South Africa beat Samoa in tough battle

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Wales off to a winning start in RWC

Dave Dennis Mic'd up in the NRC

Ball explodes in ITM Cup match!

George Gregan's halfback Masterclass

James Schrader's sensational try saver

HUGE hit between giant Polish forwards

Ruck Clean Out to dominate breakdowns

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Motu Matu'u makes biggest hit of the season on Matt Hodgson

Without a doubt the biggest hit of the weekend, and perhaps the season, was made by young Hurricanes hooker Motu Matu'u against the Force in Perth on Friday. Nicknamed 'Bubbles' in the past, he says he's come a long way to get where he is today.

A product of Rongotai College in Wellington, the same school that Ma'a Nonu attended, Motu made his Super Rugby debut this season after having previously played ITM Cup rugby for the Wellington Lions. He says the move from the 'size group' has made all his hard work worth it.

"For me it's always been fitness. I've been in the size group pretty much since my Wellington Academy days. Man, I've been in that group forever, a long time," he said of the group that categorises players who are viewed as carrying too much fat, and not enough muscle.

"I just had to try and trim down, I was always pretty much a chubby boy, so I had to lose quite a bit. It wasn't easy. Being an Islander and going home to food like that, of course you are going to indulge. But if you really want it, then of course you have to sacrifice something and that (food) was it for me. I've made the changes, I feel pretty good, probably the best I've ever felt in my career."

He doubled up on training, attending Wellington Lions commitments as well as every one of the Oriental Rongotai club academy's fitness sessions. He did this while working as a builder, where he had a forgiving boss who allowed him to start later in the day. "It was tough waking up early in the morning, getting to training at 6am, then after training finding the energy to work."

He says nowadays it feels like he's dreaming, playing alongside All Blacks like Cory Jane and Conrad Smith, and says that Nonu (who has since moved on to the Blues) had a huge influence on his career, motivating the 24 year old him to reach great heights.

"He has encouraged me big time. Having Ma'a there as a family friend as well, I grew up seeing him as an older brother sort of, so to see him crack it, I was like if he can crack it, how come I can't?"

While he's still playing off the bench due to the good form of hooker Dane Coles, Matu'u has said that the positive attitudes of the starters during training has helped motivate the reserves to make a difference when they get their opportunity.

He did exactly that on the weekend against the Force, as he came on and within minutes absolutely demolished number eight Matt Hodgson, who buckled under the weight of what looked to be one of the most impressive legal hits many of us have ever seen.

To add insult to injury, the Hurricanes scored 6 tries and won the game 46-19.

Credit: Fairfax Digital for the quotes

Posted by Rugbydump at 3:46 pm | View Comments (39)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 39 comments

aviii March 14, 2012 6:45 pm


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number8888 March 14, 2012 6:53 pm

Huge hit! A complete dead weight as soon as he's been tackled...

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Zoobilly March 14, 2012 7:30 pm

High hit! Shoulder in chin = high! aka Collins v Charvis!

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De wild March 14, 2012 7:46 pm

How could you say thats high! He dives in and recieves it where he wants it and well if thats on his own chin that's tough luck! Great hit, fully committed!

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BuzzKillington March 14, 2012 7:57 pm

Based purely on outrageous decisions previously - Rangers 2 weeks come to mind - I would expect Matu'u to be banned for 14 months.

This is 100 times worse than the Ranger tackle.

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poccio March 14, 2012 7:59 pm

Nice tackle! The best part of the vid is at the 32 sec mark when Matt Hodgson still on the floor mouths the words "Fuck me!" which really sum up the whole play!

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Guy March 14, 2012 7:59 pm

Kaboom! Solid, solid hit. Love it!

And even better: as soon as he get's up he shows concern for the other players well being!

Two reasons why this is BY FAR the best frikkin' sport in the world! Yeeeeeeeehaaaaaaaa, this clip made my day!

Thanks a lot RD!

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Pretzel March 14, 2012 8:05 pm

Few things:
1. Not sure how you can say it was shoulder on his chin when initial head movement was forward as the body stayed still. If it was shoulder on chin his head would have gone back and his body would have continued to move forward.
2. Great to see the Hurricanes player check on Hodgson.
3. Great to see Matu'u give Hodgson a little tap on the back straight after the tackle in a non cocky way!
4. Shocked to see no card, no thousand year ban on what looked like a totally legitimate tackle! Absolutely disgraceful!

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Bobily March 14, 2012 9:17 pm

Even if it was a little high, Hodgson ducked into it. The tackler did nothing wrong.

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Patrick March 14, 2012 9:53 pm

Check out number 18 for Force smiling! Rugby appreciation at it's epitome.

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z3r0326 March 14, 2012 10:59 pm

An absolutely crushing hit! In no universe was it a high or illegal tackle. Point of contact was square in the chest, and the tackler wrapped with his arms. Matu'u's arms ending up near Hodgson's head after the initial contact is incidental and in no way makes this tackle illegal. Granted, based on some historical ban decisions, it was really almost lucky that the ref didn't misinterpret this phenomenal hit for an illegal one.

