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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Richard Kahui's huge hit on Ben Tapuai in Hamilton

Richard Kahui has made a succesful return to Super Rugby following 10 months on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. Against the Reds he showed that the shoulder is strong again, and if he stays fit we may well see him playing for the All Blacks vs France.

The Reds scored four tries to two to beat the Chiefs 31-23 in Waikato, but it was Kahui who put in the hit of the match as he smashed Ben Tapuai.

Kahui read play well and lined up Tapuai, hitting him just as the Reds centre offloaded on the inside. It looked a bit high in the replay perhaps, but there was a lot of shoulder on chest, and it was definitely one of the biggest hits of the season either way.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will have taken note of Kahui's performance ahead of the three match Test series with France in June. While Kahui is heading off to Japan at the end of the season, he may well be selected to play in the midfield, or if Hansen has his way, as cover on the wing.

"Personally I think his best position internationally is on the wing," Hansen said recently.

"His skills set is such that he's great under the high ball. He's a big ball carrier and he gets the opportunity on the wing to roam. He's a great counter attacker and he's got a good boot. As a back-three player he's ideal. That doesn't rule him out from being a midfielder, either, because he's high quality there too."

The 27-year-old says that he'd like to be part of the 2015 Rugby World Cup setup too, but acknowledges that he'll need to work hard to make sure he is still on top of his game. "The level of rugby, while it's not bad, is not Super Rugby, and you can easily fall behind with your skills.

"If it happens I come back and give that World Cup a crack, I'm going to have to make sure over the time I'm away that I'm playing really well and working hard in the gym and other areas so I don't fall behind," he said, adding that if not pushed to the highest standard, it could be a problem.

"They're open to foreign players coming back, but there's a huge risk factor for guys that go away."

The huge hit is below. Do you think Kahui should play for the All Blacks this year?

Posted at 11:18 am | 52 comments

Juan De Jongh's big hit breaks Ben Tapuai's collarbone

Richard Kahui's two big hits against the Crusaders

Richard Kahui crunching hit on Adam Ashley-Cooper

Richard Kahui and Matthew Tait's big headclash (2008)

George Gregan spear tackle on Richard Kahui (2006)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 52 comments

Tobo April 18, 2013 4:45 pm

Wasn't much arms in that tackle...

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Ithilsul April 18, 2013 4:50 pm

That's what I was about to say. I wonder what the referee (or citing commissioner) would have said, should Tapuai have been knocked-out following that "tackle"...
Great sacrifice by Tapuai anyway.

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Tobo April 18, 2013 5:47 pm

The one thing that could be said is the ref has no view of the tackle, as Genia has just been flattened, as well as the inside runner being in position. There's nothing wrong with Walsh's positioning here, but I think its a case of "You can't give what you can't see".

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tadywankenobi April 18, 2013 4:47 pm

Technically an illegal tackle. No effort to wrap, shoulder charged. Yellow card.

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Full Back April 18, 2013 4:52 pm

All Black for sure, would think that Freun should be in with a shout too. ABs are never short on talent are they?
Was this tackle a little high? Am I going to get slated for even suggesting that??? :D
Oh well....

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Nick April 18, 2013 4:57 pm

No arms at all, illegal challenge

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Javier Xavier April 18, 2013 5:04 pm

Stop looking for problems where there isn't one! Have you people ever played rugby??

Kahui has been on fire in the past few games.

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tadywankenobi April 18, 2013 5:11 pm

Played it for years and a qualified Leinster rugby ref. If he had done that in front of me, he'd have been off.

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Kevin April 18, 2013 5:21 pm

how are you supposed to tackle without leading with your shoulder?? both arms went up after the hit, but Tapuai flew to the ground before any chance of a wrap. If that had of been an 18 stone prop with the ball then both he and Kahui would have fallen together and nobody would say anything. If you penalize hits like this, then there will be no incentive for players to tackle hard. No player on the Reds complained. Neither did the commentators.

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poccio April 18, 2013 8:09 pm

personally i think if anything it was a bit high, but i guess it's borderline and fortunatly tapuai wasn't injured...play on!

