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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

England beat Ireland in Dublin - Manu Tuilagi and Delon Armitage tries

Earlier in the week we took a look at the Manu Tuilagi tackle on David Wallace that resulted in injury, so today we'll have a quick look at the tries from the match for those who missed it, or just want to watch them again.

As you may have heard by now, Ireland lost their fourth match in succession as England came up trumps 20-9, with tries from Tuilagi and Delon Armitage, as well as some assured kicking from Jonny Wilkinson, proving the difference between the two sides.

Ireland have now slipped from fourth to eighth on the IRB World Rankings in the space of about a month, and while on paper they've still got a team who can do well in New Zealand, their form and injury problems will be a major concern.

England on the other hand have bounced back from a few poor performances, and with young Tuilagi in the midfield look to have reignited a few of their senior players, Mike Tindall included. He fed off the Samoan born center's energy and had one of his best games for England in recent times. In fact the whole side seemed to pick things up, just in time for their RWC departure.

"You want to win games and this is a tough place to come and win. It just demonstrates to us, if we ever have doubts, when we go and do what we talk about doing, it’s effective and we’re a pretty decent team," said coach Martin Johnson.

"There was lots not perfect about it but we did a lot of good things as well."

Below are short highlights from the match, mainly featuring the tries if you missed them.

Time: 03:10
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Huge tackle from Hawkes Bay's Hikairo Forbes against Northland

We've got a bit of a history with posting big hits here on RD. Everyone loves seeing them after all, so here's a quick clip of a great tackle that happened in New Zealand's brilliant ITM Cup recently.

As you are well aware of, it's a crazy period on the rugby calendar, what with the Tri Nations, World Cup war-up matches, and then of course the Currie Cup and ITM Cup seasons. We're also do all sorts of behind the scenes stuff here with RD, so that's meant that the latter comps have admittedly had to have been neglected a bit, unfortunately.

What always helps though is when a user submits a request for something specific. It just makes the whole process of finding the best bits that much easier, quicker, and more rewarding for everyone involved. This was the case with today's post, as someone watched the match, noted the tackle, then dropped a post in the Request section on the forum. Easy.

So if you find yourself watching a lot of Currie Cup or ITM Cup lately, please feel free to do the same so that great moments can be shared with the world here on the site. Of course that applies to internationals too, of which we have bucket loads of in just ten days time.

This great hit came from Hawkes Bay's hooker Hikairo Forbes on Northland's replacement flanker Joel McKenty. It's nice to see a good old fashioned dump tackle that isn't penalised.

Northland won the match 43-34.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Manu Tuilagi tackles David Wallace out of the Rugby World Cup

Having lost their last few internationals and now dropped to eighth in the official IRB World Rankings, Ireland are also having to deal with injury woes, the latest of which is to stalwart David Wallace, who will be missing the Rugby World Cup as a result.

Wallace was hit hard by young England center Manu Tuilagi on Saturday, causing knee ligament damage that has means his World Cup dream was over in an instant. He has since had surgery, and put on a brave face as he tweeted on Sunday, 'Thanks to all for the uplifting msg's. Had op this morning so it’s all improvement here on. Lets get behind the team'.

Ireland have already lost Felix Jones to injury, which gave fullback Geordan Murphy the chance to join the squad. Coach Declan Kidney was very upset with the news.

"You have to deal with these things. He’s 35 and I’ve never seen a man as physically fit as he is right now. It’s heartbreaking for him and his family. It’s extremely disappointing for us but will be good news for someone else. That’s the cut-throat nature of sport," said Kidney.

Shane Jennings has been named as his replacement.

Tuilagi, who tackled Wallace into touch, causing the flanker to twist his knee under the force, had a great match for England, scoring a try and looking solid on defence, along with center partner Mike Tindall, who later commented, "It's great playing next to him. If you're in any doubt just give him the ball!"

"He's a physical specimen who can create anything from nothing,"added Tindall.

Murphy, who plays with Manu at Leicester Tigers, said he'll be a serious threat at the RWC.

"Manu's going to have a massive impact at the World Cup. He'll be a force on the internationals stage for some time to come. He's an attacking threat and defensively his game has come on immeasurably. He's so strong. He's got to be in the England team."

He added that he's a great guy off the field, and everyone gets along with him.

"He's very grounded, I don't think that will change, and he will just get better and better. He's the youngest of a rugby playing family and they will all help keep his feet on the ground."

If you fancy leaving a comment wishing Wallace all the best in his recovery, please go ahead.

Time: 02:38


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quade Cooper cited then cleared for knee in Richie McCaw's face

Quade Cooper dodged a bullet earlier today as he was cleared of any wrongdoing after being cited for kneeing the head of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw during the Wallabies' historic Tri Nations victory in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Cooper, who has had a recent history of niggle with McCaw for some reason, is now getting a bit of a reputation, particularly within the New Zealand camp, as a cheap shot merchant. It's not the first time he and McCaw have exchanged handbags.

SANZAR judicial officer Jannie Lubbe was quick to dismiss a charge of striking however. Cooper has admitted that he made contact, but said it was accidental as he was trying to get up.

"It's rugby and blokes are coming into contact belting each other week-in week-out, and it just so happens two blokes come into contact more often than not. I don't see any history there," he said.

Coach Robbie Deans acknowledged that Cooper needs to be mindful of how he behaves.

"There's a next generation of kids watching that game and it's important that the way we play the game is something we're proud of and something that we leave behind that they want to follow," Deans said.

Richie McCaw, who was at the bottom of a ruck up to his usual disruptive self, said that he didn't see it coming, but certainly felt it. Fellow loose forward Victor Vito has said that they're aware of Cooper's antics.

"I didn't get much of a view of it but apparently it was more than once anyway [the niggle]. Some of the guys are starting to say that sort of stuff about him," he said.

Coopers seems lucky to have gotten away with that one, as you'd have thought he could have avoided McCaw's face if he really wanted to.

What do you think of the incident, and the result of the judiciary process?

Time: 0:52


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Wallabies take the Tri Nations in thriller at Suncorp Stadium

The Wallabies returned to the scene of the Reds' famous Super Rugby win as they beat the All Blacks 25-20 in Brisbane, capturing the Tri Nations title for the first time in ten years. Here's some quick highlights for now.

