Toulon do the double with Top 14 win


Closing montage from Heineken Cup final


Jebb Sinclair red card for leading elbow


Eddie Butler on Jonny Wilkinson career


George Pisi hit makes Shane Geraghty ill


The Top 5 French Flair moments


Courtney Lawes crunches Charlie Hodgson


Carlos Spencer & Stephen Larkham fight


Catch up with Sam Warburton

Monday, January 21, 2008

Doug Howlett smashes a Wasp

Doug Howlett smashes a Wasp

When it's as windy, rainy and just plain miserable as it was when Munster hosted Wasps at Thomond Park on Saturday afternoon, it's very difficult for star wingers to shine in the wet conditions.

Doug Howlett is different though. Munster's new signing is always looking for work, which has become a trademark of his game. Not only that, he gives his all in everything he does, as seen here by this fantastic chase to flatten young Wasps wing David Doherty as he catches the ball.

Reminds me of Howlett dealing with the pesky Earl Rose last season . This hit was similar in stature, but was most impressive for the way that Howlett chased so hard and timed the tackle perfectly, keeping it legal all the while.

Watch how Doherty actually bounces off Howlett he got hit so solidly. Great stuff Dougie. It just goes to show that if you're a wing who isn't getting any quality ball, or the conditions aren't suited to you, you can still make an impact.

Posted at 7:12 am | 32 comments

Viewing 32 comments

Kewne January 21, 2008 6:51 am

Always nice to see a perfectly timed tackle like that. Not that nice to be on the receiving end :P

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 9:11 am

Doug can tackle - ask Earl Rose.I have to say though, the standard of Northern hemisphere rugby is pretty low - unless you enjoy watching forwards wrestling.The funny thing is that they dont even impact as hard as Southern players do - its mostly pick and gos close where the players aren't running hard at the oppo. Makes the contact more one of stamina then immediate power v power (attacker trying to break a tackle, defender trying to knock him backward).Hopefully all the imports spice up the league - I'm falling asleep watching it as its the only rugby on at the moment.

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Rawling January 21, 2008 9:54 am

At least he hung onto the ball!Which is more than one can say for Wasps in general in that match.>.>

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JS January 21, 2008 12:07 pm

"I have to say though, the standard of Northern hemisphere rugby is pretty low - unless you enjoy watching forwards wrestling."Do you play at all?!The reason northern hemisphere rugby is a lot of pick up and go's is because of the conditions we play in, a perfect example is this video, its cold, wet, windy and bloody horrible if you use these long passes out to the backs like you see in southern hemisphere the ball could get blown by the wind, dropped by the backs (cos its wet/muddy) or caught...and what happens when he catches it... he can put in a large burst of speed but any sudden change of direction could land him flat on his back....I think what you mean is Northern hemisphere rugby is not aesthetically pleasing to people who can't appreciate what its like playing in those conditions....

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 12:40 pm

Yup, I play, and maybe predictably, I'm an outside back.The conditions definitely play a part, and I'll happily admit that their is also something intriguing in forward battles, but the fact is that skill levels amongst players up North, bar a few is lower than in the South.Furthermore, if you think NZ conditions are always good, you are mistaken - the difference is that NZ players can overcome that.You are obviously not a back, since you think long passes and running rugby are the same thing. Aesthetically pleasing? I think not - dont let one fluke World Cup fool you - the stats show that the South usually beat the North, irrespective of in what conditions they play.

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 12:50 pm

I great smash. Just like he was doing to that car in the hotel car park in London after the world cup

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 1:40 pm

As a Brit i prefer to watch the Super 14, because of the style of rugby which is played.At the end of the day though, to say they standard of Northern Hemisphere rugby is poor, well it's full stupidity.You take the top 10 teams from Europe, and put them against the single top team in the South... 9/10 the North would win.The level of skill down South is lower, because of the way your leagues and such are set up... No relegation etc. Give it 5 years and if you haven't fixed it you'll be an unquestionable 2nd rate force in the game.Where did attractive rugby get anyone in the World Cup?

