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Monday, May 06, 2013

Jonny Wilkinson absolutely smashed by huge Opeti Fonua

Jonny Wilkinson was on the receiving end of one of the biggest knocks of his career as Toulon beat Agen 43-21 at the Stade Felix Mayol on Saturday. Wilkinson, who wasn't included in the initial Lions squad, didn't suffer any long term effects from the collision.

Winger Alexis Palisson scored a hat-trick of tries while former Springbok Danie Rossouw scored a brace as the home side secured a comfortable victory on the last weekend of Top 14 pool play.

Early in the second half Wilkinson went in for a trademark tackle but ended up picking on the wrong man, as massive Opeti Fonua came charging towards him, sending him flying at a rate of knots.

The former England star left the field for a concussion check, but returned shortly afterwards. He didn't last long though and left a few minutes later again to stick an icepack on the shoulder. The Toulon camp have since confirmed that he should be okay to play again soon.

It was great to see how quickly Agen centre Nafi Tuitavake was to get across to Wilkinson to see that he was okay, as well as one of the other players sticking their hands up recognising the possiblity of a serious injury.

As you can see in the [updated] clip, Fonua also bumped off David Smith and big Danie Rossouw.

Ross Skeate confirmed earlier that Fonua is weighing in at around 146kg's at the moment.

Both Toulon and table toppers Clermont have Semi Final spots lined up, where they will face the winners of Toulouse vs Racing Metro, and Castres vs Montpellier respectively. The playoff games take place this coming weekend, while the semis will be on the 24th and 25th May.



Posted by Rugbydump at 6:46 pm | View Comments (69)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 69 comments

Ando May 06, 2013 10:39 pm

Geez he's a big unit!

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UpTheLowEnd May 06, 2013 10:44 pm

and then some... 21 stone back rower, thats something else...

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dunndone May 06, 2013 10:49 pm

Poor Wilko not as young as he used to be but to be fair Fonua is a tank in a mans clothing.

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kevdubbya May 06, 2013 11:04 pm

Fair play to Wilkinson, he can see the guy is about to get the ball and despite giving a good 6-7 stone away, he still sets himself up to smash the dude like any other player....he may be getting on, but he's still gutsy as hell. Note to younger players, go low and save your brain.

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Munsterman May 06, 2013 11:36 pm

Nice to see the Agen 12 check to see if he was ok

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DanKnapp May 07, 2013 11:17 am

Respect between professionals. Footballers, take note.

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Stubby May 07, 2013 12:12 am

Nice to see the Hulk's skin tinting treatment is progressing well. 21 stone = 294 lbs for the non British.

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Merja May 07, 2013 12:49 am

Or 133kg for the non British and non Americans

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TotesMcGoates May 07, 2013 1:10 am

A man and a half for those of you not good with numbers.

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DanKnapp May 07, 2013 6:24 am

A fucking tank, for those of you of a more poetic mind.

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Guy May 07, 2013 8:54 am

And for those that spend most of their spare time on National Geographic Channel: a rampaging rhinocerous.

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Andy May 07, 2013 12:19 pm

wow that escalated quickly

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guest May 07, 2013 1:47 am

I saw the match. straight after he smashed Wilko, he made a huge hit on Roussow. Fonua was massive against RCT. I can see that some of RCT players are too afraid to tackle him. too bad his team are relegated...

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Guest May 07, 2013 2:54 am

Have you seen him play more often? He's wearing 24, curious as to what his game is missing that's keeping him on the bench? He look absolutely terrifying...

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vannrugby May 07, 2013 5:31 am

He's wearing 24 because his No. 8 got torn (there is no No. 24!). He usually starts at No. 8. As Agen is relegated, he'll play for another team next year, maybe Perpignan.

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mxyzptlk Top Comment | May 07, 2013 6:33 am

I thought it was because he's three times the size of a number 8.

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DrG May 07, 2013 9:22 am

...*facepalm*.. They're all out today lol..

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FatProp May 08, 2013 5:47 pm

He is linked with scarlets, what a back row Barclay Shingler Fonua

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Wisky May 09, 2013 10:21 pm

24 is the only shirt he fits

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Rugbydump May 07, 2013 11:37 am

The bump on Danie Rossouw is included in a longer, updated clip above.

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jimter10 May 07, 2013 5:01 am

what an absolute monster.Wilkinson did't flinch about hitting hard and up top,but he got totalled.he doesn't do self preservation,rog would have been digging a hole with his gum shield to get out the way,as would i

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stroudos May 08, 2013 7:41 am

Unfair. ROG, despite his inability to tackle, I don't think I've seen him shirk a tackle. Cipriani would be a better example, unless he's tackling buses that is.

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DrG May 09, 2013 10:18 am

After this tackle, I think Wilkinson would have given that bus a concussion...