Australia outplayed the All Blacks in what was a frenetic first half at Suncorp Stadium, with the hosts smashing the Kiwis back, preventing them from getting front foot ball. In fact the name Dan Carter was barely mentioned in the first period.

A try by Will Genia and a brilliant solo effort by Radike Samo, as well as some good kicking by Quade Cooper, had the Wallabies heading into half time with a 20-3 lead.

The All Blacks came out a different side in the second half though, grinding their way back to bring scores level at 20-20 as they took control of the match and looked destined to take a famous comeback win. Kurtley Beale shut them out though with a fantastic try, sealing things, and capturing the Tri Nations trophy, their first in a decade.

"It's obviously a significant result for us as we haven't done that since 2001, that's a biggie," said coach Robbie Deans.

"In terms of the World Cup it's irrelevant. If anything we've probably just put the bar up. But we'll take some real value out of it. The All Blacks got back on top and looked ominous but these blokes kept their nerve, got their hands on the ball and produced enough pressure to get the result, that's an important step for us."

:: Related Posts ::
Radike Samo at his best in 2004
Time: 07:08


Friday, August 26, 2011

O2 Inside Line - Episode 14

Ireland host England tomorrow in the last of their Rugby World Cup warm-up matches, as both sides have a lot to prove to both themselves, and of course their fans. Here's the latest O2 Inside Line, which is jam-packed with banter.

First up, if you're not English and can't stand seeing what other international teams get up to in the week leading up to a big test match, rather don't watch. There's been all sorts of comments flying about, from accusations of propaganda, to outright hatred. It's unbecoming of rugby fans, and if this isn't your thing, that's fine, there's loads of other stuff on the site for you to enjoy.

Austin Healey is back and up to his usual mischief alongside Abi Griffiths, and then we've got everyone's favourite loudmouth, James Haskell as he gets behind the camera and stirs the pot with some of his teamates.

It's all good fun, and we also get to hear what veteran hooker Steve Thompson thinks of the new age technology that takes over his training sessions, as he explains to Martin Bayfield that he'd have no place to hide.

Who do you think is going to take the game tomorrow, and do you think a win tomorrow will have a noticeable effect on the momentum in New Zealand, or is it irrelevant?

To get the inside scoop on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, sign up for alerts and watch O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at O2InsideLine.com


The Rugby Club Plays of the Week - Big Hits

It's been an interesting week for world rugby, and as we head into the final weekend of Rugby World Cup warm up matches, here's a look back at what's been going on with the Rugby Club's Plays of the Week.

Some week's are better than others with this segment, as that's just the way it goes, but this one is a bit of a classic with loads of big hits, funny moments, and even a little person doing press-ups on surfboards. We miss those days at the Sharktank.

There's a bit of a fist fight in the Shute Shield in Australia, which isn't seen often these days, and then there's a pick of the best tries from the Tri Nations and ITM Cup. Big charges follow, and there's even a Springbok Falcon. Not to mention bikini girls in hot tubs.

Action packed stuff, with a brilliant ending. Check it out, enjoy, and share with your mates.

As has been the case for the past few months, there's lots happening behind the scenes with RD so please bear with us as we lead up to the Rugby World Cup and you notice a few changes around here, including some possible down time when making those. We've also got some exciting new things to announce, and some nice prizes up for grabs.

Time: 02:14
Thanks as always to the great folks at Fox Sports Australia


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Midweek Madness - Don't Drop the Egg

The Rugby Club on Sky Sports did a segment recently that focused on an amateur rugby team, the Clapham Falcons, from South London Division 5. The result is truly fascinating, and highly entertaining, but be prepared, it gets very weird..

We're always looking for top quality rugby content here on RD, and this short docu feature is no different as we get an inside look into the lives of three young professionals plying their trade in London, while drinking, living, a breathing rugby.

RD was able to catch up with them to get their thoughts on being the stars of such a segment, but unlike the norm, we'd encourage you to jump straight to the video now, then come back to read more later so as to avoid any spoilers. So stop reading now, and hit play below.


I caught up with Oliver Blazeby, who plays 6, sometimes 7, to find out more about the guys who took us into the deepest, darkest places of their rugby obsessed lives. His alter-ego, Dan Jones, who works for a production company, told me that Don't Drop the Egg, a mokumentary, is the result of 9 months off writing, directing, editing, and of course, acting.

It's a satirical look at rugby players, and more specifically, the privileged university rugby types that most of us will have encountered at one time or another. The obvious question arose, 'Do you all actually still play rugby?'

"We all DID play rugby, now we are just fans," said Dan, who plays Blazeby, the die-hard of the bunch who has clearly taken one too many knocks to the head.

"Interestingly we all played a little at university and started to recognise these characters, and 3 years on we have made something with them very much in the front our minds.

Tom Magnus, who plays Freddie Shepherd, works with Dan, and then Orry Gibbens, who is a stand-up comedian, plays the self-obsessed pretty boy flyhalf, Archie Curzon.

"We were drawn together rather easily and had a good base knowledge of what we intended to do. We all liked to make people laugh at school, and all probably were in a Shakespeare play as well," said Dan. And what about the budget?

"We had no budget, other than the small amount we put in ourselves to cover things like wine, face paint, pitch hire etc. Orry and Dan still owe Tom about half the 'budget'."

It has possibly best last line ever. I was curious as to who came up with it.

"The last line was actually thought up by our cameraman Tim Colman: The invisible 4th member of The BoomTown Twats who keeps us together and tells us when we are shit.

"It was a struggle; we had the line 'There aren't many games where you would break a limb for a mate' which is actually rather honest, real and moving assessment of rugby. The last line just flipped that on its head, the 2 line together summing up the film perfectly."

If all goes to plan, we'll be seeing more of Archie, Freddie, and Blazeby on RD sometime soon.

The videos are presented in three parts as a playlist below, totaling 40 minutes. Enjoy.

Time: 40 mins


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sean O'Brien smashes through David Skrela

One of the most requested moments from this past weekend was when the battering-ram tank of a man Sean O'Brien smashed through Frenchman David Skrela, resulting in the flyhalf's premature exit.

