Thursday, October 30, 2014
Toulon second rower Romain Taofifenua has been suspended for three weeks following an Independant Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin today. He was cited for making contact with the head of Ulster centre Stuart Olding in the Round 2 Champions Cup match.
The France capped lock could be seen competing for the ball at a ruck, and by swinging his foot forward in what appeared to be an attempt to kick it loose, he kicked Olding in the head, resulting in the centre needing medical attention.
Taofifenua was cited by match Citing Commissioner Peter Larter of England for contravening Law 10.4 (c), Kicking an opponent. A player must not kick an opponent.
The IRB Sanctions for Foul Play state that this offence carries the following entry points - Low End: 4 weeks; Mid-Range: 8 weeks; Top End: 12+ to 52 weeks.
Independant Judicial Officer, Christopher Quinlan, heard evidence from the offender, his club's legal representative and from the tournament Disciplinary Officer. He determined that the offence was reckless and warranted a red card.
He did say however that it was at the low end of the table (4 weeks), and reduced the suspension by one week due to Taofifenua's good conduct during the hearing. He is free to play again on Monday 17 November 2014, but has the right to appeal the decision.
Do you think 3 weeks is a bit harsh, or a fair punishment for such reckless play?
Posted at 5:21 pm | 22 comments
Sonny Bill Williams makes a return to the All Blacks this weekend, after having played rugby league in Australia for the last two years. His return comes a year out from the Rugby World Cup, giving him plenty of time to fit back in and make his case for regular selection.
This latest adidas Leave Your Mark video stars the code hopping back as he goes through his paces in the gym. It's inspirational stuff, and perhaps explains how he manages to call the shots in his career. Watching this, it's as if he never left.
"It's not so much about the game, it's about the prep. Running out there is the end product."
View the All Blacks team to take on the USA Eagles, and find out how to watch the Live Stream
Posted at 9:12 am | 8 comments
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Round two of the European Rugby Champions Cup produced some outstanding tries and excellent individual performances. George North in particular scored four tries for Northampton Saints, while other great tries were scored by Toulon, Clermont and Harlequins. This is our selection of the best.
Which is your favourite try from the round?
View more excellent five pointers in our Great Tries section
Posted at 9:48 am | 5 comments
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Canada A's Aaron Flagg made not one but two bone crunching hits in the same passage of play against Argentina Jaguars in the Americas Rugby Championship in Langford, BC recently. The big lock first hit number eight Facundo Isa, then got back up to smash centre Juan Ignacio Brez.
Impressive stuff from a tight forward, shifting around the park and timing the tackles perfectly.
View more great tackles and huge hits in our Big Hits section
Posted at 11:36 am | 5 comments
Monday, October 27, 2014
Fijian flyer Metuisela Talebula has been making his mark in the Top 14 this season with some sensational performances for Bordeaux, and on Thursday night he continued that fine form against London Welsh in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Talebula was actually the top try scorer in the French Top 14 last season, so the former Fiji Sevens star knows his way to the tryline, and given a sniff, usually finishes with aplomb.
Bordeaux-Begles recently played some beautiful rugby to thrash Castres 59-7, so they're in with a real shout this year and their 52-20 win away at the Kassam goes some way to confirm that.
They scored four first half tries, with Lucas Blanc, Talebula, Clement Maynadier and Matthew Clarkin all scoring to give them an imposing 31-6 lead at the half time break.
"There are no margins at the top of the Aviva Premiership or the Top 14. You have got no room and once you make a mistake you are toast basically," said London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.
By the end of the match they'd scored seven in total, with Pierre Bernard adding to his points with the boot, and Darly Domvo scoring twice, thanks also to Talebula.
The latter's finish to his first half try was outstanding, as Bordeaux counter-attacked from a turnover deep in their half, before he sprinted away then put the ball on the boot twice and collected to dot down in the corner in one motion.
It was supreme control and another example of the kind of talent Fijian rugby regularly produces.
Posted at 9:18 am | 6 comments
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Here are some great tips from the crew at Rugby Tonight, with Brian O'Driscoll, Rhys Priestland, Austin Healey and Martin Bayfield giving pointers on setting up and defending a drop goal. O'Driscoll also shares the best advice for preventing your nose from getting smashed.
Posted at 4:13 pm | 7 comments
Friday, October 24, 2014
Referee Nigel Owens has always fancied himself as a bit of a comedian on the field. The openly gay referee has actually done a bit of stand up comedy in his time, and also happens to be arguably the best referee in the world these days.
While he's been criticised as liking the spotlight a bit too much at times, there's no denying that he is a funny man, and if he lets the game flow and positively influences some of the classic matches we've seen of late - particularly in the Rugby Championship - then more power to him.
In the Harlequins vs Castres European Rugby Champions Cup game last Friday night Owens was on hand to spot a very skew Dave Ward lineout throw, and delivered this well timed comment.
If you didn't know already, Owens is gay, so the not straight comment was as amusing as it was refreshing to hear. You'd imagine it probably threw the front rowers slightly though.
You can view more of Owens' quips in the Related Posts below this, which include him telling off 30 grown men, pointing a player in the direction of a football field, and his 'This is not Soccer' line.
You can always watch a really interesting feature on him from ITV a few years back, where he talks about stand up comedy, steroid use and contemplating suicide. Those dark days are over, and now he simply excels on the field with his refereeing, and the occasional comedic sideshow.
Posted at 9:31 am | 15 comments