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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Rene Ranger treats Henry Slade like a speed bump in Barbarians match

Exeter Chiefs flyhalf Henry Slade made a solid senior England debut against the Barbarians at Twickenham. Not only did he score a try in the 39-29 defeat, but he showed great courage against an extremely physical Baa Baas side.

With a few names ahead of him in the pecking order, 21-year-old Slade didn't make it on the plane to New Zealand, but enjoyed what was a tough day at the office. He found himself having to tackle hard-running Rene Ranger on more than one occassion, which resulted in an impressive shiner.

"He is a pretty tough bloke and I was just trying to bring him down, and thankfully I managed to do that, but his knee or one of his boots hit me in the eye," Slade said post match.

He got his body in the way of the Kiwi center as the Barbarians scored their first try. That opened up a cut that needed stitches, and shortly after returning to the field, Ranger hit him again. 

"They made a break down the outside, I tackled Rene Ranger, and either a knee or one of his boots hit me in the eye, and that was it really. I was just trying to get in the way of him and get him down for the second one, and luckily it worked.

"It was just great to be back on the field and to be able to get on with it."

Slade ended with a try and 16-point haul, something his Jonny Wilkinson would have been proud of. The Chiefs flyhalf has looked up to him for the last ten years, and actually bumped his head on a table when the then England kingpin kicked his famous World Cup winning dropgoal back in 2003.

"When Jonny kicked that drop-goal I was sat underneath at table at Ivybridge rugby club, and I jumped up and smacked my head on it when he scored," he explained.

"He's been a massive role model both on and off the pitch too, the way he went about himself and was committed and dedicated to trying to be the best. Defence is so important at fly-half because you're in the middle of the line, and that's something certainly Jonny has shown.

"It's important to be strong there, hopefully I did that at the weekend, that's what I was trying to do: I do enjoy defending to be fair."

Ranger's low center of gravity and powerfully built frame, along with his balance, means that he'll always be a threat. This weekend he'll be looking for some Springbok scalps when he starts for the World XV against South Africa at Newlands.

Page: 12View All

Posted at 1:13 pm | 25 comments

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Posted in Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 25 comments

10stonenumber10 June 05, 2014 3:02 pm

Slade stood up and was most definitely counted.

Shame for him though, his timing was crap. An absolute belting standout performance, just after Lancaster convinced us the likes of Cipriani, Ford and Burns are the top of the game and will be the go-to men for the World Cup.

I would like to see what he and Cipriani could do as an interchanging pair, defence seems more natural and willing for him.... but mind you Cips did put one hell of a dent in that bus.

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Full Back June 05, 2014 3:18 pm

"re a rangered"...I see what you did there....

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Reality June 05, 2014 3:22 pm

Maybe I'm being an alarmist, but I actually think the second bit was dangerous play. He loses his footing, but rather than falling he seems to use his last moment upright to launch himself through the air into Daly. Essentially it's the same result as jumping into the tackle, which is considered dangerous play. I'm not saying he did it maliciously, but I still think it was conscious, dangerous play.

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Full Back June 05, 2014 4:00 pm

take out the maybe.
First off he didn't jump or launch, he did what he could after losing his footing which is essentially what every backrow, prop and second row does when carrying the ball. He barged and tryed to bump off the other player and cross the gain line, it's not dangerous play, it's Rugby.

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Citing Commissioner June 05, 2014 4:17 pm

@Reality
You cannot be serious. Dangerous play, there are about a thousand things more dangerous than this which go on in rugby?
Losing balance is not the same as deliberately jumping into the tackle. Essentially it is the same result as a 6'7'' guy running into a 5'7'' guy and using his momentum to force the smaller player downwards - not dangerous, believe me, I've been on the receiving end enough times.

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im June 06, 2014 12:11 pm

The problem isnt him him falling over. But he leads with the forearm and elbow afterwards straight into slades face. That is dangerous

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DanKnapp June 06, 2014 1:28 pm

He doesn't lead with the forearm, although the forearm is in front of him. Slade first makes contact with Ranger's torso. Ranger then uses his arm to push Slade away, but it's hardly an elbow as such.