If you don't follow much Irish rugby and don't really know who O'Brien is, you will soon. The Leinster man is an absolute beast with ball in hand, and since coming onto the scene has made an incredible impact, slotting in when Jamie Heaslip was injured, but now finding himself a part of a mouth watering Ireland loose forward trio.

With a low center of gravity, fantastic pace off the mark, and explosive power, you could safely play O'Brien Bingo for every time he bashes off a player during a match. This past weekend it was Skrela in the first half, then Fulgence Ouedraogo late in the match, as he crossed for a try.

O'Brien's talents haven't gone unnoticed, as he's fast become a fan favourite and has picked up a few prestigious awards. In May he was named ERC European Player of the Year, and just last week was handed the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year award.

This is just a short, requested clip that many of you quite fancied seeing again, but it's also a nice opportunity to give him his due credit, and it goes without saying that he is unequivocally one to watch at this year's Rugby World Cup. Yes, unequivocally.


A quick comparison between the Hakas of 1973 and 2011

The All Black Haka, love it or hate it, it's been around for a long time and isn't going anywhere. But was it always so confrontational? Looking back, it would appear not, and this is where some find issue with it.

When it comes to watching New Zealand play, the Haka is one of the things I look forward to most. It's a brilliant piece of showmanship that should be embraced. About thirty years back, things were slightly different though, and this is what annoys some rugby fans.

The usual response to criticism is that they're still allowed to do it because they've always been allowed to do it. That's a fair comment, but there is no doubt though that in recent times it's changed drastically, and become a far more intense, physically intimidating challenge.

Buck Shelford was one of the first to pick it up a notch with the confrontational approach, and then in 2005 we saw the introduction of the Kapa O Pango, where Tana Umaga slapped the back of Rico Gear, and they all performed a throat slitting gesture. There was a small outcry, so the throat slitting stopped, but this year it's returned, strangely enough.

Former Wallaby and current commentator Greg Martin recently expressed his desire for the Haka to be scrapped. He was clearly stirring and as with a lot of the things he says, his comments should be taken with a pinch of salt. They caused somewhat of a stir though, and re-ignited the age old debate about why they should be allowed to do it at all.

"They get an unfair physical advantage. The whole game of rugby is about male dominance over another man, and they're there yelling and screaming and threatening and you've got to sit there and go: 'Umm, this'll be finished soon'," said Martin.

"What's so good about it? "If you want to go see entertainment go to the theatre. That's what it is; it's singing and dancing," he added.

So whether you subscribe to Marto's views, or choose to enjoy it for what it is, here's a slightly comical clip that shows how dramatically it's changed over the years.

:: Related Posts ::
Why New Zealand do the Haka
Time: 0:57
Credit: The Rugby Club on Fox Sports


Monday, August 22, 2011

Scotland see off Italy in final warm-up match at Murrayfield

Scotland are in good spirits following their 23-12 win over a strong Italy team at Murrayfield on Saturday. Scotland scored two tries, but it was Italy that scored the try of the match. You can see all the tries in the video below.

Scotland fielded a side that wasn't at full strength, so will be encouraged by the win, and particularly the form of flyhalf Dan Parks. They still have some way to go though to reach their best before their first match of the Rugby World Cup on September 10th, again Romania.

Coach Andy Robinson still felt they could have played better however, saying that he was frustrated that they didn't score more points with the possession and chances they had.

"That's the mentality, the skill level, the decision-making we've got to be able to find. We are working hard to create opportunities -- it's now about really nailing them," he said.

Italy produced a lovely try that included two neat inside flicks and a very good finish from flying winger Tommaso Benvenuti, but there was a sad moment late in the game as big Nikki Walker injured his knee in contact, so won't be on the plane to New Zealand with the rest of the squad.

Time: 04:32


Ireland not firing as France take second win over Dublin hosts

Ireland lost their third successive Test as France beat them 26-22 in Dublin on Saturday. Two late tries gave the scoreline a look of respectability, after France had led 26-8 before taking their foot off the gas.

Ireland will need a good result against England next weekend to justify their decision to have such a gruelling run up to the tournament, after their fixtures had meant to get them match fit and firing on all cylinders. If anything, they've been a decent wake up call and has given them the opportunity to work out what's not quite right in the squad.

"There are no panic buttons being pressed," said Brian O'Driscoll. "This is not the World Cup – we are not at the group stage yet. We showed in the first 15 minutes that we can do it and that we can handle the intensity. We just have to front up in the collision area and although we did not win the game, we are building on the finished product and we have work to do before England."

Coach Declan Kidney shared similar views. "These are the games we want to play. There’s no point hiding away and challenging yourself against something (less testing) to give yourself a false lift.

"These players are big enough; they know what it takes to win. It hurts at the moment because we try to win every single game that we play. We just have to go away and learn from it to get ourselves ready for next week," he said.

France coach Marc Lievremont had made 13 changes to the side that beat Ireland a week before, and while no doubt happy with the win, he was dissatisfied with the way that his team allowed Ireland back in the game.

"We are not shouting too much about the two victories over Ireland. We have to do better individually and collectively. I almost regret the Trinh-Duc try because it allowed us to manage the game and there were no interesting moments for us. I expected more."

He has now named his 30 man squad for the Rugby World Cup.

Forwards: Fabien Barcella (Biarritz), Jean-Baptiste Poux (Toulouse), Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Luc Ducalcon (Castres), William Servat (Toulouse), Dimitri Szarzewski (Stade Français), Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Pascal Papé (Stade Français), Julien Pierre (Clermont), Romain Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), Lionel Nallet (Racing-Métro), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), Fulgence Ouedraogo (Montpellier), Raphaël Lakafia (Biarritz), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse)

Backs: Morgan Parra (Clermont), Dimitri Yachvili (Biarritz), David Skrela (Clermont), François Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Fabrice Estebanez (Brive), Maxime Mermoz (Perpignan), David Marty (Perpignan), Aurélien Rougerie (Clermont), Maxime Médard (Toulouse), Alexis Palisson (Brive), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Cédric Heymans (Bayonne), Damien Traille (Biarritz)

Time: 05:00


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Springboks get morale boosting win over the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth

South Africa's Morne Steyn kicked South Africa to a 18-5 victory against New Zealand at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday afternoon, giving a passionate capacity crowd something to cheer about ahead of the RWC.