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browner April 18, 2013 5:22 pm

It's the law makers fault, there is no reward for going low anymore. Tacklers are dissadvantaged, so the only 'ball dislodging' reward is hit high-hit hard.

The game is worse for the gym born exocets hitting in this way !

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Tobo April 18, 2013 5:44 pm

I have indeed played Rugby, and to see a tackle like this, where there is clearly no attempt to wrap either of the arms is obviously against the laws of the games, and he should have been penalised for it!

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tacklethis April 18, 2013 5:23 pm

if Kahui had superficially/very lightly touched his hands/fingertips together behind Tapuai's back then it wouldn't be illegal, even though he still would have smashed him all the same.
Whilst I advocate a 'proper' tackle, one could argue he attempted to wrap his arms around by having them behind the attacker's back as he tackled, and that there isn't that much difference between a huge hit with arms involved or not, since pretty much all the impact will come through the tackler's shoulder...

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matt April 19, 2013 12:28 am

I agree, the wrapping the arms requirement is designed to stop players from putting their arm across their own chest in order to compact the shoulder joint and muscles (ala Nonu on Wepu a few weeks ago), if you do this then your body compresses far less in the tackle and becomes dangerous, that is why they want players to attempt to wrap their arms. Simply tackling with your arms stuck out at the side would achieve the same result, but you'd look like a twat.

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Jon April 19, 2013 6:14 am

As a matter of fact, whether he puts his arms around him or not is completely irrelevant.
The law says nothing about wrapping. Not a thing.

The law simply states that a player must make "an attempt to grasp" the other player.
That's it.
Just an attempt, doesn't even have to succeed. Wrapping is a made up rule. Never existed.

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Peter April 18, 2013 5:50 pm

I agree with Kevin, he led with his shoulder & arms but there's no way he could have wrapped the player, he hit him too hard. Good tackle.

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weltot April 18, 2013 7:59 pm

There is no attempt to wrap his arms. His right arm is held down rigidly - it doesn't even swing up/around after the tackle - so he hit with the shoulder and nothing else. If you smash a guy and don't fall with him, chances are you haven't tackled him properly. Looked the biz, though.

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Jon April 19, 2013 6:33 am

This is nonsense.
You just made up some rules.
Show me where it says any of this in the laws of the game.

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Alex April 18, 2013 8:07 pm

I think the reason this could be an illegal tackle surely lies in the fact that first and foremost (as is backed-up from Kevin and Peter's own comments) Richard Kahui hit him too hard......exactly, it would seem for Kahui it is a case of hit as hard as you can, rather than think about the welfare of the other player and hit as hard as possible, but first ensuring the hit is legal. I would say the incentive should be to tackle fair first, hard second, not the other way around.

The fact that he 'hit him too hard' is basically to disregard the idea of a legal challenge and condone reckless play, which is and should always be penalised!

That's my take on it. Certainly as I watch it, there is no evidence of wrapping of the arms, whether attempted or not, so this would be a reckless challenge.

I guess the bigger question could be, and I think this could apply to a variety of circumstances (e.g. Paul O' Connell's recent kick which unfortunately caught Dave Kearney badly), how do we penalise reckless play? On a case-by case basis I guess (as is the norm now) but its hard to put a framework law together to cover this fully across the board. Please correct me if this is not the case!

Anyway that's my take on the matter, and I do not wish to take away from the fact that Kahui displays some formidable physicality here which will certianyl get him noticed for the all blacks, and from previous years I know he's the sort of player who wouldn'g go out and hurt someone deliberately in an unreasonable manner.

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matt April 19, 2013 12:31 am

As I said above the idea of wrapping your arms is just to ensure people aren't forming their bodies up into missiles and using the hardest parts to hit people. The fact that he has tackled with an open front is enough to achieve this, and makes it a 'safe' tackle.

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Alex April 19, 2013 2:30 am

Mmm...maybe. You're probably right, although I feel a wrapping of the arms should constitute more than simply an open front. My suggestion to the powers that be would be to go one step further. Man, it is a tricky one eh?