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 2:07 pm

SA, Oz and NZ will be ruling the roost for years to come - and lets not just look at World Cups, but at all Internationals.If somebody would be so kind as to dig up the stats, you will see that the vast majority of games are won by the South.The only thing that MIGHT lead to a general decline in rugby in the South is the exodus of players up North.Seems some people are getting sensitive about this. I dont have any axe to grind with northern rugby - I'm just giving my opinion based on what I have seen. You are welcome to differ. But to think that the top 10 Northern teams would beat the top Northern team...

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Peej January 21, 2008 2:18 pm

Just to throw my opinion out there....It depends on which teams play. You wont play a Guiness Prem team against a super 14 because the latter is regional. Throw, say, Leicester, Gloucester or Wasps in against the NPC Auckland rather than the Blues, and the result would be very different.As a point on Northern Hemisphere rugby; it has little to do with climate conditions. France play a free flowing style, British clubs dont. Yet at the World Cup the All Blacks were undone by French forward power (don't complain about forward passes and harsh sin bins, we've heard it all before, and guess what, we're still not convinved! It's rugby, it happens) as were Australia. Twice. The team that won the thing combined aggressive, dominating forward power with aggressive running in the backs. I agree, perhaps the skill levels are higher in the SH, but real skill involves playing the conditions, i.e. adopting a tight game when its pouring with rain and blowing a gale, or the opposite when conditions are favourable. Finally, a note on the hit, utterly fantastic, but all credit to Doherty for not spilling the ball forward at the moment of impact, as well as presenting the ball far enough back so his team mates could secure and so that Howlett, who was on his feet pretty quickly, couldnt get to it.

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 3:29 pm

great example of Southern Hemisphere tackling and Northern Hempishere ball retention.....

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 4:00 pm

English rugby seems to be very narrow minded. Their rugby is simple and effective, u could say boring, however when a team matches them in power they lose everytime eg South africa vs england. They need to expand their game and keep their solidility but play more running rugby like the welsh. The problem with welsh rugby is that they are not solid, but when they are they can win grandslams like in 2005

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 6:04 pm

The thing is though, the stats mean nothing. Because all the important games, that are worth something, you crumble.With exception to South Africa, and they can't be used as an example of SH dominance as they play the same style of rugby that you're putting the NH down for.Your argument is like saying "hey, i beat Linford Christie in a 100m sprint race twice on an old field, just for the laugh... But at the olympics(an event worth something) he smashed me to pieces"That is your argument. Keep your stats. SH are bottlers, with exception to SA, who as stated, play the 'boring' style of NH rugby you're a critic of.I look forward to another four years of NZ arrogance... Only for you to predictably crumble at the next World Cup, have a good 'whunge' about how you were robbed; and repeat the cycle for a few more decades.

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 6:15 pm

one stat i know of is that the actual difference in tries per game wasn't that different between super 14 and Heineken cup. I think its 5 per game in S14 and 4 per game in HC. I could be wrong though

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 7:07 pm

i think leister would destroy any super 14 team if they played in the NH, and the other way round in the SHGr8 hit

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geraint January 21, 2008 7:18 pm

Wow there's a lot of stupid comments here. How did NH and SH become a part of this conversation? To say the standard of rugby is low in the Heineken Cup is the stupidest thing i have ever heard. And i don't think we'd win 9 out of 10 games against SH teams. Super 14 and Heineken Cup are both excellent tournaments.

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 8:15 pm

Why do the north keep buying southern players then if they aren't as skilled to adapt to the northern conditions?Er, um, er, um...Southern teams are bottlers?World cups = 6Winners from North = 1Winners from South = 5"don't complain about forward passes and harsh sin bins, we've heard it all before, and guess what, we're still not convinved! It's rugby, it happens"Tell that to Mark Cueto who won't shut up about the "try" in the final.Form is temporary - Class is permanent.Er, um, er, um...

