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Monday, January 20, 2014

New Ireland prop Rodney Ah You smashes lock Alistair Hargreaves

New Zealand born Connacht prop Rodney Ah You made one of the tackles on the weekend despite his side being thumped 64-6 by Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday. Kiwi Ah You was recently named in Ireland's extended Six Nations squad.

Saracens were completely dominant against Connacht and as if to rub salt into the wounds, they even scored a try after this cracking tackle was made. It's worth seeing though, and former boxer Ah You's story is an interesting one.

Ah You made the move to Ireland after not quite cracking the Crusaders or Super Rugby setup back home, despite having played for New Zealand at both u19 and u20 level.

After arriving in Ireland things weren't entirely plain sailing, but they're now starting to take shape and after 62 Connacht appearances - with 52 coming off the bench - he has now extended his deal and could possibly play for his newly adopted country very soon.

"My initial reaction was pure shock," he told the Irish Times after hearing about his selection.

"You know: it can't be true. It can't be true. But yeah, it has slowly been sinking in.."

In December he signed a contract extension that means he'll be with Connacht until 2016. It's a long way from Christchurch but for Rodney, wife Bella and their children, it's now very much home.

In October he qualified to play for Ireland through residency, and this could be the year that sees him wearing the colours of the country he beat with the Baby Blacks at junior level in 2007.

"We made the big decision to move here from New Zealand over three years ago and we've never looked back. Galway is our home. It’s where our two boys were born and we love it here," he said.

While it might be some time before he's a regular fixture in the Ireland squad, with hard hitting tackles like this he's sure to get the attention of the Ireland coach, fellow Kiwi Joe Schmidt.

Posted at 7:37 pm | 43 comments

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 43 comments

juan January 20, 2014 9:15 pm

I think Irb needs to put a limit in foreign players playing with other national teams. So, if you need a prop, a center or a fly half, you go to the market? Oh, thats very easy! Here in Argentina we don even think to look for players from other countries. If we dont have it, we play with our resources...
Italy is like a Barbarians "B", full with argentinian players!!!

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Reality January 20, 2014 10:12 pm

Hear hear! As an Irishman I'm actually ashamed when the IRFU go looking for anyone who hasn't been capped by New Zealand or South Africa and they offer them a big, fat cheque to come play rugby for a country they've probably never set foot in until now. There are exceptional cases like Tom Court - Australian-born but who has Irish ancestry and went from nothing to the player he is in Ireland, but Rodney Ah You has no link at all with Ireland except having a work contract there. And then Munster buy in CJ Stander and before he's even played they're talking about playing him for Ireland once 3 years have passed, and the same for Jared Payne; it's absolutely shameful! International rugby is becoming club rugby, because it's not Irishmen against Englishmen anymore, it's people being payed to play in Ireland vs people being payed to play in England. It's embarrassing to have to say that even though the country has such a long history of rugby and such recent success, we have to just buy in New Zealanders because actual Irish people are too crap to play for the national team.

They really need to bring in a rule that you have to be a citizen of the country or have some strong family link, or something more reasonable than having been employed for more than 3 years in the country.

Well done to Argentina, South Africa and Wales who seem to be the only top-tier teams not cheating the system in this way.

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Hooker January 20, 2014 10:47 pm

In fairness, they havent paid him top dollar to come and play over here. Connacht found a young talented prop and signed, nobody would have been expecting him to ever be in the Irish squad, not even himself! What is not fair is when a Connacht player makes the Irish squad, they are robbed by Leinster or Munster! But he has set up camp here and seems to be here for the long haul. Best of luck to him!

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Full Back January 23, 2014 1:36 pm

But they've also gained from the leinster acadamy with players such as Fionn Carr and the likes

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Benny January 27, 2014 9:09 am

I would hardly say they "found" him - he'd already played U19 and U20 for NZ.

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Bar January 20, 2014 10:55 pm

Shane Howarth. Matt Cardey.

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matt January 20, 2014 11:25 pm

I think you need to scratch South Africa off that list. If I'm not mistaken 'beast' Mtawarira is from Zimbabwe and they rushed through his citizenship to let him play again. I think there have been several others over the years that were allowed to play if they were good enough.

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You Dreaming January 21, 2014 12:47 am

It's the 20th century the game has changed immensely so regardless of who's in who's team it's about creating a world class team to take to the field ... Rodney lets face it, is built like Hulk and can smash em too, that's all natural from where he comes from .. and come on if you have a Hulk like him in your country and then you have a coach that knows what great players are made of you ought a be kicking yourself if you miss that opportunity! I guess if you want to win a world cup ... you should take a leaf out of the AB's booklet so you can win a world cup and put Ireland on the map! #justsaying Go Rodney !!