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Jon April 19, 2013 5:57 am

Alex, the laws do not mention the word wrap anywhere.
The law states (I'm so sick of pointing this out, btw) that a player must "make an attempt to grasp" the other player.

That's it. They don't have to succeed, just to attempt.

It's simply to stop players forming up side on, with their arms tucked into their chests and hitting only with the point of the shoulder, NFL style.

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TotesMcGoates April 18, 2013 11:28 pm

Reminds me of the Palu hit on Kearney from a few years ago. Cliffy was yellow carded for that one even though there was more of an attempt to use arms in the tackle. I'm on the fence on this one. On one hand, it's great to watch. On the other, I'm reminded of Master Yoda; "Do or do not, there is no try". If the law says to use arms, attempting and failing is probably not good enough.

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Frenchie April 18, 2013 11:37 pm

Totally illegal tackle

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fintz April 19, 2013 12:03 am

Tapuai is tough as nails. Every now and then you see a player like that who can take an absolute hammering and get up and go on with things. It's hugely demoralising for an opponent to make a huge tackle and have the player get straight back up as though nothing has happened. It's pretty intimidating to come up against an opponent that tough and poses a huge psychological hurdle. Most players you'd have to dig out of the ground with a shovel after taking a hit like that. Huge respect.

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Jon April 19, 2013 1:13 am

It was a huge hit and Kahui is a great player, but it was an illegal hit.

First, his right shoulder hit Tapuai in the neck/chin. Second, there was not attempt to wrap, as has already been stated (his right arm is rigid and did not even begin to wrap after the hit.

And to say that Kahui hit him too hard and couldn't wrap because Tapuai fell back too fast is just a ridiculous excuse. There is no way that a professional rugby player as physically fit as Kahui could not have wrapped in time. If a player's can not get their arms around fast enough, then they have severely deficient reaction/strength in their arms and shoulders. Which is not the case.

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Kyle gross April 19, 2013 2:46 am

And he got right back up like the boss he is

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FOS April 19, 2013 3:03 am

Taps always cops it at least once a season.. see Juan De Jongh break his collarbone. Big respect for having the vision to offload and getting the ball away knowing you are going to get smashed, he has some skills and speed to make up for his size.

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Canadian content April 19, 2013 4:40 am

In my younger days when I tried to lay hits like that, I'd say fair Play to kahui, big contact that's all. But I'd know that I was makIng no attempt to wrap and was Only looking for the big impact. After 21 years in the game we all love I know that that type of hit does nothing but bad things for both the distributor and the recipients health. Looks cool, great on tv, feels good to kahui at the time, but could lead to serious injury for tapui and kahui too if his head gets in the wrong Place. I like a real tough, hard game better than anyone, but I like players walking off the field better. Penalty at the least, yellow at the most, no citing needed.

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Jon April 19, 2013 5:53 am

I'm an Australian, and was happy to see the Reds beat the Chiefs.

As someone bias against the Chiefs, I have to say this.

This is a perfectly legitimate, quality tackle.

It's not illegal, he made an attempt to grasp Tapui, but couldn't.

You think that's illegal, you're playing the wrong game.

It's a good clean, quality hit.
It's always northern hemisphere fans looking for penalties, cards and bans. It's nuts. This was just good defense.

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DrG April 19, 2013 10:47 am

Totally agree with you Jon. Those Northern hemisphere fans are ridiculous, they always look for forward passes in great passages of play when if we let them go then the game looks prettier, and in anyway, if the attacking team is attacking strongly then why not reward them by letting a couple forward passes and a bit of crossing go. The game flows so much better when the referee and those nosey NH fans keep their big noses out of the game.

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Jimothy April 19, 2013 1:59 pm

How can you possibly tell who is and isn't from the NH? What an idiotic comment to make!!!! As a matter of fact I am from the NH and I think this is a perfectly timed tackle and there is nothing wrong with it.

As for rewarding the attacking team by letting forward passes go! It is all good as long as it's your team attacking right? Another idiotic comment. Remove the rules and the game you're playing is no longer rugby. Hey, why don't we introduce forward passing, allow blocking and wear pads...oh wait!

