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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tana Umaga returns for Toulon with two big hits

Tana Umaga returns for Toulon with two big hits

On Friday we heard via Toulon's Ross Skeate that coach Tana Umaga would be making a return to the field for their game against Bourgoin following a nasty hip injury to wing Chris Loamanu.

The 36 year old All Black legend laced up his boots once again and got out there, playing on the wing in the closely contested 13-9 victory for Toulon at the Stade Pierre Rajon. Argentina's Felipe Contepomi scored the only try of the match.

Umaga played over 70 minutes before leaving the field to a warm reception from the crowd. In that time, he showed some of the ferocity that made him a feared opponent as he put big hits in on two of the Bourgoin players, which you can see here on RD now.

The former All Black captain recently signalled his intent to leave Toulon and return to life in New Zealand after he signed with Counties-Manakau in a similar player/coach role. He intends to pursue a coaching career, so perhaps one day soon we'll see him in charge of the AB's.

For now though, Umaga has been added to the squad due to the injury crisis. He's said himself that he's still keeping fit, so will no doubt make more of an impact in the weeks to come.


Time: 01:23
Note: Thanks to Toulon video contributor 4Lc4TR4Z. If you'd like to see more of your own team's clips on RD, please get involved with contributions. Send us an email for further info.

Posted at 9:24 pm | 41 comments

Viewing 41 comments

Anonymous March 30, 2010 9:25 pm

Legend

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Disco March 30, 2010 10:07 pm

Neither player tackled was actually holding the ball when hit yet both hits were perfectly legal. Perfect timing.

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j man March 30, 2010 10:31 pm

two late hits ,prob could nt pull out of the second one,but it dose nt matter one bit because he use s his tackling technique(head down ,arms up)to convince the ref that he cant pull out.clever play from one of the great s

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stuart March 30, 2010 11:01 pm

A little harsh j man. Both hits are very well timed, only in both cases the Bourgoin players drop the ball.

The first one is an absolute hospital pass though.

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Anonymous March 30, 2010 11:02 pm

What do you mean late?????? From what I can see the timing is absolutely perfect...the guys that got smashed were VERY unlucky. The first one did a flick pass and the second guy fumbled the kick...Tana hit'em both in the sweet spot. Had they held on to the ball they would have been perfect ball'n all tackles. Go cry to ya mama jman!!!

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Tui March 30, 2010 11:28 pm

J-Man SHUT YOUR MOUTH SON.

It's not a late hit when the dude he's tackling drops the ball on or right before contact. I'm sure you would do the same if Tana Umaga was coming for you.

Perfect timing from a rugby God!!

J-man = Gay-man

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kevdetoulouse March 31, 2010 1:14 am

First is late.
The guy is in te air.
Is that legal Tui homophobic useless...um... comentator?

Didn't see the match but analists said he just did the job in defense but was very short physically.

Can't blame him anyway

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Miner March 31, 2010 1:52 am

Uhhh, none of those were late. Everything looks late in slow-mo....

The only thought I had was about the guy being in the air, but if I were a ref, I'd say it was a fair hit all the way.

Glad to see Christophe Berdos isn't as misguided as some of you guys.t

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Jeffrey March 31, 2010 3:17 am

just a legend nothing less. Just fantastic commitment and the right mentality even at his age

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kevdetoulouse March 31, 2010 4:43 am

@ Jeffrey
Can we talk of "right mentality" when he spear talked BOD in the Lions tour?

I am far to be aware of 100% of his games and I know he's a genius by the vids I saw but I can help in thinking he can be dirty.

And this spear tackle was probably the dirtiest thing I've ever seen on a rugby pitch..

@ Miner and all the adepts of Umaga's church (who lose objectivity when comenting about him), A REMINDER:

IRB LAW NO 10. FOUL PLAY. 5th PARAGRAPH
"A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground."
Sanction: Penalty kick

cheers

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FrankyH March 31, 2010 4:52 am

Kevtoulouse, strangely enough the ref and both his touch judges would have seen 'dirty' Umaga make that tackle, and neither one of the 3 (who were there, not watching a clip) felt it was necessary to speak to him about it or yellow card him for foul play.

You cant treat the lawbook like gospel. A lot of refereeing is down to interpretation and the refs discretion. I have to say, I agree with the ref on this occasion.

And no, you're wrong, Tana was never a dirty player. One strange incident in his highly respectable career does not make him a thug.