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Guy May 07, 2013 8:53 am

He did enough to slow him down which made it easier for his teammates to tackle him.

Two very commited players. Great to watch, great to hear Wilkinson will be okay and absolutely wonderfull to see one of the Agen players pay attention to him immediately.

As I said before: God I love this sport!

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jeppy89 May 07, 2013 8:54 am

Digging a hole with his gumshield haha stealing that!!!!

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DrG May 07, 2013 9:20 am

Seems like this guy has either gotten lighter or someone hasn't got their scales fixed, according to 'O Great accurate wiki' this guys is/was 24 stone...à la 150kg's...

Definitely ate his weetabix when he was little... And everyone else's...

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Anon May 07, 2013 10:30 am

Full respect to wilko, knows his body aint what it used to be and still tries to put in a big hit on a guy like that, there arent many 10's around now with that sort of commitment. Thats the attitude (along with the outstanding play and kicking of course) that makes him one of the greats of world rugby

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matt May 07, 2013 11:02 am

and also that has meant he has spent much of his career on side lines.

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WelshOsprey May 07, 2013 11:28 am

Imagine if Ronan O'Gara had to make that tackle

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DanKnapp May 07, 2013 9:15 pm

I can smell the hypothetical fear now...

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Reality May 08, 2013 12:23 am

There'd be a Ronan O'Gara-shaped hole in the ground.

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MattyJ May 07, 2013 11:57 am


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AndyBoy May 07, 2013 12:28 pm

And to any children watching, that's why you don't tackle high!

Nice reaction by white 12.

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poccio May 07, 2013 12:35 pm

this reminds me of the video on the importance of tackling low!!

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Canadian ref May 07, 2013 12:38 pm

Did anyone get the license number of that dumptruck! My word, that was immense!

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cheyanqui May 07, 2013 1:07 pm

this friggin guy leaves a groove in the asphalt...

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EddyD May 07, 2013 12:59 pm

Went far too high!

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cheyanqui May 07, 2013 1:01 pm

something every big boy dreams of -- to smash a flyhalf, and to smash a marquee guy like a Wilko. But glad to see Agen know the difference between a good hit and something that might actually hurt-hurt a member of our brotherhood.

Full credit to Jonny who still at his age and level still steps up to the physical part of the game -- at this stage of his career, many "emeritus" backs end up being human turnstiles (or always were, like Ronan O'Gara). But Wilko still stands and delivers as best he can.

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Sam May 07, 2013 1:39 pm

All 3 tackles shown here, the guys are trying to smash him backwards, and also trying to tackle him round the torso. Note kids, try and tackle the big guys low!!

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DrG May 07, 2013 1:53 pm

Poor ROG is getting a bit of a bashing in this comment section...

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Nick May 07, 2013 2:49 pm

I guess that's because, despite his excellence in other areas of the game, when it comes to defensive work ROG vanishes like a fart in the breeze.

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LuckyLeon May 07, 2013 2:08 pm

Everyone gets a hand off like that some stage or another during their careers, however not all of them are caught on cameras. Big ups for Wilko to get up and walk off... a tough character.

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Wheelo May 07, 2013 4:03 pm

You have to admire his commitment to that challenge. Hundreds wouldn't have taken him head on like that. Good man for dusting himself down and carrying on too.

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browner May 07, 2013 5:52 pm

Interestingly, once upon a time JW used to tackle lower than this ....... but recent law changes have resulted in higher & higher tackle attempts - AKA rugby league style. IMO it's leading to more injured Ball carriers & defenders than in days gone by. Any comment?

2ndly, after the wilkinson hit, he made <1m progress.......If he'd used footwork before the contact I suspect he might have made a lot more. Big bugger yes, skillful rugby player...uh - no!

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waxy90 May 07, 2013 8:09 pm

True man, but in this case that guy weighs 150kg whether u go high or low you are in for a treat hahaha.

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DrG May 08, 2013 6:07 pm

I disagree with your last sentence "skillful rugby player....uh - no!"

Well firstly he is a bit more skillful enough to be playing pro-rugby... Secondly I think he was probably just as surprised to have Wilko "front up" and even attempt to tackle. I have no doubt that JW put a huge amount of force into that hit... It was just the lighter of the two forces was flung away...

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Rugbydump May 07, 2013 9:52 pm

Just heard from his Agen teammate Ross Skeate, who says that Fonua told him earlier today that he is coming in around 146kg's at the moment.

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Guy May 07, 2013 10:26 pm

This is just one more amazing piece of proof of all the effort that is being put into this site and the interest RD takes in all followers and their comments.

Thanks RD: I bet since posting this video everyone had been waiting for this. Top notch!

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Rugbydump May 08, 2013 10:27 pm

You're welcome, and thank you.

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CEO Front Row Union May 08, 2013 1:29 pm

That was before breakfast

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Welchy May 07, 2013 9:54 pm

Any idea why he's not in the Tonga national squad?

