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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Dave Attwood's big tackles on Steve Borthwick and Mako Vunipola

Saracens beat Bath 23-10 in a Round 16 Aviva Premiership game at the weekend. Bath lock Dave Attwood made a huge tackle in the first half, then followed it up with another strong hit seconds later. The tackles are below, with official highlights on page two.

Attwood is part of the England squad that met up last night to prepare for Sunday's Six Nations match against Wales. His performance against Saracens wouldn't have hurt his cause at all, as the kind of heart he showed is exactly what coach Stuart Lancaster would be looking for.

The 26-year-old former Gloucester second rower tweeted after the match that his body was very sore, and after seeing the way he threw it about, it's easy to understand why.

In the first tackle we see him driving back lock Steve Borthwick, who himself is a big lump of a man. Attwood physically dominates him then with the adrenalin pumping, flies into prop Mako Vunipola less than a minute later.

The second tackle wasn't as technically sound as the first (even if his head may have started on the wrong side), but for showing little regard for his own body, it's just as impressive. 

The England team to face Wales will be named later this week so it'll be interesting to see if he gets a look in. If he does, we're sure to see more of that level of intensity very soon.

As mentioned above, you can view official highlights from the match on page two

An official highlights wrap of the Bath vs Saracens Round 16 Aviva Premiership match

Posted by Rugbydump at 10:41 am | View Comments (23)

Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 23 comments

FatProp March 04, 2014 1:22 pm

I think Attwood should start vs wales with launchbury 6 I mean that would be immense !!! And this is coming from a Saracen fan whos tem just got beaten up by him.

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DanKnapp March 04, 2014 3:05 pm


Those are some awesome tackles. His stats when he came on against Ireland were really impressive as well. He's certainly not doing his chances any harm with hits like that.

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Phil mc avity March 04, 2014 3:41 pm

Totally agree with Austin, I don't think he was playing with his heart for England at the beggining of the six nations, walking around yet he had come of the bench...etc but since the ireland game, and this one he has been immense. I wouldn't drop Lawes or Launchbry because their game style suits englands pack (very mobile and athletic) but he coming on for Lawes would be what Morgan has been comming on for Vunipola, keeps the bar at the same level.
Also it would be a shame to change the second row at the moment seen as the lineout has been spot on.
But fair play to Attwood he is acting like a world class player now. Brilliant for England!

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stroudos March 04, 2014 4:21 pm

@Phil - I mean it cannot simply be coincidence, can it? That only a couple of weeks ago on these esteemed pages, Attwood was called out for being lazy and walking too slowly from ruck to ruck. And then in every performance since then, he has worked his socks off. Pat on the back to you sir. :)

Also I agree 100% with your assessment of what it means to england, ie don't change a thing. What an awesome impact player to have. Knowledge that he's available on the bench means Lawes can go out at maximum intensity and smash people non-stop, no need to worry about conserving energy, just go full throttle and when the oppo think they can't take any more throw Attwood on to smash them all over again.

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Phil mc avity March 05, 2014 9:57 am

Not many teams have good replacements, and I don't think the key to winning a world cup is just having a brilliant XV. Just because a player is playing well, doesn't mean he should start, hopefully they're all playing well, and this just makes the team stronger.
We're starting to have a good bench: Corbs/vunipola, Wilson/thomas, shame about Youngs but I think Luke cowan Dickie could be one to watch!, parling/attwood, morgan/croft/clark , b.youngs, ford/cipriani, tuilagi/foden

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DrG March 05, 2014 4:08 pm

Phil, start making comments about lazy Scots or lazy Italians and see if you can get them to pull their socks up - them winning would make me a tidy sum if I took a trip to the bookies!

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stroudos March 04, 2014 5:30 pm

What a contrast between the two tackles though. First one - textbook body positioning, timing and execution. Second one is awful, just threw himself in Vunipola's way! Throwing yourself in front of an 18+ stone monster moving at pace is seriously ill-advised. I mean he got the job done, but I really don't want to see him tackling people like that - not during international test match season anyway!

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Phil mc avity March 05, 2014 9:59 am

I agree, and Vunipola took the hit! Where as Borthwick just got dumped.

Stroudos would you play Tuilagi or Yarde this weekend?

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stroudos March 06, 2014 7:41 am

From what I've read, it sounded like Tuilagi was some way off Test match fitness last weekend, so I definitely wouldn't start him, particularly with Twelvetrees and Burrell doing pretty well so far. Might be worth having him on the bench though, at least to keep the Welsh guessing. If he comes on, I would have him at 13 with Burrell moving in one and 36 taking a breather - or, if one of Nowell or May is struggling bung him on the wing, that would shake things up a bit.

Having said that, I don't think this is the game to try out options, but against Italy, (at the risk of being condescending and it may depend how much is at stake), I would like to see Yarde and also Watson have a trot round the paddock if that's feasible. I'm mostly happy with what I've seen from May and Nowell, and I reckon they should play against Wales.

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DrG March 06, 2014 12:27 pm

To jump in on this, I'd agree with you there Stroudos, I think it would be grossly unfair to bring in Tuilagi to start based on his past reputation an form, over a well firing centre partnership right now, but the bench is definitely better than leaving him out altogether.

