours.

This meant it was impossible to update or edit anything on the site. What is also reinforces is the need to get the new site up and running, and off of this CMS, asap. That's going to become a much higher priority over the next few weeks, so please bear with us as some hard graft is done behind the scenes, that will no doubt bring you a far more enjoyable RD experience in future.

Speaking of hard graft, this is a try that some of you wanted to see again from last weekend. It features Ryan Cross of the Waratahs, playing against his old side, the Force, scoring a try that came directly from a penalty attempt on goal. We saw something similar with Toulouse recently from Florian Fritz against Leinster, and with Ollie Phillips for Stade Francais last year.

What it shows, whenever this happens, is that it is definitely worth chasing those long kicks at goal. Every now and then one of them might just come off, and you'll more than likely earn your side a much needed seven points that you might not have had otherwise.

So once again, thanks for the patience, and enjoy the busy weekend of rugby.

Time: 01:15


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WIN your team an ultimate rugby kit and laundary package from AEG

AEG have a fantastic competition on the go whereby grassroots rugby teams in the UK can win themselves an all inclusive new kit, as well as a washing machine and tumble dryer to clean up the mud after wearing it. Watch the video and read below to find out how you can change the fortunes of your clubs team.

You and your team can win one of 50 ultimate kit packages, provided by Samurai Sportswear, as well as the aforementioned washing machine and tumble dryer. All you need to do is watch the video, head to (and Like!) the AEG Facebook Page, then enter.

As AEG strive to support grassroots rugby during the 2011/2012 season, players under 16 years of age can reap the benefits by entering to win. Make sure you’re not the lone soldier though – get your teammate to do the same, as obviously the more of you that enter from your club, the better.

"We're supporting grassroots rugby by offering teams a high-quality custom-made kit, washing machine and tumble-dryer, in the hope they can redistribute the costs that would normally be spent on sportswear and laundry towards training and other facilities for the club," said AEG's UK Head of Marketing, Graham Bremer.

AEG will also be picking one lucky winner from their Facebook fans, to win two tickets to the Tesco 6 nations dinner. So ead on over to the Facebook Page, like the page, then enter. Entries close 20th May 2011, with successful teams being notified by the 23rd May 2011.

For more information on the promotion, including terms and conditions, please visit: www.aeg.co.uk/grassroots


Crusaders prove too strong for the Stormers at Newlands

The Crusaders came away from Newlands on Saturday with a hard fought 20-14 win over the much fancied Stormers in front of their capacity home crowd in Cape Town. It was only the second defeat in ten games for the Stormers.

Sonny Bill Williams ignited the game early on with yet another piece of magic that had the locals scratching their heads as to how their much talked about defensive unit were split right open. The offload, with Williams sucking in two tacklers, allowed support runners to break free.

It ended with prop Wyatt Crockett scoring the first of his two tries on the day, with combined with the kicking of Matt Berquist, gave them the deserved win.

In the last day we've been in the middle of another Peter De Villiers controversy, this time surrounding comments he recently made about Sonny Bill Williams' technique. Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder was full of praise for the league convert though after the match.

"Sonny did provide some special moments. There is no doubt that he is a quality player. He really is, and we’ve got a lot of quality players. There had been a lot of media attention. As we drove in here, the whole crowd were chanting his name outside the bus!

"It’s not easy when you are in the spotlight, and there has been a lot of attention on the midfield battle too. But he always plays well for this team, and the team play really well for him too. He was outstanding tonight, and he did a great job for us, and really showed what potential and abilities he’s got. He’s a game-breaker, there’s no doubt about that.

"It’s too early to talk about the World Cup, as the All Black side is not selected. But I think he’s got some great skills with his offloading and he certainly creates some awareness in space. He puts guys into gaps," Blackadder said. Stormers captain Schalk Burger echoed the sentiment.

"Ja, he can offload, hey! I must get some of that glue that he’s got stuck on to his hands."

Time: 04:44


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rupeni Caucau try and nice assist against Clermont

Recently we saw a clip of Rupeni Caucau making somewhat of a flip against Bourgoin, messing up a runaway try with a somersault that might have impressed, had he grounded the ball. This weekend he showed what he's capable of though.

Stade Toulouse beat Clermont 15-6, ensuring that they finished the regular season in first place, and maintaining their unbeaten home record. Maxime Medard crossed first for the home side, thanks to a nice build up, broken tackle, and then offload by Caucau.

In the second half we got to see something that brought back a glimpse of the past, with the big man - playing on the wing again - scoring from a set piece as he beat at least two players on the way to the tryline.

At around 110kg's, his low center of gravity and acceleration makes it difficult to stop him with his tail up. He appears to be enjoying his rugby again, building up nicely of late, having now been with Toulouse for three months.

"I feel like I have been here two or three years already," he said.

"In Toulouse, everyone is smiling and ready to help if needed. The players are like brothers. We are a real family. I want to keep playing rugby and be at my best and I would prefer to do that in Toulouse."