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SuperRugby May 09, 2013 6:33 am

He has played, but I think his club just doesn't release him

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Reality May 08, 2013 12:28 am

God, I'd love to see someone famous for big-hitting tackles and who weighs a lot (a forward) tackle this guy. Stephen Ferris vs Fonua would be probably the most powerful collision ever seen in rugby. I can't imagine either of them losing, but I can't imagine either of them winning either. Or maybe Henry Tuilagi vs Fonua would be even more earth-shattering.

Incidentally, does anyone understand why the crowd started booing after play was stopped? Were they booing Fonua, Wilkinson or the referee? And why?

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SuperRugbyFan May 09, 2013 6:40 am

I'm pretty sure Fonua and Henry have gone a few rounds against each other

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themull May 08, 2013 2:06 am

Absolute monster of a usual Wilko is a man and puts his body on the line...unfortunately in this situatuon there's nothing he could've done...

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Craigy May 08, 2013 3:27 am

What a pathetic tackle, this is EXACTLY how you dont tackle a big man. 1way ticket to Disneyland, as shown. Terrible technique, he should know better than to tackle high on a player 3 times his size. What was Wilkinson thinking? Those hits over the years must be taking their toll, Wilkinson got what he asked for.

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Guy May 08, 2013 11:31 am

Maybe you should offer to teach him how to tackle properly?!

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Guest May 08, 2013 11:15 am

To me, this looked like a two-man, high-low tackle. I think JW and the number 12 aimed for him together, and Wilko just happened to be on the ball side of Fonua, thus forcing him to aim his part of the tackle high to cover said ball while the number 12 went low. If that was the case, this would have been a good team tackling strategy. However, I could very well be wrong, and maybe Wilko really just got blasted away for making a foolish tackling decision.

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10stonenumber10 May 08, 2013 12:03 pm

Somebody get that man a beer. Even attempting to tackle that runaway train... high, low, good or bad technique, baseball bat, taser, tear gas, whatever you have to do to try and stop him... deserves a medal.

All credit to the oppo though, probably a well rehearsed training ground move "you smash it up, you clear the ruck, i'll check the poor b*stard still has a pulse!"

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DrG May 09, 2013 10:22 am

Haha, last line had me laughing out loud!

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CEO Front Row Union May 08, 2013 1:31 pm

To be fair I doubt no-one (apart from the locks) would have long enough arms to get around one leg ... let alone both legs

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Benny May 08, 2013 6:28 pm

The Tongans have no respect for the laws of physics. They produce Jonah, a winger bigger than most loosies, then this #8 who is bigger than most props, and Taumalolo, a prop who scores more tries than most wingers. Sick

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Fox May 08, 2013 7:02 pm

Craigy I assume you are taking the p!5s. the guy is huge and can bump people off no matter how they tackle him. Wilko has shown himself to have one of best defensive games of any 10 in world rugby at the highest level. Unless you have spent the last 15 years playing international rugby I don't think you are adequately placed to criticise his tackling technique.
On another note, Fonua is weighing in at 23 stone at the mo. Mahoosive

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Frenchie May 08, 2013 10:20 pm

To be honest not the best tackle, but loads of guts for sure

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DrG May 09, 2013 10:27 am

Sends shivers that you can have an 8 that big... imagine turning up to your club match on a Saturday, you're all warming up, going through a few moves and a beast that size comes out for the opposition team...He's 6'5.5" according to wiki.. I'm 6'6" and I weigh about 110kg's give or take...

Puts a bit of terrifying perspective on things...

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Jimothy May 10, 2013 11:05 pm

Jerry Collins did just that! Imagine being the opposition 9 and knowing JC is at 8! Squeaky bum time me thinks!!!

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DrG May 11, 2013 11:49 am

I remember that, I had a friend at Uni who played in that match, he said Collins must have been playing at about 40% and was still being a major pain in the ass!

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Spearchucker May 12, 2013 10:20 pm

That's what rugby is all about. Notice how quick Tuitavake (Agen) rushed to his aid. You could not wish for a better definition of or advert for rugby - big legitimate hits, genuine concern for the wounded and universal friendship before and after games (but certainly not during!).
Proud to have once been a miniscule part of this brilliant game.

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Tin Ribs May 29, 2013 3:32 pm

Nowt much worse than being confronted by an absolute tank like this fellow on the pitch. Not that I've ever come across anyone that large... but you get the picture.
Wilko showed just how ballsy he is even attempting to tackle him how he did, and I think it would have gone a tad better for him, had Fonua's shoulder not crashed into his face. (emphasis on the tad) However, it's obvious that this wasn't just a one off when you take into account the fact he put Danie Roussouw on his arse, who according to wiki weighs in at 18st 10 pounds.

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