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jamestheconvict March 31, 2010 5:26 am

nice !!

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4LC4TR4Z March 31, 2010 6:37 am

First tackle is on Bourgoin center David Janin.
The second was on flyhalf Benjamin Boyet. Who lost the ball when he saw Umaga rushing over him... :D

Of course, Tana was short physically, but he hadn't played for a year... With gametime he'll soon be scary... AGAIN :D

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In uni lecture. March 31, 2010 7:23 am

That 2nd hit was sweet as. I like how the sideline advertisement thing turns colour just as the hit is made.

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the pope March 31, 2010 8:22 am

kevdetoulouse said...
Can we talk of "right mentality" when he spear talked BOD in the Lions tour?

Thank God he just "spear talked" little BOD .. imagine the moaning that would go on for years if he'd actually spear tackled him!

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miner March 31, 2010 8:58 am

"The Irish are always pissing and moaning about Umaga."

Chill out, anonymous. I'm not even sure kevdetoulouse is Irish, considering his moniker. But I can say that I'm a huge BOD fan...if he asked me for my first-born, I'd trade him for a round of beers with O'Driscoll.

However, I think Tana Umaga is an awesome player. Like FrankyH said, one ugly incident does not a dirty player make. John Hayes had a particularly nasty infringement a few months ago, but I still think the guy wouldn't harm a fly. Same with Umaga...though, I'd never want to be on the receiving end of one of his hits.

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miner March 31, 2010 9:01 am

By the way, it gets annoying hearing the same old incident drummed up time and time again (ie - BOD getting speared). For example, people can't seem to talk about Ngwenya without bringing up the WC 3 years ago, despite the fact that since then, he's done a pretty bang-up job at Biarritz.

...just one of those things, I guess....

Anyways, great to see Umaga back.

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Barney March 31, 2010 9:06 am

BOOM 36 years old and still putting people down like that you've got to admire that!

How often does he play for Toulon?

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Kenny March 31, 2010 9:17 am

"Anonymous said...
The Irish are always pissing and moaning about Umaga.

It's sad. It's the same when anyone goes near BOD. The Irish cry for years.

I lol everytime BOD gets hurt, because I know millions of potato-farmers are crying themselfs to sleep.

Soft puffs.

Umaga > Ireland"


Go back to your play pen you silly little troll, lets keep the subject of the great hits in the clip put in by Umaga not some other stupid inclident that has been well & trully consigned to history

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 9:21 am

I think the guy recieving the ball in tackle two knew what was coming. I don't think he was focused on the ball. Nice to see Umaga getting about again.

For anyone bringing the BOD incident into this, grow up and get over it.

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 10:00 am

@ kevdetoulouse:

kevdetoulouse said...

"IRB LAW NO 10. FOUL PLAY. 5th PARAGRAPH
"A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground."
Sanction: Penalty kick"

Wikipedia article on walking:

"In humans and other bipeds, walking is generally distinguished from running in that only one foot at a time leaves contact with the ground and there is a period of double-support. In contrast, running begins when both feet are off the ground with each step. (This distinction has the status of a formal requirement in competitive walking events, resulting in disqualification at the Olympic level.)"

If running, as an olympic sport, is distinguished from walking by having both feet off the ground at any one time, then by your interpretation of this event and of IRB rule 10, a number of tackles on players in the action of running are illegal, yet these do, and should (as i am sure you would agree), go unpunished.

Clearly FrankyH is on the right track with reference to treating the law book like gospel - although i'd doubt the suitability of treating gospel like gospel...

This law in necessarily open to interpretation (see Cueto-Tulilagi incident, England-Samoa in 2005). The law sanctioning a tackle in the air exists to prevent the tackled player from being hit and rotating so that they strike the ground head/neck/shoulders first.

The idea that jumping for a highball provides protection by the law is thought to be in line with rugby ethos, that a fair contest for the ball should be encouraged and player safety should be paramount.

In this regard i think that you could have interpretations which allow a player jumping for a highball to be tackled so long as he/she was placed down safely (I think this is is what is muddling in the Cueto case).

I think though that the outright penalization of taking someone out in the air is meant to discourage the act altogether because of the significant chance of a serious neck injury. I think a similar argument can be made for the heavy penalization of spear tackles. The post of Kahui's hit a few days ago makes this case clearly.