This weekend seemed to be his best performance in recent years, something the Fijian selectors will have taken note of, especially as they said not too long ago that he is still on the radar, regardless of his size. Trials for the Pacific Nations Cup will be held on June 3rd.

Time: 01:01


Monday, May 09, 2011

Rugby Club Plays of the Week - Rounds 10 & 11

You'll be pleased to know that there's lots happening behind the scenes here with Rugbydump. Unfortunately that's meant updates are a little slow at times, but we're working on it.

After a big weekend of games, the challenge is to cover all the best stuff, and maintain a standard that has been set over the years. Occasionally things slip, and other distractions come into play. In the grand scheme of things however, sometimes it's necessary, especially in a World Cup year when so much preparation is going into it from all angles.

So today we're going to catch up with some Plays of the Week from the Rugby Club in Australia, and then tomorrow and the rest of the week, get to covering everything else that's taken place over the past few days.

If you follow RD on Twitter and Facebook, you'll have seen a call for you to list the most interesting incident of the weekend that you think should be featured on the site. The responses have been good so far, so thanks to those who commented or tweeted. If you'd like to mention anything else, please make sure you're part of those platforms, or just leave a request here.

For now, it's over to Sean Maloney and the Fox Sports team for a few funny recaps from the last two rounds of Super Rugby action, rounds 10 and 11. Round 12 will be aired later in the week.

Thanks for the patience and understanding, and enjoy the clips.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Super Rugby Pick of the Week - Rounds 9, 10, & 11

You might have noticed that there's been quite a lack of Super Rugby tries on here in the past week or two. There's a few reasons for that, but most importantly, it changes today as we've got all the recaps, with RD's Pick of the Week videos.

While we're now into week 12 of the tournament, below are three great video compilations of our pick of the best tries scored in the last three rounds of play.

They're all great, so kick back and watch all three if possible, but it must be said that some of the tries scored in the last two rounds in particular are absolutely outstanding. The open running, offloading, and running angles on show are fantastic to watch.

The challenge for you now, if you're up for it, would be to pick a top 5 from all of them. There's definitely a few that stand out, and even some tries that weren't able to be included, but I'm sure you'll have your favourites.

When more than one video is posted at once, they're presented as a playlist, so you can hit play once then it will automatically skip to the next video when the first is finished. So on and so forth. If you only want to see the latest round (11), then you can navigate to it easily. Enjoy.

Round 9 Bayside - Blame It On Bad Luck
Round 10 A Day To Remember - The Downfall of Us All
Round 11 Mystery Jets - Alice Springs


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Northampton Saints beat Perpignan to make the Heineken Cup Final

Northampton Saints cruised through their Heineken Cup semi final against Perpignan on Saturday with a 23-7 win, setting them up for a final showdown with Leinster in Cardiff on Saturday, May 21.

Visitors Perpignan failed to turn up in what was a puzzling performance from them. They were however blown away by the power of Saints, with the front row in particular asserting their dominance on more than one occasion.

Saints shot off to a 20-0 lead in the first half before Perpignan attempted to claw their way back. The loss of Julien Candelon for a reckless tackle didn't help, and the home side controlled matters well in the second half, hanging on for a well deserved victory and place in the final.

"This is a fantastic achievement. I think we've been criticised a bit in the past for being one one-dimensional with our forward power, but I was delighted to see our all-round game," said coach Jim Mallinder.

"It's all about winning - no-one remembers losing semi-finalists or losing finalists. We've done remarkably well, but we haven't won anything yet.

"We will look at Leinster and make sure we are accurate against them. They are full of international-quality players with recent experience of winning competitions."

The final will be at the Millennium Stadium in two weeks time. Any predictions?

England and Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson will be doing a Facebook session on Monday, whereby you can submit your questions, and he will respond live by video. Find out more and sign up for the event by joining the Gillette Facebook page and event.
Click here to join Jonny

Time: 05:35


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Harlequins upset Munster in Thomond Park Amlin Cup semi

Harlequins shocked Munster in Limerick on the weekend as they beat the home side 20-12 at Thomond Park to progress to the Amlin Challenge Cup final, where they will face Stade Francais.

Harlequins last won Europe’s second-tier club competition in 2001 and 2004, and after scoring tries through George Robson and Danny Care, look like they could be on track for a third title, putting the controversy of recent seasons behind them.

With the upset, the London based side became only the second side in 16 years and 42 games to beat Munster at Thomond Park in European competition. They did so with 14 men for the last ten minutes of the game, after Nick Easter was shown a second yellow.

Munster flyhalf Ronan O’Gara has since said that despite coach Tony McGahan saying they were all embarrassed by the loss, the team are solely to blame.

"They (the coaches) are not on the pitch. It’s easy to blame them but the players were poor so let’s take it on the chin, put your hands up. They didn’t coach us to play like that. I would 100% put it down to the players under-performing," said O’Gara.

McGahan was just as forthright earlier: "We’re extremely embarrassed about the way we conducted ourselves on Saturday, with regard to playing at home, and what we represent, and what our supporters have given us over a long period of time.