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stroudos March 14, 2012 11:33 pm

Are Force's shorts sponsored by McDonald's??

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Pretzel March 15, 2012 2:03 am

I can't imagine any other company would have a yellow M like that as their motif...

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stroudos March 15, 2012 12:29 pm

Shit idea for a sponsorship

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anti-wallaby March 15, 2012 2:23 am

love how marto goes on about Hodgson being at all night while Matu'u had fresh legs ... these guys can never accept it when nzlanders smash aussies ..

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Jwall March 15, 2012 3:43 am

They spent like three minutes talking up how excellent the hit was, how great the Highlanders set piece play is, how their general play was great all night, how Matu'u had come on and really done his job as a replacement, how it was a completely fair and legal tackle and yet you still find cause to complain?
Sounds like you have a real chip on your shoulder, because the Aussies in this clip did nothing but praise the Highlanders and Matu'u. It's crazy that you can't see that. Bizarre and crazy.
In fact, you are probably a troll. If not, wow.

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Ghost March 15, 2012 5:27 am

You mean the Hurricans brah?

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Jwall March 15, 2012 12:35 pm

Haha, yeah I did.

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UpandAway March 15, 2012 3:31 am

He wrapped the arms but hits like that should be Illegal!

Motu Led with the shoulder and it was dangerous...... they should outlaw these shoulder first tackles otherwise someone could get very badly hurt.

The IRB should come done very hard on shoulder tackling to protect players...... even wrapping the arms doesn't make it safe anymore!

Horrible to watch.

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Jwall March 15, 2012 3:45 am

UpandAway, again, you are more than likely a troll. In fact I hope you are. If you are not, you're opinion is ahrd to believe.
You can't have ever actually have played the game, or you'd know that every single tackle leads with the shoulder, that this is how people are actually taught how to tackle, that tackling any other way is at best incompetent, and at worst dangerous for the tackler.
Go watch a sport without contact if this upsets. I garuntee it doesn't bother Hodgson.

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UpandAway March 15, 2012 4:04 am

No, this tackle is fundamentally no different or less dangerous than Banahan's NO-ARM tackle here

If the law makers are cracking down on one then they should crack down on the other...... the player being tackled by Motu could have been seriously hurt.

Either allow them both (which would be terrible for player safety, and absolutely no-one wants to see big hits like this) or outlaw all shoulder tackles of this type!

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Guy March 15, 2012 8:54 am

Sure, get rid of all the laws. Very good idea...

You know what: let's get rid of maximum speed too. Police cars are allowed to drive faster than the speed limit so this is very confusing ....

Just to be clear: there is a difference between the two tackles. Banahan's is clearly illegal, this one is clearly legal.

Now shoo, up and away, go play touch rugby.

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Jwall March 15, 2012 12:44 pm

Every one. If you don't tackle with the shoulder get off the field cuz you aint doin your job.

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Welshhokkers March 28, 2012 7:58 pm

Completely agree with Jwall. People who say otherwise have obviously never played rugby... or learnt how to tackle. All we were taught was hit with shoulder, follow through with arms and keep head up. Learn to play before criticising.
BEAST of a tackle.

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filth March 15, 2012 6:50 am

Upandaway you don't seem to realise that rugby is a contact sport. Stop being a girl. Please fuck off and never come back onto, you are a disgrace!

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UpandAway March 15, 2012 7:13 am

So I suppose you're willing to have the maiming of players just to satisfy your bloodlust?

If you want to watch Gladiators then I suggest you build a time machine and go and live in Imperial Rome...... lots of gore for you.

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Jwall March 15, 2012 12:42 pm

Alright, I feel like you're porbably a troll still, because someone who has actually played rugby would know how ridiculous you sound.
Any tackle could mess a guy up.
Any legal tackle is quite capable of badly injuring someone.
Guess what, this aint football, it aint tennis, it aint badminton.
This sport hurts. It can injure you.
Deal with it, or watch another sport.

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filth March 15, 2012 7:44 am

Hahahahaha my god you are pathetic and soft. If you asked professional rugby players they would admire that hit. In the IRB rule book that tackle is fine. Just because you are pathetic and soft doesn't mean that the IRB should change the rules of tackling just to suit you! Seriously mate, grow up and stop being so negative, rugby is the most beautiful game in the world.

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UpandAway March 15, 2012 8:09 am

You're right, rugby is the most beautiful game in the world...... I way just trying to wind you up tough guy.

In my original post and reply to Jwall I was using a bit of sarcasm to draw attention to an issue that I have a pet peeve with..... the tackling laws.

The IRB in attempting to outlaw dangerous tackles like Spears and Shoulder Charges (RL style, side on, point of the shoulder) have thrown the baby out with the bath water. This whole 'NO ARMS' thing for FRONT-ON shoulder tackles, provided they are kept below the neck, is a total non-issue and often ruins a great spectacle.