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Jimothy April 19, 2013 2:02 pm

How do you delete a comment when you realise you've just made a t**t of yourself :)

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DrG April 19, 2013 10:44 am

I hate jumping in with this shoulder/no shoulder, wrap/no wrap shit. Of course we all know when someone says "leading with the shoulder" they mean arms tucked in shoulder hitting. I of course lead with my shoulder into a tackle, just not in the way others mean, we all know the first point of contact is generally the shoulder, the arms then wrap and you; more often than not, go down with the player to constitute "holding them" so they do not carry on (as if not held!).

What I saw here was perhaps not as "calculated" as I might make out, but it was definitely a tackle where no effort was made to wrap, anyone with a brain cell could tell that little tap with the left hand does not constitute an "effort to wrap", Kahui knows it as do most others. What he has done, perhaps by mistake, is ticked the box for a technically legal tackle:

Below shoulder? Y
Man had ball? Y
Man on the ground? Y
Attempt to wrap?..if you call a feeble little tap an attempt, then Y...

So yes, whilst all the boxes are ticked, there is still no way I'm buying it.

As I say, it sounds like I'm making it out to be hugely calculated, when in actual fact I think it is actually a lack of effort in some parts. I don't buy the "he hit him so hard the guy just bounced off" stuff.

Brilliant "tackle" to see, great defence seeing as he got away with it, and a great player.

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GMac April 19, 2013 1:02 pm

This takle is perfectly fine. You can see in the slow-mo that his arms do actually start to go around him but Kahui's just hit him so hard (and in a fairly upright position) that Tapuai just bouces of him. If he wrapped he would have been wrapping fresh air cus Tapuai was already on his arse.

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Canadian content April 19, 2013 1:34 pm

There's a minor attempt to wraP with his left arm, none at all with his right, which is hanging down allowing his shoulder to be more compact, a la shoulder charge.

And Jon, as a Canadian, yes that technically means I live in the northern hemisphere. But If you've ever watched any team Canada rugby, you'd know that this type of hit is pretty typical for a canadian. We come from a shoulder charging sporting culture of hockey (note not ice hockey) and football. I've thrown plenty of shoulder charges, though none that spectacular, and know when one is being disguised as a tackle (a la swb). Perhaps the right game for u is league.

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matt April 19, 2013 8:49 pm

A La Sonny Will Billiams?
Switching to league isnt going to help you if you're looking to charge...

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craig April 19, 2013 1:42 pm

yous are all so stupid and piss me off to the max, you are the type of people who need to start playing a bit more rugby, perfect tackle, tell me this one guys, how the fuck can you run at full speed rap your arms round the player and make a huge hit... you cant. so dont hit me with the stupid answers, you can see him trying to get his arms round but richard hits him that hard that the oposition player bounces off him.

we are not playing a soft sport !!! so stop trying to make it one.

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DrG April 19, 2013 8:23 pm

Yeh you're right, I've never played a single game. It's too rough for me, I prefer tiddlywinks as long as I have a couple pairs of goggles on.

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matt April 19, 2013 8:51 pm

You ought to watch your sarcasm, this lad is on first name terms with Kahui, he might send him round to teach you some manners.

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Craig April 19, 2013 8:42 pm

Drg- your comments are shit bro, all the fucking time,get off the computer and get a life mate your spending way to much time on this.

Your team must be the best team in the world the way you speak about it.

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DrG April 20, 2013 7:06 pm

Yeh, my team are some of the toughest tiddlywinkers around! I'm sidelined at the moment though, I had to have a couple stitches because a stray tiddlywink caught me across the cheek! Hence why I'm on here so much.

But of course I can tell you're held in high regard on this public website which thrives on traffic and encourages comments, so perhaps we should all just leave here and not comment so the website becomes defunct, good plan Einstein.

Oh and whilst we are all making suggestions regarding what others do, I suggest you go back to school and learn the difference between "you're" and "your", not to mention fixing your inability to hit the "reply" button.

Kisses to you Craig! xxx

*sidenote, and errors in that lot ^^ are my phones fault, not mine.