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TotesMcGoates January 21, 2014 2:27 am

Off the top of my head, I don't think Toby Faletau was not born in nor has any ancestral link to Wales. Could be wrong on that one though!

He's lived there most of his life so it's a bit of a different situation. The point is that everyone seems to be doing it to some extent.

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DrG January 21, 2014 2:43 am

Strong Welsh name that "Toby Faletau from the valley's"

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TotesMcGoates January 21, 2014 5:32 am

Haha, he could have a Welsh mum is all I'm saying!

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DrG January 21, 2014 10:36 am

Yeh that's a possibility...

Actually just wiki'd him, doesn't mention his mum, but says he was born in Tonga and is the son of a Tongan international, however the father and Toby moved to Wales when he was 7. So in effect he is sort of a product of Welsh schooling/rugby. In a way a bit like Manu Tuilagi for England.

Those are the sorts of areas where I don't have a problem with "foreign" players playing for teams, because I suppose Wales is probably more of a home to TF than Tonga.

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browner January 21, 2014 9:31 pm

LOL, you're not serious DrG are you .... neither of them are a product of schooling .... they are a product of "Gene Pool migration facilitated by £'s"

Tuilagi had way below average skill sets as a teenager, but way way way above average physical attributes !

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DrG January 21, 2014 11:03 pm

Would like to see the facts you have to back up your statement there...

Anyway, are you suggesting that his skill set nowadays is a result of genes? If you are then I must apologise in advance for calling you a fucking moron... I don't normally stoop this low but you're taking the piss if you think a boy who came to the UK at 13(?)yrs old had the skill set he has now at the age of 22-23(?)...

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browner January 22, 2014 6:57 pm

Of course he's improved most 13 yr olds do each year until they reach 21, and tuilagi would've done at any rugby club, in fact so would've my sister.

Manu was on the wing as a kid, catch the ball and run like fuck & bash anyone that came your way , that's it, little else ...... Kinda what we see now except in a bigger version...... & if you can't see that DrG then it's you who is the fockwit morun, not me ........If you can't be civil, then don't bother replying - Twunt's like you bore me.

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DrG January 22, 2014 11:30 pm

...said the moron that can't spell... See my comment below you ignorant halfwit!

Oh and like I said, show me some facts regarding your comment: "Tuilagi had way below average skill sets as a teenager"

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DrG January 21, 2014 11:05 pm

Actually browner, ignore the other comment, I make no apologies. You are a fucking moron.. "neither of them are the product of schooling"....

...right because 7 year old Faletau was handed a Welsh rugby shirt when he stepped off the plane...

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Lochlainn January 21, 2014 10:53 am

Argentina and wales, yes. But South Africa have a pretty strong history of playing Namibians and Zimbabweans (montogomery, mtwarira the most famous)

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sportsfan1 January 21, 2014 11:32 am

I think you can scrub Montgomery off that list. When he was born Namibia was South Africa and didn't become Namibia until he was about 16.

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Reality January 21, 2014 7:44 pm

Fair enough; South Africa aren't angels either. I'm not too sure about the situation with Mtawarira and his likes. Since the countries are neighbours I thought there was a natural spillover and that it's normal to have a part Namibian/Zimbabwean part South African upbringing. But I don't know enough about their situations so I can't comment too much. Maybe South Africa are just as guilty as any other country.

For Faletau, he was raised in Wales, so while he's (or wasn't) Welsh from an official point of view, in practice he is Welsh because that's where he grew up and became the person he is and where he learned to play rugby. He's the exceptional case that you can't argue too much against, but which should remain exceptional cases.

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pyes January 20, 2014 10:13 pm

If Argentina had a domestic competition that paid good salaries then you see players coming in from other countries.

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Lucius January 21, 2014 2:04 pm

Many of them got an italian passport

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s_conner January 20, 2014 9:33 pm

Part of me thinks that anyone who wants to commit themselves to play for another country and qualifies correctly then good luck to them. And yet when done on residency grounds I cant help but feel like someone that's coming through the youth ranks has missed out.

Great hit nevertheless.

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DanKnapp January 20, 2014 9:39 pm

I would also think that once you have played for a national team, at any age group, you should only be eligible for that country. Seems wrong that he can play for the ABs at U20s but then Ireland at senior level.

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Reality January 20, 2014 10:15 pm

s-connor, if Kazakhstan offered me a load of cash to play rugby for them I'd commit myself to play for them and forget about Ireland. It doesn't mean I'm Kazakh though or that I should be allowed to; it just means I'd want the opportunity to play international rugby and wouldn't want to turn down a financially lucrative offer.

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DrG January 21, 2014 2:50 am

Totally agree with you Reality, however is that particularly right?... especially if you then play against Uzbekistakiwakitobakistan and they're playing their own nationals because they cannot afford to bring in other players?