For instance if Motu had hit the guy the same way and not wrapped the arms he would have got pinged and probably received a lengthy ban...... what the hell would the difference have been?! I would argue that by wrapping Motu committed even more to following through and it was more destructive as he followed the player down. The law-makers need to get up to speed and understand the game better. This type of no-arms tackle is fine and there are loads of tactical reasons for tackling a player and not wrapping....... namely keeping eyes on the opponent better because no ducking down and lowering the head, plus staying on your feet to win the ball or carry on with play.

The IRB need to sort this issue out immediately in my opinion so the game can move forwards and youngsters can be taught the correct techniques.

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Jwall March 15, 2012 12:54 pm

One more time, and no more.
You clearly have never played at any decent level.
Because every SINGLE tackle leads with the shoulder.
It's the ONLY way to tackle properly. It's simple physics.
If a guy is running at you, he;s going to hit you with most of his bodyweight. If he's a 120kg Tongan propr this could really drop you on your arse.
How to stop it?
Get your footwork right so you have a solid base and balance, move into the hit, and lead with the point of your shoulder. Tackling 101. This way you are hitting with your whole body weight. Ideally this means you are big and strong enough to stop momentum and drive the guy back. In a very rare case (like this hit), you'll go one better and smash the bloke backwards. The whole point is force meeting force. It's a brutal application of physics.

The shoulder charge rule in union was brought in specifically to prevent league style shoulder charges, where you actually fly into a hit reclessly, with the point of your sholulder turned, your arm tucked into your chest (folded with your other arm usually) and sideways. No base, often with your feet off the ground, simlar to an NFL hit.

Totally different from a normal tackle.

The idea that hitting with shoulder at all is illegal is abusrd and the kind of opinion of someone who doesn't actually have any idea about tackling or rugby.

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UpandAway March 15, 2012 1:26 pm

I was just joking in my initial posts, sorry to get you so wound up.

I was just trying to highlight the logical extension of the IRB's rules on tackles, specifically the whole no arm issue. I think the IRB totally misunderstand FRONT-ON shoulder tackles where the player doesn't wrap. It kills the spectacle in the game and has many players taken off the field for something that isn't malicious and should be totally legal...... its just an extension of a traditional legal shoulder tackle (as opposed to a wrap around the leg tackle). Just look at the Banahan tackle which was a beauty put on by a bigger man...... listen to the confusion from the commentator "he's trying to claim that there was no malice there, but technically its not a tackle but a hit"......... do you see the confusion this bollocks is causing? Ironically the tackle put on by Hape just before is a league type Shoulder Charge which I can fully understand being illegal.

You provide a very good definition of a Shoulder Charge. However if the IRB is only worried about this type of tackle (rightly so) then why are also penalizing tackles like Banahan's or Paul Williams tackle for Samoa in the World Cup, which got him ten minutes?

These are front-on technically sound shoulder tackles and and have no relation to a SC. Hence my 'throwing the baby out with the bath water' comment.

It just strikes me as a bunch of Older fella's who have only played rugby union in the amateur days applying a blanket approach to a problem which they don't really understand............ i.e. "we don't want Shoulder Charges (or whatever those thugs in League do) so we'll say that all NO-ARM tackles are illegal. That should cover it!" WRONG!!!

If they don't want a Shoulder Charges they should use the definition that you've provided above. I'm just sick of the issue going on and on, season after season, with people none the wiser........ Is it going to take 20 years for something so simple to get resolved?

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filth March 15, 2012 8:30 am

Yeah but mate, can you just admit that was a decent tackle? I mean that would be another rule rugby doesn't need. Rugby is more about referees than the actual players!

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UpandAway March 15, 2012 8:48 am

It was an EPIC tackle. I saw it live on telly.

It was far more crushing and destructive than 99% of the no-wrap tackles that happen (not Shoulder charges mind), and that's my point....... the IRB don't seem to have a clear balance between player safety and what is a safe(ish!) tackle...... both spear and shoulder charges can cause direct trauma to the head/neck area..... no-wrap tackles don't.

Because of this there seems to be a a lot of confusion among casual fans and some commentators about the use of shoulders in tackles...... which is completely ridiculous!

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JPR March 15, 2012 9:23 am

Haha 0:18 'Whaaatt?!?'

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Jeri March 15, 2012 12:44 pm

"Up so early feels so bright
i didnt get much sleep last night
freight train rattled through my head
whistle blowin love is dead, is dead"

LOL it can't be a coincidence that "Wish You Well" started playing during the replay. Good job song choice guy.

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Adam April 04, 2012 7:15 pm

Dont be silly, much more dangerous going into a tackle with a loose arm, especially for the tackler, perfectly legal and always will be, saying it should be banned is like saying they should play with no contact. Quit your moaning

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terminan April 10, 2012 9:18 pm

OUCH! That hurt!

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Pedro April 16, 2012 1:32 pm

I come and watch this every day

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