Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Tana Umaga played a full eighty minutes of rugby for the Chiefs on the weekend, making a large contribution towards their 38-10 Super Rugby win over the Melbourne Rebels.
It was the former All Black captains 323rd first class game, and while hes now 37 years old, he showed no signs of taking a backward step. Big tackles, well timed breaks, and a sense of calm and organization at the back all helped the dominant Chiefs performance.
One of his bigger tackles was this crunching hit on Rebels flanker Jarrod Saffy, who himself had earlier taken out one of the Chiefs players. Captain Mils Muliaina copped a heavy shot in the back from Saffy directly from the kickoff.
He stayed on for a bit but eventually left the field, and it has since been revealed that his injury is worse than expected, with a fracture to the side of the spine, side-lining him for four weeks. You can see that tackle in this clip too.
Shortly after Muliaina received medical attention, Umaga got a bit of payback on Saffy with a big hit. There was a marginal tackle by Stephen Donald too. In fact both tackles were borderline, with the rush defence getting up in the face of the Rebels.
Umaga will return to his hometime of Wellington this coming weekend, where he faces a Hurricanes side for which he played 122 matches. "They're all pretty special. I haven't played a lot of games for the Chiefs. I'm looking forward to obviously going back to my home town." said Umaga.
His 80-minute performance was highly impressive. He stayed on for the entire match and at his age simply shouldnt be playing the way he is, competing with men nearly half his age.
"I've got a tremendous amount of respect for Tana and it's great to see him out there. It doesn't make me feel so old,'' said 33 year old opposition centre, Stirling Mortlock.
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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play