Ofcourse you cannot blame the players for taking the opportunity presented to them. But it's not really representing the greatness of your country if you're playing a bunch of mercenaries.

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DanKnapp January 20, 2014 9:37 pm

Wait, his name is 'Ah You'? That's amazing! That's almost as good as the fly half for ex-Canterbury, Gert de Kock, whose first name is pronounced 'Hurt'.

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DanKnapp January 20, 2014 9:37 pm

I of course meant the ex-fly half, not the fly half for ex-Canterbury. Idiot.

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Heinrich January 20, 2014 9:54 pm

The tackle wasn't even that hard good luck to him though!!

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SERGEANT PROP January 21, 2014 1:22 am

WALES?.....I DON'T THINK SO...WHAT ABOUT THE N° 8,WESLEY FOFANA?
PYES, YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT ARGENTINA, I'M ARGENTINIAN

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jaysus January 21, 2014 11:12 am

as long as hes not another michael bent. hadnt even landed on ireland yet and he was picked! jaysus

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ConnachtMan January 21, 2014 12:19 pm

Whoever decided Michael bent was International status needed their head examined, he was not good enough to play even AIL in my books! Sent the wrong message to all domestic props ...

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tui January 21, 2014 8:06 pm

You guys get our 3rd, 4th, 5th even 6 string players, they play in your competitions and look like super stars. Getting hit hard by Rodney Ah and players alike happens all the time here in New Zealand, right through age grade and our NPC and Super Rugby comps. It's what makes you mentally tougher and your telling everyone they should go home? You should all harden up, stop moaning and be happy that these New Zealand, Australian, South African and Pacific Island players are jumping the ditch to help develop your game. Then one day you might be able to say you saw your national team beat the mighty All Blacks. Just saying...

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Full Back January 23, 2014 1:48 pm

The Mighty All Blacks were founded by Scots Irish and Englishmen, they probably have the highest number of foreign born representatives of any top tier rugby team if you look back through their history.
Try a little humility there since you're not actually doing the hitting yourself!

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Tui January 26, 2014 5:47 am

exactly and we're not moaning and saying send them home are we??

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browner January 21, 2014 9:32 pm

I'm waiting for Bill Gates RFC to be inducted into the IRB !!!!

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browner January 21, 2014 9:35 pm

Ps, ......It was a good 'HIT', but NOT a good Tackle, not even legal - don't confuse the two ............. Crash band thud zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz change the laws IRB, lets re-cultivate skill not brawn .

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Canadian content January 21, 2014 11:16 pm

At full speed it doesn't look that bad actually, but I do agree Browner, we need to take HIT out of our vocabulary. It's snuck in the last few decades and rugby culture is turning more towards "winning the collisions" and making the "big hit". Look to the NFL as an example, of what not to do, suicides, close a billion dollar concussion law suits, etc...

I am not saying we need to sanitize the game and take the physicality out of it, I love a solid tackle as much as the next guy, but simply lowering your shoulder into a ball carrier and sending him crashing to the ground, promotes brawn and power over skill and technique.

As for this selection issue, we live in a global environment. Gone are the days of tribal warfare between the celtic nations and the olde enemy and the gauls on the mainland (whose Capt was born in Africa) where the golden sons of the present represented their lineage in a game of genealogical chess. If someone decides to move to a new country, lives there for a period and then decides to represent them, fair play to them.

However, not fair play to the IRFU to offer a cap to a player who's had over 80 percent of his caps coming off the bench!

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Being sensible here January 22, 2014 12:46 pm

I have a lot of respect for New Zealand rugby. However, fans like you give the rest of the supporters a bad name. Read your comment again - the entire passage is dripping with adulation.

"The mighty All Blacks", are the best team in the world right now, but that does not give you the right to sneer at other nations.

Why did you even make the post with that tone? The other posters were discussing whether a three-year residency rule feels like sufficient dedication to qualify to play for a country.

You joined the debate with all guns blazing, putting down other countries while fawning to New Zealand. Can you not see how your tone is completely at odds with that of the conversation?

It

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juan January 22, 2014 1:22 pm

Hi, it`s me again. If you want foreign players winning your games, you don´t love your colors enough... Without counting the number of young players that would be overshadowed by these "stars"...
I'd prefer lose every game with players from my country, before winning the RCH with eight foreign stars...

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Full Back January 23, 2014 1:55 pm

Juan, Esteban Lozada was born in Belgium, Rolando Martin was born in the USA, 90% of Argentinian internationals benefit from European club rugby formation.
Get off the high horse!

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DrG January 25, 2014 10:49 pm

Perhaps he wasn't suggesting his team was on the moral high ground, but instead suggesting what he feels is right or wrong..

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