With much speculation about his future as first choice flyhalf, kicking ace Steyn showed his value in a tight contest as he slotted three long range penalties in the first half, and continued to punish the All Blacks for their forced indiscretions throughout the match.

While the visitors were without key men Richie McCaw and Daniel Carter, this was a good run out for some of the players who will be invaluable come world cup time, and a great test for flyhalf Colin Slade, who has heaps of pressure on him to perform as understudy to the king.

The intensity was something to behold, and while there were a few leaks in the Springbok defence, they scrambled well and managed to hold out the multi-talented All Black backs. Jaque Fourie in particular was superb, as was Heinrich Brussouw who, despite taking a nasty knock in the face early on, went on to earn the Man of the Match award.

The Springboks, who stuck to the same tactics that coach Peter De Villiers insists is what they're best at, managed to out-muscle the All Blacks, and take the points on offer. They'll get a great boost from it as it was their final Test before the RWC, while the All Blacks still need to travel to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane for the Tri Nations decider next weekend.

The highlights below show the points, in a match that only had one try. There were some impatient requests on here though, so this video will have to do for those who missed it live.

Time: 05:00


Wales confident following win over Argentina in Cardiff

Wales head into the Rugby World Cup on a high following their gritty 28-13 win over a strong Argentina side at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

In the first half it looked as though the home side were in for a tough time of it, but two quick tries in the space of a few minutes turned things around, giving them a fairly comfortable 14-3 lead at half time.

Andy Powell and Alun Wyn Jones were the first half try scorers, before wing George North crossed in the second period to put the game out of reach, satisfying coach Warren Gatland.

"I am pleased with the result, but it was tough because we made nine changes. It’s easy to underestimate a side like Argentina, to write them off." said Gatland.

"It was a tough opening period but we took our two opportunities very well. I thought some of the footwork from George North for the second try and the pass for Alun Wyn was excellent – he put in a tremendous performance. That’s the way games go at times, you just have to take your opportunities," he added.

On the injury front, Hooker Richard Hibbard looks to be yet another casualty after he reportedly suffered ankle ligament damage. He is the second Welsh hooker to be ruled out of the tournament, following Matthew Rees' unavailability due to a serious neck injury.

On a positive note, exciting winger Leigh Halfpenny came through unscathed and looks as though he will be fully fit for his first ever world cup.

Highlights of the other matches will be posted soon. If you have anything in particular you'd like featured on the site this coming week, please post a request.

Time: 05:12


Saturday, August 20, 2011

TMO calls a forward pass after All Blacks appear to have scored

Earlier today the Springboks beat the All Blacks 18-5 in their Tri Nations encounter in Port Elizabeth. Here's a quick look at one of the big talking points from the game.

You can have a look at the incident yourself below, but in a nutshell, Israel Dagg broke the line and was pulled down short of the tryline, then popped the ball to Jimmy Cowan with a pass that went forward. Cowan crossed over, placed the ball, and it looked like it would be called a try.

Referee George Clancy and his assistant ref missed it, or possibly had some doubts, and there appeared to be some questions over the grounding so he called for TMO Johan Meuwesen, who after saying there was no problem with the grounding, then offered further advice.

"Do you need any other information before the goal line?", said Meuwesen, to which Clancy responded in the affirmative, only to be told there was a forward pass. Clancy then ruled a forward pass without hesitation.

This is, unless otherwise stated by the IRB in a directive that the majority of us are unaware of, not part of the TMO protocol. Therefore Meuwesen was technically in the wrong, even if the decision was correct. It's a bit bizarre really, but that piece of initiative will come under criticism.

Some extracts from the laws state the follow, under law 6.A.6 REFEREE CONSULTING WITH OTHERS

'(b) A match organiser may appoint an official who uses technological devices. If the referee is unsure when making a decision in in-goal involving a try being scored or a touch down, that official may be consulted.

The official may be consulted if the referee is unsure when making a decision in in-goal with regard to the scoring of a try or a touch down when foul play in in-goal may have been involved.

The official may be consulted if the referee or assistant referees are unsure if a player was or was not in touch when attempting to ground the ball to score a try.'

There have been incidents in the past where a similar thing has occurred, but because of the limitations of the law, the wrong decision was made, for the sake of the officials making sure they're doing a good job. There's huge amounts of irony in that.

So while a bad call was made, Clancy and Meuwesen will now have to face up to the fact that there may well be repercussions of them taking the initiative, to make the right decision.

Whether you watched the game live or are seeing it for the first time now, what are you feelings on what took place? Do you think that this might help extend the TMO capabilities in future, or should they both be reprimanded, and we make sure this never happens again?

Time: 02:09


Friday, August 19, 2011

A double dose of Plays of the Week from the Rugby Club

It's the end of the week, another interesting one in the world of rugby, and there's only 21 days left to till the world cup. Today we've got a double helping of Plays of the Week, which features some of the best bits from the last two weeks.

It's not long to go now and while the final few rounds of warm-up games, and the Tri Nations, take place, teams are frantically looking to not only find their form leading up to the big tournament, but also their best combinations. Avoiding injury is a bonus too, something some sides have already struggled with.

Up north it's difficult to gauge where some of the sides are at, as it could be said that England and Wales both look like they need to work on being more clinical, while Ireland's big test will come this weekend as they meet France again, hoping to overturn the loss of a few days back.

In the big 3, New Zealand seem to be, as per the usual trend, heading into the world cup as favourites. Their rivals the Wallabies, with all the ingredients on paper, have this week dropped one of their most experienced backs, and changed their captain. Whether that will come back to haunt them or not, we'll only find out in two months time.

The Springboks, an older group, have all the experience needed, but aren't producing the goods. A good win against the All Blacks tomorrow will go a long way towards getting their mindset right before they travel to New Zealand. A few injuries seem to be hampering them too though, with the big loss of integral forward Juan Smith being announced just yesterday.

