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Monday, July 02, 2012

Manu Tuilagi vs Jean De Villiers in the first Test in Durban

Expected to make a big impact during the three-Test series against the Springboks, England's powerhouse center Manu Tuilagi showed patches of what he's capable of, but was for the most part contained by the midfield combo of Jean De Villiers and Francois Steyn. Here is a quick look back at some of the best collisions from the first Test.

De Villiers, who was playing in his first match as captain of the Springboks, said prematch that he was expecting a tough physical challenge when going up against Tuilagi.

"Manu Tuilagi has shown he is a massive threat on attack and defensively he is very solid as well. Frans and I will have our work cut out tomorrow. It is going to be a tough day at the office but it is a challenge we are looking forward to.

"We are representing our country, they are representing theirs and that is what Test match rugby is all about. It is putting your bodies on the line and digging in for your country," De Villiers said.

Both players did exactly that, with Tuilagi perhaps getting the points victory in their first meeting, but De Villiers coming out winner over the series, having successfully limited the damage the Samoan wrecking ball managed to inflict.

Below is a quick look at some of the big charges from both players, and includes a try saving tackle from Tuilagi on Pierre Spies that wasn't replayed during the match, but was excellent.

You can have a browse through the Related Posts below the video for the match highlights, as well as some of the best and worst moments from both Tuilagi and De Villiers over the years.

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:13 pm | View Comments (19)

South Africa vs England 2012 - 1st Test - Full Match

Springboks go one-up in the series with win over England

Manu Tuilagi tip-tackle citing dismissed ahead of SA tour

Manu Tuilagi's huge hit on quick hands Dan Bowden

Manu Tuilagi tackles David Wallace out of the 2011 RWC

Manu Tuilagi's flurry of punches on Chris Ashton

Manu Tuilagi's powerful try against Saracens

Manu Tuilagi's well timed tackle vs Northampton Saints

Manu Tuilagi's smashing tackle on Tom Williams

Jean De Villiers smashed by Benoit August in HEC Semi-Final

The Jean de Villiers moat incident - Argentina 2005

Rua Tipoki drops Jean De Villiers

Josh Lewsey's try saving tackle on Jean De Villiers

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 19 comments

Pretzel July 02, 2012 11:41 pm

Looks like a brilliant individual battle between the two blokes. Magnificent to see. Loved the picture describing the post (with the hug). It does make the game when you and an opponent have a good battle through the 80 minutes and then have a laugh a handshake and a drink about if afterwards. Really brings about the spirit of rugby in my opinion.

I don't really know of any other game where teams or individuals share this kind of experience. Especially not something that involves knocking lumps out of each other.

For the record, from the video I'd say JDV won that battle through experience...

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i love bacon July 03, 2012 3:22 am

The brush-off by JdV on Tuilagi in the clip reminded me of my favorite moment from the mid-year tests: Rob Kearney shoving SBW to the side as if he weren't a giant of a man.

But that's another story.

I thought the write-up summed it up well. Tuilagi had plenty moments of great play - his battering-ram-brilliance, but nothing that lifted England up to another level or anything. But that's the way things go sometimes.

I was also glad to see de Villiers playing as though he were still in his 20s. I thought he captained his side pretty well.

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ruckinmaul July 03, 2012 6:44 am

Both can't tackle each other very well, yeah, it's because both have huge fence off. Very hard to tackle. Oh, and by the way, what a monster Frans Steyn is.

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hayden July 03, 2012 8:28 am

I dont rate tuilagi on attack or defence, i think if he was running at steyn it would have been a great physical battle in this game. The guy just trys to smash whatever is in his way, which isnt a bad mindset but against skilled opponents tuilagi is predictable and has little effect.. JDV is great and like Conrad Smith tackles well gets bumped here and there but gets back up and runs good lines.

I think england need to a centre who gives more than what he offers.

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Facepalm July 03, 2012 5:54 pm

Based upon this series I think that's a pretty accurate conclusion, simply because England lack a quality playmaker at flyhalf. I don't think Flood or Farrel have the ability to really give this guy the space he needs against top flight international test teams. Throw someone like Jonny Sexton or Berrick Barnes into this England team and I really think we'd start to see this backline come alive. The likes of Tuilagi, Joseph and Ashton would thrive off of their defence splitting passes. Perhaps Cipriani or Ford can be this missing link? Not sure.

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breakaway July 03, 2012 9:06 am

I agree that from what I saw of the series JDV did win this battle, mostly because he's just a better player. I only see Tuilagi every now and then and maybe I'm missing something but, as ilovebacon says, he's a great battering ram but it seems to so often just end there. I think he needs the support of creative runners with better lines than England can offer at the moment, someone to offload to after the bash.