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 8:26 pm

Why do the North keep buying players?Where did anyone say the Southern Hemisphere doesn't have a massive pool of talent?You're clutching at straws here.The fact is... The Northern hemisphere is altogether better. There's a bigger pool of talent in general, the leagues are more competetive and skilled in general, and our international teams are better in general.The only argument you can make is that South Africa are the best team in the world, in which you would be correct... But they play Northern Hemisphere style rugby, which you don't agree with ;)

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Chris Parberry January 21, 2008 8:38 pm

even though i find this NH vs SH argument to be about the dumbest thing i've heard of, i'll comment none the lessthe diffrence between sh and nh rugby isnt in the weather, its in the styles that playnorthern hemisphere rugby is more knock 'em down drag it out battleswhereas southern hemisphere is more of speed and agility by the backs with longer runspersonally as a forward i enjoy watching northern hemisphere rugby played more than southern, it brings in all aspects of the gamealso for the record, northern hemisphere doesnt just mean england you one track minded fools, i actually dont like watching england play, it isnt enjoyable, but watching teams like Ireland i do, and i love watching teams like munster, leinster, etc, they play the rugby that i love to play and watchbut also its rediculous to think one hemisphere is ahead of another, they both have great playersand has for the hit, its great to see a munster boy getting in there with a great hit, especially on a wasps playerfitting time to post the video too, seeing as munsters recent win knocked the wasps out of the heiniken cupgreat vid RD, keep it up

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 8:54 pm

"but also its rediculous to think one hemisphere is ahead of another, they both have great players"Is it ridiculous for me to say that a country is better than another. No, well that's the difference.

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JS January 21, 2008 11:06 pm

Well i guess if us NH teams could create a NH Lions team and call it England like NZ have done with their southern hemisphere lions, i suppose we would win a lot more!

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Anonymous January 21, 2008 11:07 pm

You SH dude certainly haven't watched Toulouse play. That's the complete french backline plus half of the pack for your information, and believe me their backs score a lot more than the forwards.And the Welsh teams also play great attacking rugby.

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themull January 21, 2008 11:25 pm

toulouse,leinsteir(although not great recently) biaritz, munster, leister, would give any sh team a run for their money..sh teams would prob win majority but not all prob 1 r two games more.and the fact is that 2 NH countries and two SH countries made it to the last four in this yrs world cup therefore they are more or less equal so stop going on about it.it has just takin NH more time to adabt to professionalism dan the south but now that we are it is much mre even race..

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Anonymous January 22, 2008 7:33 am

"Tell that to Mark Cueto who won't shut up about the "try" in the final."Good point!What a dumb thing to say stats mean nothing - then so do points surely? Anybody care to deny that the SH teams win most of the battles between NH teams?Of course winning a WC is the ultimate, but all the other Internationals count too. To the guy who uses the Olympics/ backyard comparison, Im guessing you never played in any league worth mentioning - ANY international match counts, even if it isn't a WC match. What a stupid comment!I enjoy French and Irish rugby, but the fact is that in general SH teams are better - but as pointed out above, the exodus could change that.SA are deserved WC champs, but lets see how everyone goes against OZ and the All Blacks this year before crowing too hard.

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Anonymous February 07, 2008 9:01 pm

omg nh players are the most overrated players in the world.if my calculations are correct nh stared a team called the lions with all the best plaers from the nh and i recall seeing them play the all blacks and geting thrast nh rugby is a joke hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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Anonymous February 10, 2008 7:52 pm

the lions wont get on that well lets face it theres all the rivalry under the surface and if northern hemisphere rugby is such a joke how can the great new zealand with all their players stolen from the pacific isles lose to a NH team

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Anonymous April 27, 2008 9:03 pm