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Phil mc avity March 06, 2014 6:20 pm

No I agree, you can't drop either of the centres (same with the starting XV) seen as they've just played well against Ireland, even for someone like May who wasn't great, I would still give him another chance, seen as this is a 'must win game', and bringing in someone like Yarde who has had not much game time would be an almost bigger risk than dropping an average May.
I would have definetly dropped Goode from the bench, and either put Tuilagi, Watson,Yarde or Eastmond.
In that order probably.

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Eddie-g March 04, 2014 5:33 pm

Anyone know why both sides were wearing blue and white hooped jerseys? It's not the worst jersey-clash in the history of the game, but really, it's the kind of small thing that should be avoided.

Nice tackles though, doing exactly what you want from a second-rower.

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DrG March 05, 2014 4:15 pm

Ok, this is not a 'trolling' comment, BUT, could his tackle against Borthwick arguably be classed as a tip tackle?

I mean Borthwick put his arm down which; again arguably, is part of his 'upper body' no? and also stopped say his shoulder or other part of the upper body hit the ground first...

I would HATE to see a penalty for that tackle, it was perfect (in my eyes) but really, if you applied the law, to the letter of the law, I think I can perhaps see a 'tip tackle' here.

Just putting it out there as food for thought. If you reply, then I'm not asking you to throw abuse at me for bringing this up, because I said myself I think it's a brilliant tackle, I just wouldn't mind some clarification to the laws and whether people think that 'theoretically' this could have been classed as a tip tackle...

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Phil mc avity March 05, 2014 4:54 pm

I don't think just because you put your arm down when you're being tackled means it was a tip tackle, you can be tackled at the shins and falling back put your hand on the ground.
Also his legs didnt go higher than his shoulders. One leg kind of flew up in the air, but then again he's a second row with long legs. I wouldn't say it was dangerous at all.

Would I would say though is in both attacks here, Goode passes it to Borthwick and after the kick Goode gets tackled, his attacking choices there were shit.
--> Borthwick got smashed
--> He didn't go anywhere on the counter attack after the kick, he just stopped.

I really don't think Goode is world class. I would like to see him dropped and Watson to get a cap these 6 nations.

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DrG March 06, 2014 2:15 am

My main reply was below but just to dip into that bit about the arm, all I sort of meant was, if you and a friend do a wheel barrow race, depending on arm length and your height, he could be perfectly horizontal. If he then decides not to use his arms, you'll be pushing him along on his face - so I meant in this video it seems to me there is a possibility that Borthwick held some of his own weight which allowed him to fall more favourably on the legal side of a tackle. I made a big mess in another video about 'what ifs' and how they're ridiculous, but I meant that more for judging someones punishment based on a what if, whereas here, I feel that 'if' Borthwick hadn't put his arm down, he may have landed in more of a tip tackle fashion..

Which for the record I would argue is still no more dangerous, we're talking about a matter of millimetres differences here...

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Juggernauter March 05, 2014 5:24 pm

By watching the clip on the tackle on Borthwick, it seems that the key is on the landing - he landed clean on his back, which is exactly how it should be, and it turned out to be a great, old style dump tackle. In those tip tackles in which the hips go higher than the shoulders, the chance of a harsh and dangerous landing on the neck is bigger and thus should be penalized. It's a shame that these tow kinds of tackles get confused often though, resulting in unfair cards.


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DrG March 06, 2014 2:08 am

Interesting, I personally am in the 'tip tackles aren't dangerous but spear tackles ARE' - I know that doesn't sit right with a lot of people.

The only reason I brought up 'tip tackles' in this video is because I feel like I cannot QUITE see if he lands on the flat of his back and I know that if we want to be extremely cynical then we can argue if he lands at a 91 degree angle, rather a 90 or less then it is technically a tip tackle.

I don't want to open the can of worms surrounding a recent video - where I certainly made no friends in the comment section, but if we forget the circumstances surrounding the two 'tackles' (one did not have the ball, off the ruck etc) I don't see two landings of the players being massively different and that 'tackle' resulted in a 10 week ban.

I suppose I'm making an attempt to highlight how shamefully fragile that line is in the laws between a good dump tackle and a red card worthy tip tackle, when frankly I see not a lot of difference. (Of course as I said, we need to treat the two videos AS tackles).

Anyway, cheers guys.

Phil have to agree with you regarding Goode..

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Phil mc avity March 06, 2014 6:38 am

For me this is the same as the other week (where we were all saying "what if...etc") it is not comparable with this Attwood tackle because in the video (you've just shared) the guy was taken of the ball, so it wasn't even a tackle. The number 21had no momentum, it was just a cheap shot. It was kind of "the ref isn't looking, boum sit down bitch" move, --> cheap shot of the ball.
I think the IRB should have a rule like 'No tip tackling at rucks, and of the ball'.

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DrG March 06, 2014 12:39 pm

What I was trying to get at, is the players landed in very similar fashion, I did mention that we'd have to treat the two incidents as 'tackles' regarding the way the players fell rather than this as a tackle and that as an off the ball hit.

It mentions in the description that the incident was at the top end of seriousness and that they took into account the aggravating factors and the players good discipline record. So some of that 10 weeks was a result of the off the ball, totally unnecessary hit, other parts of it were for the hit being a 'tip tackle', which looked very similar to this.

Anyway, we can all agree this was a cracking tackle and perfectly legal, so that's the main thing!

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ConnachtMan March 06, 2014 1:55 pm

The commentating kickin in @ 1:12 sounds like daffy duck or someone on helium!!!

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dave March 08, 2014 8:53 pm

great hit, still it has nothing on haskell's census johnston hit a few years back

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