Aside from the RWC hype, the Currie Cup and ITM Cup are keeping on keeping on, as well as club rugby in Australia. Today's Plays of the Week post from Fox Sports does what they do best, as we're treated to a summary of the funniest, dirtiest, and best bits from not one, but two weekends of brilliant rugby action. Enjoy.

If you've seen last week's episode, skip to 2:32 and you can jump straight into the latest.

Time: 04:52


O2 Inside Line - Episode 13

After two tests between England and Wales, opinions are varied as to where each side stands in terms of Rugby World Cup preparations, and importantly, form. This week on O2 Inside Line Will Greenwood steps in for Austin Healey, and has a positive outlook on England's chances.

Greenwood usually has an optimistic outlook on life, and rugby, and his views on England are no different as he feels that despite losing to Wales in Cardiff, they created chances, which is something they can work with.

"If England had not created any chances and lost then it would be time for panic stations. There were five or six proper chances that were not taken which is frustrating but the wheel does not need re-inventing," he said.

"So there are some questions that Martin Johnson still has to resolve. But not being one-eyed, not wearing rose-tinted spectacles, I still, still believe that this is a very, very good England side, a very powerful England side."

Abi Griffiths and Will were also able to have a chat to world cup winners Andy Gomarsall, Trevor Woodman, and Josh Lewsey, to get their views on where they see their time positioned going into the tournament in a few week's time. Their opinions might surprise you.

To get the inside scoop on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, sign up for alerts and watch O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at O2InsideLine.com


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shane Williams' great try saving tackle on big Matt Banahan

One of the more memorable - and most requested - moments of the Wales vs England game in Cardiff this weekend was this excellent try saving tackle in what should have been a sure thing for England.

Matt Banahan got shifted onto the wing in place of ace finisher Chris Ashton, who possibly would have done a better job of scoring the try. In fairness to Banahan though, and not to take anything away from courageous Shane, the pass from Mike Tindall was a bit loopy (despite what Stuart Barnes says).

Banahan was also a bit flat, so all in all it was a chance that England should have taken.

Williams however, at 5ft 7 and up against 6ft 7 Banahan, had other ideas, as he used the big guy's weight brilliantly, pulling him down and with James Hook nearby, Wales managed to not only prevent the try, but affect the turnover.

It's difficult to judge whether it was more a case of bad finishing, or brilliant tackling. I suppose we'll just go with both, and give the credit to Williams, who throughout his career has had to deal with being one of the smallest guys on the park, yet will no doubt go down as a Welsh legend.

Williams, now 34, will be retiring after the world cup, so is fired up to have a great final tournament. He remains humble though, citing the other talent in the squad as a reason for him having to work extra hard to be a first choice player.

"You know one slip-up, or if the guy in your position has a great game and hits a bit of form, you could be sitting back home when the World Cup is going on in New Zealand," he said recently.

"There are no sure things these days, and that is great because it ensures there is no complacency with guys just assuming they are going to get picked. There are a lot of youngsters who are really impressing in training and have had great seasons with their regions. That's great for Welsh rugby and keeps everyone on their toes," he added.

Who would be your first choice wingers for Wales for the RWC, and England for that matter?

Time: 01:00


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

France withstand Ireland comeback to win first of two match series

France are upbeat following their 19-12 win over Ireland on Saturday in what was another Rugby World Cup warm-up match. Ireland fielded a stronger side than the one that played against Scotland a week before, but were without Brian O'Driscoll.

France looked in control of the game with a 13-3 halftime lead, but Ireland came back with a few penalties later in the game. Vincent Clerc scored his eighth try against Ireland, moving him into third place on France's all time tryscorers list, with 25 in total.

Coach Mark Lievremont said that they still have plenty of room to improve ahead of the world cup. "We never gave up hope of making progress! Of course there was hope because we have a lot of quality players. This first match, given that it is always difficult to begin a new season and to find your rhythm, has in any case given us that hope.

"Even if these matches have nothing at stake, they are still test matches. When one sees the intensity, the hard tackling on both sides, they are anything but friendly matches. Everyone is hungry to mark his territory, to raise their morale, to reassure themselves, and to make progress. In terms of all those things it was a good match," he added.

Ireland meanwhile are boosted by the return of Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon Darcy for the next match between the two sides, in Dublin this coming weekend. O'Driscoll has recovered from a neck injury, while Darcy returns after ankle surgery. Stephen Ferris, who had a lengthy lay-off following knee surgery, will play off the bench.

"Although I haven't been able to do a huge amount of contact during this pre-season, I've put myself in a position to make sure I'm doing everything up to that contact point," said O'Driscoll.

"I've been working on things like footwork and being in the right place at ruck time. I'd like to be up to speed after three games, but I will feel a lot better after playing this weekend."

How did you rate the performances of the two sides respectively?

Time: 08:38


Canada make it two from two against the USA Eagles

Canada beat the USA Eagles for the second week in succession as they came away from Infinity Park in Colorado with an impressive 27-7 victory on Saturday.

We're getting closer to rugby world cup kick off time, so while there's lots of frantic dev work and planning going on behind the scenes with RD, we're also aiming to keep you updated on what's going on around the world of rugby.

A few of the weekend's matches were covered yesterday, but there's still some not touched on, with this being one of them, as rivals Canada and the USA met in Colorado for the second of their warm-up matches. Canada won the first game 28-22 in Toronto.

Canada had a few men sent from the field temporarily in the first half, but remained on top having scored some nice tries and ultimately, they took advantage of the US errors. The home side came close following a brilliant break from Biarritz's Zee Ngwenya, but they were held up over the line as Louis Stanfill ran it in.

"Obviously we're very disappointed with the result. It was frustrating as we played a lot of good rugby, we dominated field position and possession, but once again like last week we let in three tries from long range turnovers," said Eagles coach Eddie O'Sullivan.

"We got punished harshly, as a lot of times when we turned the ball over we had Canada in trouble. So those were big plays that went against us. Our continuity is good, we're playing through a lot of phases. But we're not being clinical enough, turning over the ball at crucial times. It's something we need to fix before we get to New Zealand," he added.

