Wednesday, June 19, 2013
There were incredible scenes in France last night as the Junior World Championship served up two upset results, with both the defending champion Baby Boks and the always powerful Baby Blacks being defeated by Wales and England respectively.
Wales and England Under-20s will face off for the 2013 Junior World Championship title on Sunday, the first time two Northern Hemisphere sides have ever contested the final of such an event.
Wales achieved a last gasp 18-17 win over South Africa with a late converted try that came from a neat kick ahead, and conversion, but star youngester Sam Davies (the son of Nigel Davies).
"Sam's been very, very consistent to a particular high level during the course of this tournament with his kicking game and his attacking game. He deserved huge credit for that kick," said defence coach Richard Hodges.
A controversial try that appeared to be dropped over the line went the way of Wales, and in the end it was their determination that sealed the win. They're now relishing a meeting with arch rivals England, who beat New Zealand 33-21, in the final.
Four time champions New Zealand were defeated by England for the first time at age grade level.
"It's unbelievable – having not done well last year, we spoke to the new boys coming up and said we've really got to go for it this year. To beat New Zealand on its own is amazing," said England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie.
"Never come up against them, I thought they may have sneaked it at the end. But, to get into a final of a JWC in my last year is amazing.
South Africa and New Zealand will play for third place ahead of the Final on Sunday.
Highlights of South Africa vs Wales and New Zealand vs England are posted below. Final predictions?
Posted at 12:50 pm | 4 comments
Brumbies coach Jake White has described their 14-12 victory over the touring British and Irish Lions as one of the highlights of his life. It was the first midweek loss by the Lions since 1997, when they lost to Northern Transvaal in South Africa.
The Lions lost to an Australian provincial side for the first time in 42 years as their 2013 winning run came to an end with what coach Warren Gatland has called a 'reality check'.
The Kiwi coach picked somewhat of a scratch side to face the Brumbies, including no less than four players that had joined the squad just days prior to kick-off in Canberra.
The Brumbies themselves weren't at full strength however, missing the majority of their Wallaby players and fielding an inexperienced outfit, an aspect that thrilled coach Jake White.
"It's as high as it gets," said White after the famous win. "I've been lucky enough to win a senior and junior World Cup, but to beat the Lions, especially the way it was done, with a group of boys with 28 Test caps, of which one player (Clyde Rathbone) has 26, and [skipper Peter Kimlin] two.
"It's got to be as good as it gets in rugby union. It's a massive result. This is a very young group of players who only got together 18 months ago and no one would ever have dreamt that we would have achieve Super Rugby-wise but to also get a win against the Lions doesn't happen.
"The boys sitting in the Wallaby camp watching that will be thinking that it is doable now. The Wallabies probably thought that they faced a massive uphill battle. Now they are thinking that it is possible," said the Springbok's 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach.
Warren Gatland said that they lacked urgency and intensity in the first half, but there were positive signs in the second that they will be taking forward to the first Test on Saturday.
"It's part of being on tour. You regroup after you get a bit of a knock and you take your disappointment and it's how you respond to it, how this group of players respond to it this weekend. It's a reality check."
View extended highlights
Do you think the Wallabies now have the psychological edge going into the first Test?
Posted at 6:19 am | 33 comments
Monday, June 17, 2013
Drew Mitchell and the Waratahs got used to standing behind their posts on Saturday as they conceded five tries and Leigh Halfpenny slotted eight kicks at goal. Early on Mitchell made things a bit more interesting, showing a great piece of skill as he caught the ball between his feet.
You may have missed it live, but we've had many requests as it was clearly quite impressive.
His good mate Adam Ashley-Cooper caught one behind the back recently, which was also from a Halfpenny kick, and in the past John Eales was known to get up high and catch the ball before it went over. That was since outlawed, despite it being good fun to see whenever it happend.
This is just a little something extra that you might enjoy seeing, and trying during your next game.
Posted at 3:10 pm | 10 comments
This brutal tackle comes from a recent New Zealand schools rugby game between Wanganui Collegiate and St. Pauls Collegiate. It's been doing the rounds so if you haven't seen it yet, get ready to squirm in your seat.
St. Paul's Kip Fawcett made a great run as he split the defence in two then offloaded for a try-scoring pass. Unfortuntely in the process Ruslan Casey lined him up and smashed him.
It might be considered a late tackle but Casey seemed fully committed to it, with the hit producing a crunching (cracking?) sound that was heard around the ground, and brilliantly captured on camera.
Fawcett, who created the try from first phase possession from a scrum, got up somehow although he did look a fair bit shaken, but that's to be understood after one of the biggest hits of the season.