"We have to live with that. We certainly need an opportunity to repay that faith, and that will come on Friday evening, and that will lend itself to next week," he said.

Munster play Connacht in the Magners League on Friday, while Harlequins will face Stade Francais, who beat Clermont 29-25, in the final in Cardiff on May 20th.

Time: 06:33


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sean O'Brien's backhand strike on Yannick Nyanga

Leinster's Sean O'Brien should consider himself lucky to avoid a citing following his backhand to the face of Yannick Nyanga during Leinster's Heineken Cup semi final on Saturday.

O'Brien was being held at the back of the scrum by Nyanga as eighthman Louis Picamoles cruised over untouched for a try to Toulouse in the second half of the 32-23 Leinster victory.

It's impossible to say whether the Ireland loose forward, who has been outstanding over the last year, would have made it across and effected a successful tackle or not. There is however no doubting the fact that he was held back, which led to the backhand lash out.

Nyanga looked stunned as he fell to the floor before receiving medical attention. He got up after some time, but was substituted for the rest of the game. None of the officials appeared to see it.

Fellow Irishman Paul O'Connell received a four week ban when he did the same thing to Jonathan Thomas in December of last year. O'Connell was spotted doing it at the time and picked up a red card, and later the citing and subsequent suspension.

There is a 50 hour window for citings to take place, so O'Brien has somehow avoided being picked up for striking out, and will be free to play in the final in Cardiff on May 21st.

Time: 01:14


Julien Candelon's reckless tackle on Lee Dickson

One of the big talking points of the second Heineken Cup semi final, Northampton Saints against Perpignan, was the dangerous tackle that Julien Candelon made on Lee Dickson in the first half.

Saints, who convincingly won the match 23-7 to progress to the final, had just scored a try through Jon Clarke. From the restart things got worse for the visitors, as Candelon took scrumhalf Lee Dickson out in the air as he got under the high ball.

Dickson landed really badly, on the side of his neck and shoulder and despite receiving treatment and staying down for some time, was okay eventually and played on.

Candelon was promptly shown a yellow card, and was perhaps lucky to receive just that. Another interesting aspect of what went on though was the Saints medic, who came charging on to help, but barged through Candelon in the process, nearly sparking further chaos.

If you listen to the assistant ref you can hear him saying that he felt the medic did it deliberately and should be spoken to by ref George Clancy. Unfortunately Sky switched to a replay and the commentators were talking, so we couldn't hear or see exactly how Clancy dealt with it.

Amidst the pushing and shoving, there was also a fairly out of order moment when Perpignan lock Rimas Alvarez Kairelis pulled the touchjudge by the arm, something that just didn't look right. A point on that though, is that officials have whistles and flags for a reason. Blow them and wave them, but getting in the middle of a forward pack that's about to kick off isn't too smart.

Time: 03:17


Monday, May 02, 2011

Riaan Viljoen's huge drop goal against the Brumbies

While it was a huge weekend for European rugby, here's a quick clip from down south that is worth seeing, as Cheetahs fullback Riaan Viljoen slotted a massive drop goal against the Brumbies.

It's not the first time we've seen him do it either. For a fairly small guy, he's got amazing power in that boot, as was seen in the opening minutes of the Cheetahs' Super Rugby meeting with the Canberra side.

This clip is featured today, but it was by no means the only good thing to happen in the game. In fact the home side, the Cheetahs, won 47-36 to pick up only their second win of the season. Nine tries were scored in all, and despite almost blowing a 25-0 lead, the Cheetahs hung on.

Of notable mention were the two front rowers for the home side, WP Nel and Coenie Oosthuizen. The latter came up with an audacious goosestep to go with his try, while Nel scored a nice one that included an upright dive whereby his feet almost hit the ground first.

Clips of those two will be shown during the week possibly. It was a bad loss for the Brumbies though, who now slump to their seventh loss of the tournament. They did earn and bonus point though, and will be buoyed by the news that coach Jake White will be joining them soon.

Time: 0:45


Leinster through to the Heineken Cup final after beating Toulouse

Leinster are through to another Heineken Cup final, their second in three years, after they beat defending champions Toulouse 32-23 in a fast-paced semi final in Dublin on Saturday.

Flyhalf Jonathan Sexton kicked 22 points to add to tries by Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip as the home side got some kind of revenge over the side that knocked them out at the same stage last year.

The 2009 champions didn’t disappoint the 50 000 fans on hand as they showed their quality to come back from an early freak try. Irish number eight Heaslip, who later scored a try by the narrowest of margins, said that revenge wasn’t a motivating factor.

"It wasn't a case of it being a revenge mission for us, not at all," he said.

"We've got our goal set on winning the competition and Toulouse just happened to be the team in the semi-final. They played some amazing rugby and we didn't play our best, but no guts, no glory.

"I don't think there was much between the teams, and we're just happy to have got past this game. We'll have to be on top of our game to compete in the final and win this competition."

The Irish side will face England team Northampton Saints in the May 21st final, after they convincingly beat Perpignan in Milton Keynes yesterday.

Time: 04:57


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