The USA next face Japan in Tokyo, while Canada will travel to Australia.

Time: 10:13
Credit: Thanks once again to bcrugbynews.com for the extended highlights


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wales bounce back to beat England at the Millennium Stadium

Wales defeated England 19-9 at the Millennium Stadium this past weekend in what was a good Rugby World Cup warm-up for them, and a match that the visitors would rather forget. The home side now have some big injury concerns though, with the world cup just three weeks away.

James Hook scored 13 points in the second half, including a try, as Wales took advantage of their opportunities, while England struggled to convert on all their possession, an area that Martin Johnson was displeased with.

"I've never seen a game like it, to dominate like that and not have the points," said Johnson. "Then we made too many errors in the second half. We lost cohesion in the last 20. We had a real stranglehold on the game in terms of possession and let it slip.

"I am disappointed but it was the strangest game I have seen," he added.

What's disappointing for Wales is that following the win, injuries to a few players have raised concerns. Gavin Henson looks to be out of the World Cup entirely, having injured his wrist, while Rhys Priestland has a thigh strain, adding to the broken leg of Morgan Stoddart. Key front rower Gethin Jenkins will not take part in their opening RWC game against South Africa.

Young skipper Sam Warburton was naturally over the moon with the win though. "We’ve put a lot of effort in over the last two months and the boys are pretty pleased that we’ve got the reward," he said.

Based on the last two weeks, who do you see going further in the RWC, Wales or England?

Time: 03:59


Courageous Wallabies beat the Springboks in Durban

The Wallabies got a massive boost towards their Tri Nations and Rugby World Cup ambitions as they beat the Springboks 14-9 in Durban on Saturday, causing panic stations for the home side, who had picked a strong team.

Defense was a huge feature of the Wallabies play, as they took a leaf out of the All Blacks book and upped the intensity as both sides smashed into each other, causing some massive collisions. What it showed is that while they've always been a tremendously talented side, these Wallabies have what it takes in the physical stakes too.

The Springboks on the other side, having picked close to their strongest side possible, look rusty, with not much time left to get things together before heading off to New Zealand for the World Cup. There are also concerns over the state of John Smit, with it looking as though he will miss the test against the All Blacks.

Wallaby coach Robbie Deans was more than satisfied with the win, and their prep going forward.

"In terms of preparation there's no doubt it's great. We played against the most experienced Bok side tonight on their home soil and their current World Cup selection, essentially," he said.

"I was proud of the resilience we showed. We created opportunities and didn't finish them. It would have been easy for the group to go into decline but they stuck at it, they were good in the contact and I believe we deserved the result."

Springbok coach Peter De Villiers felt that the Boks were in it and shouldn't be too concerned with the result, saying that they only lost it on the scoreboard.

"We controlled the game in the first half, but it just shows that if you don't take the chances that come your way, it is very difficult. Then again, you expect experienced guys to convert their efforts into points," he said.

The Springboks take on the All Blacks in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

There's been a slight change to the normal flow of things on here, but highlights and clips from the rest of the weekend's matches will be posted soon.

Time: 05:00


Friday, August 12, 2011

O2 Inside Line - RWC Warm-up number two

Wales and England meet at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff tomorrow for the second of their Rugby World Cup warm-up matches, so it's time to catch up with Austin and Abi to get their thoughts on the game, and see what the England squad have been up to.

Last weekend we saw England in all black at Twickenham as they beat Wales in what turned out to be a tight match. Tomorrow things will be back to normal, with England in their new all white strip as they aim to pick up another confidence boosting win.

Ugo Monye was there in the stands with Austin, which provided quite a unique view on the game and some great back and forth between the two of them, with Ugo explaining how he's itching to get out there again for England.

Cooking was on the menu midweek, as some of the players took part in a cooking challenge, which provided a nice time out from the hard work on the training paddock. Front rowers Matt Stevens and Lee Mears then sat down with Abi for some tea and scones, and a Tweet Q&A.

Enjoy the game tomorrow, and if you have any thoughts on how you think it's going to go down in Cardiff, feel free to share your thoughts as a comment below.

To get the inside scoop on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, sign up for alerts and watch O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at O2InsideLine.com


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sevens legend Waisale Serevi answers your questions

A few weeks back you were given the chance to submit questions for legend of the game Waisale Serevi via the RD Facebook Page. Three questions were picked and posed to the great man, so today you can hear his responses.

Serevi, arguably one of the greatest Sevens players of all time, now lives in the US, after leaving Fiji post retirement. He and his family have started a new life, and along with his company, Serevi, are looking to make a difference in rugby not only over there, but back in the pacific islands too.

His Island Kings project features a range of T-Shirts for Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa, with partial proceeds from sales going towards the teams and players, helping them out when competing in international tournaments. He is also involved in setting up rugby camps, with a team of coaches helping youth players.

The Serevi Rugby Academy is another thing he's involved in, which sees him link up with legendary New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens. In the following video, the great man answered three questions, as submitted by RD Facebook fans. They not only got their questions answered, but will receive signed Island Kings T-Shirts.

One of the questions in particular can be applied to any one of you, so if it were up to you, who would you love to see playing Sevens?

You can find out more on the Island Kings project and everything else Waisale is up to by checking out the Serevi Website.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Midweek Madness - David Mead's one handed pick-up try in the NRL

If you've followed RD over the years, you'll know that it's very rare for Rugby League to be posted on here. Occasionally though, we'll come across a brilliant piece of skill that is cross-code transferable, and therefore needs to be shared.

This is one of those occasions, so as much as you might dislike the code of League for whatever reason, if this were scored in normal rugby, it would be a sensational try. It wasn't scored in Union though, it was scored in the NRL in Australia, but we'll give it the credit it deserves anyway, as it's a fantastic piece of skill by young David Mead of the Gold Coast Titans.

Following a cross-kick from Scott Prince that looked to have gone too far, Mead simply reached down and scooped it up on the half-volley as the ball miraculously stuck to his hand, before he reeled it in and dived over for the try.

"I think it was a bit flukey, to be honest. I saw it and I thought it hit the line, but I'm pretty happy about scoring it. It just stuck. I don't know how, but I'm glad it did," Mead said later.