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Craig April 20, 2013 9:06 pm

Well that was THE biggest amount Of shit iv Ever read haha, yet again You try write something funny and inteligent. 100 Percent faggot. Would u like to speak russian then if my english is that bad, our Club is waiting for your reply big boy so we can have another laugh.

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DrG April 21, 2013 2:00 pm

Nope, no desire to "type" Russian as I don't know how...I can say a few things but you won't hear them.. Good on your club, hope they enjoy my comments although perhaps training would be more beneficial...

As for me, I need to get Tiddlywink practice underway.

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tadywankenobi April 19, 2013 9:10 pm

I'd like to add a little context here as to why I would have binned him.

As has been pointed out by numerous commenters, there is absolutely nothing in the laws which says a player must wrap or hold a player in the tackle. There is no guidance in the tackle laws to say that a player must get their arms around the player other than to say that a tackler must bring the tackled player safely to the ground.

There are, however two points of law which matter here. The first relates to dangerous play. A player must not make a "strong arm" tackle. This is essentially a clothes line in Wrestling terms. It's also where the uninformed get the "he must wrap" mantra. Well intentioned but mal-informed.

The second point is that the laws of the game are open to the interpretation of the referee. The safety of the players is primary and regardless of the fact that Tapuai got up, had that happened in front of me, I would have deemed the tackle borderline strong arm and without an attempt to bring the player safely to the ground.

I have seen big hits made, had big hits made against me, and made an effort to impart big hits. I've never seen anyone in a TACKLE situation not be able to bring a player to ground without being able to get their arms around the tackled player. This is a shoulder charge, is illegal in union and should have been sanctioned. The fact it wasn't, doesn't make it right.

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Craig April 19, 2013 10:08 pm

Totaly agree with you there mate with the laws, when u look at the slow part of the video, i think he has got his body position correct. He has his arms at the side of the player, i would say that hes a bit high but When you look at the opposition player he slows down and lowers his body to pass thats the only problem i would point out. If he was tackling lower , would u think different about it ??

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tadywankenobi April 19, 2013 10:55 pm

That's a very interesting point you raise Craig. Had the tackle been waist high say or around the midrift, I think the human instinct to hold on would have kicked in. I think even if his hands had come up to support himself on Tapuai's falling body, then yes, I probably would have accepted that as a tackle. I've never seen anyone charge without binding or wrapping at that low height so I think there's a personal protective instinct in the tackler that would have kicked in, enforcing a bind.

Another point worth considering is if Steve Walsh (the ref, who I do not rate at all) had actually carded Kahui for the tackle, would we be having this conversation?

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weltot April 21, 2013 10:14 am

To put it another way, what is the difference between this and a shoulder charge?

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Anothercouchref April 25, 2013 4:30 pm

I am another couch ref.

The way I see it, it was a perfectly legitimate tackle. He hit 'em good and hard and Tapuai went down like a sack of the proverbial.

If the other couch referees are confident enough with their calls to reverse the one that stood on the field, please put up your crudentials so we can check the level to which you have refereed. The cream, as they say, rises to the top, so if you are indeed as fine a whistle blower as some of you presume of yourselves, I am sure we will see you on the top-stage or the big screen one of these days.

Most on here have played some sort of rugby, but the levels most of us play are not the ones that are replayed time and again in slow-mo on a 40" Plasma flat-screen. Over analysis by key-board warriors will never mean much to the real men in country colours. Nevertheless, carry on and indulge yourself.

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Switch May 09, 2013 3:54 am

That was a nice tackle. Wondering if Tapuai was in Kahui's position and Tapuai applies the tackle. I bet Kahui would be planted in the ground. Tapuai has my respect as he stood up and do his thing as if nothing happened.

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bearandbu May 14, 2013 7:17 pm

If the referee had the benefit of slo-mo, as we all do sitting in front of our computers, he might have concluded (as I do) that there was no attempt to grasp. In real time, full speed, I've got nothing but a hard and legal tackle. If he was feeling pissy, he might have trotted out the "dangerous tackle" excuse, er, um, law.

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