Enjoy big hits and brutal tackles? Check out our Big Hits and Dirty Play archives for more
Credit: Ben Sutherland
Posted at 12:08 pm | 23 comments
After another succesful week for the British and Irish Lions on tour, today's HSBC Lions Weekly brings us a video wrap-up of what's been happening both on and off the field, including thoughts from Jason Robinson and Brian O'Driscoll.
The third edition of this segment features a chat with Lions legend Robinson, who was there to watch the visitors defeat the Waratahs in Sydney. Robinson feels that the Lions have what it takes to win the Test series, with his prediction being a 2-1 result in their favour.
"Once a Lion always a Lion! The Lions are going to win 2-1. Australia are a fantastic team, and are going to be ready waiting for the Lions," said the world cup winner.
"Its going to be tough, its going to be fast but I really think.. and you have to go back to 1997 when the last Lions Tour was successful.. so I am hoping that 2013 will be the year of the Lion."
There is also some behind the scenes footage of when some of the squad went sailing around Sydney Harbour, and an interview with Brian O'Driscoll by Wallaby legend George Gregan.
More Lions news and features are available to view in our British and Irish Lions 2013 section
Posted at 8:36 am | 1 comments
Sunday, June 16, 2013
It's been an eventful weekend for the British and Irish Lions off the field but on it, they beat the Waratahs 47-17 in one of their best performances thus far on the tour. Since then three new players have been called into the squad.
Leigh Halfpenny contributed 30 points as the Lions claimed their fifth successive tour victory.
Despite the Lions almost scoring through Simon Zebo very early on, the Waratahs put up a good fight and were in the game for a long period of time before the visitors took control and scored some excellent tries, later running away with the victory.
Halfpenny scored twice and kicked eight kicks from eight attempts, further cementing his spot at first choice fullback for the Test series.
"It was a good effort and we're very pleased about the outcome," said Warren Gatland.
"To be fair the Waratahs took it to us but I think the boys handled it magnificently (and) in the end we were just too big and too powerful for them."
On the downside, Jamie Roberts limped off with a suspected torn hamstring. Three players have since been called into the squad, with Brad Barritt, Christian Wade and Shane Williams all set to play in their midweek game against the Brumbies. Billy Twelvetrees will also start.
View both teams for Tuesday here | Extended highlights
Posted at 7:30 pm | 18 comments
The shock news today is that Welsh Wizard Shane Williams has been called up to do a job for the Lions against the Brumbies on Tuesday. The other big news is that gasman and fan favourite Christan Wade will join him, with Brad Barrit flying in too.
London Waps' joint top try scorer Christan Wade will join up with the Lions squad on Monday. He was due to play in England's second Test against Argentina, but will instead wear red against the Brumbies, a move that will excite many fans that thought he should have been in the initial squad.
The other huge news of the day is that former Lions winger and Welsh legend Shane Williams has been called up to play on the other wing. The 36-year-old is currently playing rugby in Japan so has been keeping fit, including doing a bit of boxing for a charity event in Dubai recently.
He was going to be in Australia anyway, as a radio pundit, but his position with the Lions is understood to be only temporary, mainly based on the ease of bringing him in on short notice.
"We told him we needed him for one game – he was already halfway here and part of the reasoning behind that is that he is still playing and thinking about the travel of getting players here," said Warren Gatland, who is having to juggle his resources carefully in the lead up to the first Test.
The Lions injury toll has mounted and there are concerns over the fitness of stars George North and centre Jamie Roberts, the latter having limped off against the Waratahs. Manu Tuilagi still has a sore shoulder and Brian O'Driscoll's battered body needs to be looked after.
Wade and Williams will be alongside England centres Brad Barritt and Billy Twelvetrees, who were also called into the squad within the last few days. Rob Kearney gets his first start, while Scotland's Stuart Hogg will start at flyhalf again. Rory Best, also a late inclusion on tour, will captain the side.
Below is a quick wrap-up of the reaction to the Williams selection, including Twelvetrees, Hogg and Ben Youngs giving their thoughts. What do you think of Williams and Wade's inclusions?
British and Irish Lions team: Rob Kearney, Christian Wade, Brad Barritt, Billy Twelvetrees, Shane Williams, Stuart Hogg, Ben Youngs; Ryan Grant, Rory Best (captain), Matt Stevens, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Sean O'Brien, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Conor Murray, Owen Farrell, Simon Zebo
Brumbies team: Ruan Smith, Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Leon Power, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Colby Faingaa, Peter Kimlin (c), Ian Prior, Matt Toomua, Clyde Rathbone, Andrew Smith, Tevita Kuridrani, Henry Speight, Jesse Mogg,
Replacements: Josh Mann-Rea, Jean-Pierre Smith, Chris Cocca, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jordan Smiler, Mark Swanepoel, Robbie Coleman, Zack Holmes
Posted at 7:24 am | 46 comments