So i would query your claim that assessments of Umaga lack objectivity in this case. Clearly this case is open to multiple interpretations due to a lack of specificity in the rules.

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4LC4TR4Z March 31, 2010 10:04 am

@ Barney : he's going to play for Toulon to June, then he'll go back to NZ with Counties Manukau as coach and player.

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Alexander March 31, 2010 10:44 am

mmm, the first hit, debatable asto whether it was legal, could be seen as reckless? But then, as the great man always said, this ain't tiddliewinks (or something).....

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Alexander March 31, 2010 10:50 am

Actually, he was committed before the guy jumped! Corrected!

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 11:10 am

my mind:
second tackle is perfectly timed
first one is definetely illegal as the player isn't at any time touching the ground.
Why the ref did't give a penalty for the tackle but went back to a former offside:
- the tackle isn't dirty but still "illegal"
- Toulon had already received a yellow card
so if the ref give a penalty for the tackle, he has to give a yellow as well and to his mind that tackle wasn't worth playing at 13.

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HM March 31, 2010 1:20 pm

Out of interest, does the 'tackling in the air' rule only apply if the player's jumped to catch a kick? Not that I've got a problem with this tackle, but I'm just wondering.

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 1:46 pm

Both tackles were perfect! the only thing that makes the first one even questionable was the quality of the pass. Umaga did his job perfectly, there was a huge overlap out wide and he pushed up and stopped a definite try with a huge hit.

All this talk about the tackled player being off the ground is nonsense. that argument only really applies under a high ball. Its not the tacklers fault if the pass is bad, so long as the tackle itself is legal.

P.S. Id just like to say that im Irish and i think its pretty poor form that every time a discussion starts about Umaga someone brings up the spear on O'Driscoll. The spear was TERRIBLE, but not consistent with Umaga's career, and isnt a fair reflection on such a great player.

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 3:01 pm

The "not in the air" rule is meant to protect the players so I think it doesn't matter wether it's a kick or a poor pass.
Smoetimes on a kick defender can't help tackling the guy in the air and even if it wasn't made on purpose the result is a penalty. The same when a tackler can't get off the ruck, penalty.
My point is in this case, Umaga had done nothing wrong really except not making the effort to wait a tenth of a sec before tackling.

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Jay March 31, 2010 4:22 pm

The second hit was big...ish....but i suppose its in the shadow of the first hit....

im not sure you can call that illegal really...i mean, a pass was made, if you look at players in games, some of them jump into the pass every time they get it (i know what i mean, yet it makes no sense)

I dont think any court would charge umaga for that hit....i dont know, as i cannot be bothered to read all of the posting explaining, but perhaps the first hit would be 'illegal' on paper, but when seen here no one would think otherwise....

and Tui, what is wrong with you? jmans comment was a bit daft, but it appears you are hell bent on being internet hardman as ive seen you rudely reply to others on another comment page....

you dont get any kudos from other people here, infact your rock solid hard man act trying to make us all quiver before we comment actually produces the image of a 12 year old looking over his shoulder so he doesnt get caught being rude whilst on his mum and dads computer....

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 4:22 pm

^^ Sure but see the long-winded post by anon above.

By definition, a running player is in the air. No one has any problems tackling a running player. This is clearly not what is at issue here. Thus that (the gospel) interpretation of the rules is not helpful.

As you said, the point of the rule is to protect the player. The issue then must be whether or not the tackle was dangerous or endangered the player.

To my eyes the tackle was no more dangerous than it would have been if the receiver was standing with both feet on the ground (and both arms in the air...).

Thus, legit tackle, No?

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 4:23 pm

Sorry, meant to be directed at one above - Open ID would not work.

OWL

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 4:59 pm

I haven't said it was that dangerous but I think the ref could have blown and I wouldn't have been surprised.
The question is not how dangerous it was but legal or not. Most of the time "air tackles" aren't dangerous at all.

I have to say that I am just arguing because it's interesting!

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Anonymous March 31, 2010 5:28 pm

For the sake of argument:

I point to your reference to 'air tackles' and reiterate that most tackles are in fact air tackles, based on the definition of walking provided above.

Since a huge number of tackles are in fact 'air tackles' yet, only a specific subset (when a player is fielding a kick) are blown up as being dangerous then precedent suggests that there is a great deal of interpretability in how the law is applied.