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rugby08 July 03, 2012 5:57 pm


JDV won the battle because he's a better player? That's not how it works is it? I thought whoever wins the battle, wins the battle and it certainly looked like Manu won most of the collision battles!

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breakaway July 04, 2012 3:33 am

To clarify, the vid looks pretty even to me, but I think JDV is currently the better all round player and going by what I saw of this whole series, if I had to chose one or the other for my side right now I'd go for De Villiers. But if Conrad Smith was on offer these two wouldn't get a look-in.
I agree that Tuilagi will probably improve and my point is that one of the things that will make him a more effective player is having fast creative players around him, and he needs to connect with them. Maybe Jonathan below is right, I'll keep watching.

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hayden July 04, 2012 8:17 am

In the end Manu is young, he seems to have the same mindset as Nonu when he first came on the scene..lets hope someone can mentor him a bit more.

Agree with facepalm, think if england continue to use Manu throw him into 12 to be that ram so at least if he keeps his feet in the tackle you have more players running off him or he is still close enough to the forwards that the ruck is cleared and they keep the backline rolling at pace. But they need a 10 that is going to deliver.'


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Jonathan July 03, 2012 10:35 am

He is only 22 so has time to improve and work on his game. Could become world class. With Youngs, Farrell, Tuilagi and Joseph in the backline all around age 22 the future could be bright!

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Guy July 03, 2012 12:42 pm

I am all for spiffy and skillfull line movements by the 3/4ers but man, this kind of battle has something epic about it too. And I love it.

Imho Tuilagi matches the physicality of the Springboks centres. He might lack a little bit skill at the moment but hey, that's what they said of Nonu too in the first 15-20 matches he played for the All Blacks....let's just give him some time to evolve. At least there seems to be nothing wrong with his commitment to the white shirt.

All in all: great to watch those clips in a row. Thanks RD!

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Pretzel July 03, 2012 3:27 pm

Thinking back to the autumn series I got to say the song "Invincible" by Skindred reminds me of the final NZ IRE test....

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rugby08 July 03, 2012 5:54 pm

I bet Manu loved playing agains the Boks.

Get in there son!!!!

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coops July 03, 2012 10:42 pm

Manu is a great player who could become world class - as long as he is used effectively. I see him filling the same role as Nonu has the the ABs - originally a powerhouse wing/13, evolving into a powerhouse 12 with a cracking pass and intelligent lines!

A find a lot of the people who criticise Tuilagi will, in the same breath, sing the praises of Jamie Roberts. Both are big physical players who are used to get over the gainline. In fact, I think Manu would be more effective if he is used the way Wales use Roberts - first receiver off a lineout just to smash into the 10. Route 1 but boy it's good.

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elpitufo July 04, 2012 8:33 am

Magnifique duel entre ses deux guerriers qui ont chacun beaucoup de répondant, Jean de Villiers est très dur au mal j'adore. L'action où Tuilagi le met dans le sol comme un clou est suivie d'un placage sous forme de danse un peu comme une "Valse" terrible de François Steyn , surtout quand c'est sur un tel joueur.

François merci pour ces trois belles année au Racing Métro, tu nous aura fait briller les yeux sur tes drop et pénalités de 55mettres, tes gros tampons sur les joueurs les plus denses du top14 et ta capacité à dynamité une défense. Même si on a beaucoup de stars tu étais l'unique qui brillait sans discontinu.
Dommage que tu ne rentres pas aux Sharks avec un titre de Hcup ou un titre de champion de France on est désolé car tu l'aurais mérité pour avoir offert un peu de ta jeunesse à notre pays.

Good Luck and thanks you for all you do.

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Philv2 July 04, 2012 9:18 pm

Problem here is that every attack Manu's in is happening 5-10 m's behind the gain line because of Englands poor attacking skills.

JDV on the other hand was getting the ball right up on the line.

And well done to JDV in defence, even when he does get boshed he always manages to keep a hand on Manu to throw him off balance enough to bring him down.

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Canadian content July 05, 2012 1:54 pm

Agree that Manu is playing like a junior and is too focussed on smashing his opponent. The big smash where he knocked jdv on his ass and then tripped over him is a perfect example. Big deal. He didn't offload the ball after, he didn't even get pass his opponent, he barely made the gainline. He does it again and gets thrown to the ground and then gets a penalty. He needs to focus on moving the ball, not his opponents.

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Pretzel July 06, 2012 12:21 am

Watched the vid a while back but I do remember him tripping, not sure if its the same incident but he bumps JDV and JDV gets up and makes the tackle...or helps make the tackle...

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dave July 13, 2012 7:38 pm

I bet tuilagi can at least 1 rep max power clean 350lbs

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