Titans assistant coach Steve Murphy said that he's the type of player who is capable of pulling off those bits of skill. "I can’t believe he caught that ball. It was just one of those freak things, those amazing things. He’s got those in him, Dave," said Murphy.

It was his second try of the night and a brilliant effort that quite simply needs to be seen by sports fans around the world, whether you're into League or not.



Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Danny Care's great sportsmanship as Morgan Stoddart gets badly injured

Welsh back Morgan Stoddart will not be going to the World Cup following a severe leg injury he suffered on the weekend. If any positive can be found in such a horrible incident, it was the way that the players around him reacted.

Stoddart broke his leg in two places as he was tackled by Delon Armitage during England's win at Twickenham on Saturday. While there were no replays shown at the time, and we've chosen not to include one here, the way that Danny Care in particular reacted should be commended.

You can see in the clip that England had good turnover ball, and while Care had the option to fling it out and only then attempt to get hold of medics to help Stoddart, he instead alerted referee Steve Walsh to the situation immediately, and chose not to make the pass. It was a small gesture, but a genuine mark of true sportsmanship that should not go unnoticed.

Wales' Jamie Roberts, another class act, clearly appreciated it as he tweeted after the game "Great sportsmanship from Danny Care, great to see."

Care, being the good man he is, played down the incident, saying "Anybody would have stopped the play." He added "It's such a sad way to get injured but that’s the sport we are in."

Roberts went on to say that they will be playing for Stoddart this coming weekend, as they were all affected by what happened and are devastated for the Scarlets flyer.

"Losing to England is always heartbreaking but the biggest thing for me, and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all of the players, is Morgan Stoddart breaking his leg. People talk about these games and staying injury-free but unfortunately for Morgan he’s certainly pulled the short straw.

"It is bitter-sweet for him as he was playing well and looked very sharp," he added.

At this time of year, it's inevitable that players will get injured in the lead up to the World Cup. Stoddart looks to be the first unfortunately casualty, a side-effect of playing the game.

"It's the harsh reality, players have got to play, going to a World Cup. The medics do everything they can to keep them in one piece. It's not nice to see something like that," said Martin Johnson.

Stoddart's subsequent operation was successful, and he will return home to the Scarlets to begin a rehabilitation program, with his time out of the game uncertain at this stage.

The video below shows both the injury in real time, and the way that Care handled the incident. If you'd like to leave a message of support for Morgan as a comment below, I'm sure we can make a plan for him to read them at some stage.

Time: 01:21


Monday, August 08, 2011

Canada beat the USA in game one of their Rugby World Cup warm-ups

Canada and the USA played the first of their Rugby World Cup warm-up games at Toronto's BMO Stadium on Saturday. Canada won the fiercely contested game 28-22 in front of 10 621 fans.

Canada got the better of their rivals with some well taken tries in front of a passionate home crowd. They had trailed 15-10 at halftime, but a strong second half got them the win.

"The performance wasn't how we would have liked it but any Test match is a challenge and a real battle and I was very pleased with how our guys stuck to it in the second half," said Canadian head coach Kieran Crowley.

Canada open their World Cup campaign against Tonga on September 14th, so are looking to get as much match form as possible, and of course confidence ahead of the tournament in New Zealand. It was also a great outing for the fans, who obviously had plenty to cheer about.

"It's pretty great to see all the flags waving and seeing the people enjoying themselves," said Pat Riordan, Canadian captain.

One of the stand out bizarre moments in the match was when big Jebb Sinclair looked to have scored a great try in the corner. In the ensuing chaos as the try was being overuled, the American's chose to take a quick lineout, which somehow rebounded off a player and ended up back in Sinclair's hands, only for him to dive over the for try. Unfortunately the camera crew didn't capture the moment properly, but it was amusing to say the least.

The two sides will meet again next Saturday in Glendale, Colorado.

Time: 04:31
Credit: Thanks to bcrugbynews.com for the highlights


Sunday, August 07, 2011

England come away with a win over Wales at Twickenham

England wore black as they hosted Wales at a packed Twickenham Stadium on Saturday and came away with what was in the end a tight 23-19 win, despite having at times looked more convincing than the scoreline perhaps suggests.

At 18-7 early in the second half it looked as though England were doing everything needed to leave HQ with a convincing win, yet Wales picked things up and made England scramble on defence. Jonny Wilkinson did what he does best though, keeping the scoreboard ticking along, racking up 13 points of his own thanks to his trusty boot. A drop goal with either foot included.

"Jonny managed it well but we didn't finish it off and in the end it was very close," said coach Martin Johnson. "We wanted a proper game, a Test match, it's what you have in the World Cup.

"If you beat teams by 70 points, everyone says you are a superstar. The good thing is there are things to work on for next week."

Young Manu Tuilagi, who got his first Test start, scored a typically well taken try, and looked menacing on defence and with ball in hand. At just 20 years young, he did his Rugby World Cup ambitions no harm at all with a solid all-round showing.

Lewis Moody unfortunately hobbled off with knee troubles, and Wales' Morgan Stoddart looks to have broken his leg really badly, tragically ruling him out of rugby for the next few months.

Both sides will need to lift their overall intensity over the next few weeks, but will no doubt continue to toy with key combinations as they build towards New Zealand next month.

Flyhalf battle: Did you like the look of Rhys Priestland at ten for Wales, and who would you have starting for England as first choice - Wilkinson or Toby Flood?

Time: 04:33


Scotland snatch a win over Ireland with late try at Murrayfield

Scotland scored a late try to beat an experimental Ireland side 10-6 in a low scoring World Cup warm-up match at Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon.

Having had good possession and try scoring opportunities, Scotland left it till late in the game before they strung together a try scoring phase of play that they could capitalise on. The low scoring nature of the match was as much about the good defence from Ireland and as it was the poor handling and skill execution from the home side.

When they did finally score, it was a very well taken try by London Irish back Joe Ansbro, who had been set up brilliantly by Nick de Luca.

"Nick and I have played alongside each other quite a bit now and I just knew what he was going to do - the feed to me was perfect and thankfully I was able to finish it off," said Ansbro.