I think trying to compare the way the two hemispheres play is pretty silly. There are vast differences in reasosn at the moments, the track they are running on is important, the weather is ultimately a limiting factor and playing to a teams strengths is also vital to be successful. Trying to compare England Wales and France, although all very close together is also silly, we all know there is a huge difference in the weather between halfway down France and the UK.For all those who say the North is crap, Byron Kellehar was on the telly the other day saying how anyone who feels the Northern game isn't good is sorely mistaken and that the Heineken Cup is easily the best and hardest competition he has played in.But I feel the main point you guys are missing out is who decides how these teams play.....the coaches.You look at Wales in the 6 Nations, yes they won and deserved to win, but when against the better sides they played very little rugby, pretty much dump and fan stuff then counter on turnovers or mistakes. Come 65mins vs France they had made over double the tackles of the French, this is only seen as great 15 man rugby because they are moving the ball to change the point of contact and find the space that is out there. In contrast to this game style rather than relying on defence the English and French teams were trying to attack to win.Going back to the N vs S arguement, everyone in the Southern Hemisphere plays pretty much the same style in club rugby, some better than others because of personnel and some have certain weapons that are better than others e.g the S.A mauling game. Whereas you come North and every club has a different style of rugby (Leicester and Wasps are a prime example 2 most successful teams recently completely different game styles). Thankfully this year other than maybe Munster (no offence!) the teams are starting to play more of a 15 man game.This tight game that has been played develops great players and ultimately makes great weapons such as the scrum. How many decent props do Oz have? None that would get into the English or French side that's for sure.Yet you could then say the same for many of the backs and loosies that play down South, mush more skillful than some of ours.This arguement can go on and on taking you down many different paths, for the people who just look at whats on the pitch and compare it know very little about rugby, how to play it or more importantly how to coach/analyse/realise what is happening.Nuff said, up the Argies!

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yup October 15, 2008 3:58 pm

thats the Tongan in him!!!and before anyone says but hes a kiwi his mums Tongan n him and Nili Latu are first cousins

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Anonymous December 27, 2009 2:57 am

For the guy at the top who is an outside back commenting on forward play...that was your first mistake, backs should stay in the back and be quiet. If you don't scrum down then don't talk about forwards.

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Anonymous December 30, 2009 3:53 pm

Im just baffled how people can think southern hemisphere teams arent better, its just not possible, number of world cups, irb rankings, autumn internationals all tell you it. You have to be special not to see it. Im not saying NH teams are bad, they just arent as good, simple.

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vinniechan January 03, 2010 2:33 am

Good chase and good hit!!
I don't buy into the argument that S14's rugby are better because they are more free flowing - at least until 2 or 3 years ago. An offload is only good when some guy with momentum catches it, but a lot of time, the ball goes to a player with standing still (at least 2 or 3 years ago).
I do concede that NH rugby (especially GP sides) can be very narrow minded, but a lot of time, they are being professional with an emphasis to get a result rather than the rugby. When you get to an HC final, they just go all out. I won't compare this year's HC with this year's S14 final, as the S14 final were so one sides while Leicester and Leinster battled to the last second to decide the winner.

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vinniechan January 03, 2010 2:39 am

I'm not defending for 10 men's rugby, but I do feel that sometimes fans from the South place too much emphasis on running rugby. In the early stage of this year's 3N, NZ dreamt of running around the Boks without having to match up upfront and they got hammered at every corner. The Aussies came out of their shells, stunned the Boks upfront and won. The French did the same thing. Sometimes it's frustrating that NH completely failed to come together as a team, but the November series showed there's no real dominant team in the world at least for the moment.

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Anonymous January 28, 2010 1:05 am

In fairness, you saw Ireland schooling every side they've met recently, even the world champions. Australia were the only side that could hold them. David Pocock announced himself that day. Australia are likely to do well in the next world cup, which france will win. Coupled with that teams like Clermont, Toulouse, Munster and Leinster are a match for ANY super 14 team.

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