I would argue that taking out a player who is in the air while receiving a ball off a kick has become an instance in which this law has been rigourously applied. It is less rigourously applied elsewhere - like where people are just running with the ball.

I would say that the degree of rigour in each case has been determined by the potential danger presented to the player by the tackle.

In other contexts (e.g. jumping to catch a pass, or jumping to catch a kick which has bounced) the application is less rigourous.

I would say then that the determining factor in these in between scenarios should be the danger presented to the players. In this case i see no danger, and from your post, neither do you.

Thus whether or not a ref would have blown the player up and whether or not you would have been surprised becomes irrelevant.

The questions being asked here are: (i) is the call 'correct' (i.e. in line with the way the rest of the laws are applied in the overwhelming majority of cases) and (ii) was kevdetoulouse justified in claiming bias on the part of posters defednig Umaga's actions in this clip.

In my view: (i) the call is correct and (ii) kevdetoulouse has been over zealous in his/her claim.

You disagree with any of this?

OWL

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Alexander March 31, 2010 8:23 pm

Err....that argument with regards to people always being tackled in the air because they're running....hilarious. Hopefully not serious....

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kevdetoulouse March 31, 2010 9:01 pm

1. Who gives a f where I'm from?
the spear could've been on an uzbekiztan player. I would say the same

2. Didn't know the BOD spear was overcomented. I'm not very used to comment on blogs anyway.
Still, it's the nastiest thing I've seen on a pitch, that's why it stays in my mind

3.Anonymous, like said Alexander, I thought your "running comment" was a joke, seems it is not. Do you play rugby man? Have you ever felt the difference between being tackled running and jumping for a ball? Seems not...

4. Rugby rules are pointless, we have many IRB specialists on RD. Why bother?

5. In Umaga we trust

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Jay April 01, 2010 2:11 pm

kev how about you stop being an arsey git and shut the hell up....

people are trying to talk about this, and none of us are 'irb specialists' as you put, we are merely taken different interpretations of the rules, which is what any human does.

And ofcourse any referee, as we watch many players penalised for different issues that were never raised before.

This issue is valid, and strangely enough has lead us to all talk to each other normally.

like i said above, on paper the first hit may have been illegal, but on the pitch i would never be blown up surely...

I think the whole 'player in the air rule' is left up to referees to interperet as they please (to a point) I think in a running situation a player cannot be asked not to tackle someone who jumps to catch a pass....

so i think it really is reserved for catching a kick....

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Jay April 01, 2010 2:11 pm

kev how about you stop being an arsey git and shut the hell up....

people are trying to talk about this, and none of us are 'irb specialists' as you put, we are merely taken different interpretations of the rules, which is what any human does.

And ofcourse any referee, as we watch many players penalised for different issues that were never raised before.

This issue is valid, and strangely enough has lead us to all talk to each other normally.

like i said above, on paper the first hit may have been illegal, but on the pitch i would never be blown up surely...

I think the whole 'player in the air rule' is left up to referees to interperet as they please (to a point) I think in a running situation a player cannot be asked not to tackle someone who jumps to catch a pass....

so i think it really is reserved for catching a kick....

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kevdetoulouse April 01, 2010 7:42 pm

Jay, we were right to post your comment 2 times, it was very interesting...

"kev how about you stop being an arsey git and shut the hell up...." >>> "...talk to each other normally."

yeah right...

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4LC4TR4Z April 02, 2010 11:43 am

Kev is just too sad and a little bit jealous because Toulouse lost 2 times against Toulon this season... :'-)

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Jay April 02, 2010 8:51 pm

Well kev you obviously have no social skills when talking to people, and hostility appears to be all you understand.

The reason for 2 posts is that the Name/URL section doesnt appear to be working properly on occasions!

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Fred-D April 05, 2010 9:18 pm

As far as i see, the "in the air" rule is enforced for receiving high balls as it is a clear cut scenario.

It is not generally enforced for jumping to receive a pass as there is also the long understood rule that you should not jump into a tackle. When jumping to receive a pass, most of the time it is a small jump and into a defender, so you could easily ping the attacker for jumping into the tackle, as well as the defender for tackling a player in the air. Not as clear cut as a high ball scenario where the player tends to have jumped a while before the tackler arrives!

Although there is no specific rule, a good debate by some refs on jumping the tackle is found here : http://www.rugbyrefs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6934

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