For the Ireland side, positives came from the performance of British & Irish Lions fullback Rob Kearney, who returned after a long injury lay off and got through unscathed, playing well.

"It's a huge relief to be playing again. I'd been nervous all week - I don't usually get nerves beforehand," he said. "I came across some big obstacles. The result wasn't what we wanted but from a personal perspective it was good to get through it. I felt really good at times, but was blowing at other times. All in all I was happy and felt pretty comfortable."

How do you view the performances of the two sides in terms of RWC preparations?

Time: 03:46


All Blacks retain the Bledisloe Cup with convincing win over Australia

There was a special feeling at Eden Park as the All Blacks defeated the Wallabies 30-14 in front of an expectant Auckland crowd, retaining the Bledisloe Cup and putting themselves in a great position to take the 2011 Tri Nations title.

Yesterday there were a number on internationals taking place, with some sides looking more impressive than others. In fact, perhaps the All Blacks (of the New Zealand variety) were the only side that looked like anything worthy of taking the big title in a few months time. They're yards ahead of the opposition at this stage.

But, that is what these warm up games, and the Tri Nations, are all about.

The Wallabies were outplayed, and despite scoring a brilliant try through Digby Ioane, and a consolation try to flatter the scoreline, they were off the pace. New Zealand on the other hand, looked possessed, tackling everything that moved. They made 116 tackles, missing just 21.

Conrad Smith was playing on another level, while for Australia, Will Genia and Quade Cooper seemed anonymous behind a pack that wasn't getting much go-forward.

In many ways it looked like a dress rehearsal for the World Cup for them, and if they play like for the next two months, will be very tough to beat in front of their home crowd.

Maintaining that level of intensity will be the challenge, and a fascinating prospect for rugby fans around the globe. For now though, they're in the driving seat of this Tri Nations campaign, way out in front on 9 points having played two and won two.

They will play South Africa in two weeks time, before returning to New Zealand to face the Wallabies again on 27 August. We'll have highlights of the rest of yesterday's games shortly.

Time: 04:05


Friday, August 05, 2011

O2 Inside Line - England prepare for Wales

As well as the big Bledisloe Cup game tomorrow between New Zealand and Australia, there's a few other internationals, as Scotland host Ireland, and England play Wales. Here's the latest O2 Inside Line, focussing on the latter.

As you will have noticed, most of the prematch talk has been about England's all black away jersey, which they'll be wearing for the first time tomorrow. For the past few week's opinions have varied, as they did when we posted a sneak peak on here a few days back.

In this week's O2 Inside Line - a feature that was popular during the Six Nations - we get to see Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths in the new tops as they discuss tomorrow's game. It's a first outing for a few players, with Manu Tuilagi in particular falling under the spotlight as he partners up with Riki Flutey in the midfield. Matt Stevens also returns after his lengthy time out.

We're taken behind the scenes with James Haskell as he tries out a few new looks make-up wise, and Austin, Ben Youngs, and Danny Care have a spin-pass competition, with former international Healey faring well.

It's an enjoyable episode for England fans and neutrals alike, and we'll see more over the next few weeks in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. For now though, what is your prediction for the match, and how important it is in relation to the upcoming World Cup?

To get the inside scoop on the squad, as well as fun features, match analysis and up to the minute player interviews with presenters Austin Healey and Abi Griffiths, sign up for alerts and watch O2 Inside Line on RFU TV at O2InsideLine.com


Friday Funnies - Jason Eaton pokes Brent Ward's bottom

Last weekend Taranaki pulled off an impressive 39-11 win over Auckland in their ITM Cup meeting in New Plymouth. With things evenly poised in the first half, Jason Eaton took it upon himself to poke a bit of fun at Brent Ward.

Yes, poke. Not the kind you do on Facebook either. This was more along the lines of John Hopoate, as the Kiwi commentators eluded to, between their giggling fits.

Hopoate was a Rugby League player in the NRL, who was suspended in 2001 for 12 weeks after he stuck his finger where the sun don't shine on not one, but three players. In the same match. He claimed it was just a bit of gamesmanship as he attempted to 'give them a wedgie with my finger', but they felt slightly differently, resulting in the big suspension and Hopoate making headline news around the world.

"It wasn't a wedgie. That's when your pants are pulled up your arse. I think I know the difference between a wedgie and someone sticking their finger up my bum," said Peter Jones, one of the unfortunate victims.

In Eaton's case, Brent Ward got the wrong end of the stick, as Eaton couldn't resist having a little go at him. The good news is it was all just a laugh, nothing too sinister, and no further charges will come into play. Ward did walk a little funny afterwards though.

Time: 01:09


Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Rugby Club Plays of the Week - What a beauty

It's been a great day here for Rugbydump, for a number of reasons. I'll get to that shortly, but for now, here's the very latest Plays of the Week from the Rugby Club. You won't want to miss this one, it's a classic.

So as mentioned above, there's been lots happening here today, hence only one post today, and it happening so late in the evening. The Rugbydump app, which has been spoken about for a few months now, is being submitted to Apple/Android stores tomorrow. It's an exciting time for the site and in a few days time we'll mark our 5th anniversary, something I am very proud of.

There's a few other things going on too, which you'll notice on here soon, but one of the other biggies is that the Rugbydump Facebook Page reached 140 000 fans, or 'likes' today! The growth in the last year has been phenomenal, and if you're on Facebook but still not yet part of the page, best you hit like asap, as you're missing out on news, updates, and FB RD love.

So enough about all the off field stuff, back to the action with this week's Plays, and yet another brilliant instalment from the guys at Fox Sports in Australia. In fact, this week is one of the best with so much variety in there, I'm pretty sure you'll watch it more than once just to make sure you didn't miss anything. I know I have.

There's not only big hits, but some brutal collisions, some wonderful tries - some of which were featured here on RD during the week - and a bit of the usual light fluff, with dancing girls, flick passes, and even a poke in the bum. Really.

Enjoy, and thanks for the support over the years. The site and community is only going to get stronger from now on in, so stick around. Cheers.

Time: 02:27
Note: Thanks to VanillaJombi


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