This was completely legal, if perhaps a little brutal because they were both going down, and so let's just enjoy the fact that Ranger smashed into Slade, Slade smashed into Ranger, and Rugby is the real winner. Boomfah!

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Tom June 05, 2014 4:10 pm

Fairplay to the lad. He can't be much more than 13 stone and he's playing against some massive boys. Put his body on the line both times and stopped the guy both times.

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Reality June 05, 2014 4:26 pm

Right. I think you might have misunderstood what I meant, because I wasn't complaining that he barged the guy; that'd be quite normal. The point I was making was that he jumped into the tackle.

You can argue he simply fell rather than launched himself, but I'd argue that he seems to 'fall' quite horizontally rather than vertically and with enormous acceleration, resulting in a sickening impact in which Daly gets injured. If a player throws himself through the air, i.e. no feet planted on the ground, it no longer is a player using himself as a barge, it's a player using himself as a missile, made worse by the fact that he leads with his forearm into the face of the tackler, which is quite against the laws. If he had fallen into Daly, then fair enough, accidents happen, but from my perspective he really doesn't seem to only fall into him. I've seen plenty of players fall into tackles but I've never seen one where the tackler ends up with a sickening blow to the head.

Anyway, I'm just putting it out there. I'm not saying Ranger made any bad decisions; just that what resulted didn't seem very legal to me.

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kiwiINde June 05, 2014 5:04 pm

'with enormous acceleration' You've seen Ranger play right? This is a typical bump off tackle technique slash infamous 'maori sidestep'.. In the very last second you tense and push all your momentum into your forearms at one point of the tackler (usually what ever point is first in contact).. the second tackle he was falling and the first point of contact is Slades head... if he had still kept his footing, he would have stepped him or ran straight over him.... Hats off to Slade for getting up after both! If he isn't on the plane headed to NZ then it could only be cause of the injury, cause boys got balls!!

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kiwiINde June 05, 2014 5:20 pm

I think the loosing the footing part eliminates the 'purposely' using himself as a missle. I think the important factor here is intention... Again, if he hadn't lost his footing it would have been exactly like the first tackle...only harder on the tackler cause he had about 10 more meters to get upto speed... Youtube Beast Mode: Ranger and you'll see that this is just what he does... He's done it to James O'Connor and even Ma'a Nonu...

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HackneyGriffin June 05, 2014 7:48 pm

Speedbump? That's a bit misleading and sells Slade well short. He's lost the contact, sure. But he's stopped Ranger twice, and shown a willingness to put his head where it's going to hurt for the side. Big collision, good clip... but the title needs changing. Elliot Daly's reel from the day on the other hand, calling his efforts a speedbump would be doing a disservice to traffic calming devices everywhere.

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DrG June 05, 2014 11:05 pm

Hahahaha, last sentence about Daly was spot on.

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SafetyGuy June 05, 2014 9:51 pm

Was that guy examined for a concussion at all?? You can't be taking those kinda hits and be shrugging off as another day at the office without having the shakes and what else later

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DrG June 05, 2014 11:08 pm

Out of interest, I know Slade was wearing the 10 shirt, which is traditionally the fly half, but why did he appear to be the last man back on those two occasions? It just seems like he is out of place (or well placed) to be in the back corners both times...

As for the incident, I'm with HackneyGriffin on this, he certainly was no speedbump as such, he certainly stopped Ranger, even if it was in a less than graceful manner! Good job.

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al-ja June 06, 2014 5:49 am

From memory it was a kick chase from the base of a ruck by england. The england line was set up for attack with slade as first receiver. The 9 kicked and 11 chased, ranger collected and returned. Slade filtered over to the left to fill the defence gap that the 11 left when he went to challenge the up and under.

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larry June 06, 2014 11:30 am

I've read some comments recently from past international players and their concern that rugby union looks more and more like league. This is a good case in point. There's not much finesse regarding Ranger. He's more than likely going to run over a potential tackler than swerve past. Funny that on the second tackle he actually did bit of a dance before committing to running into the tackler. Anyway, concussions seem to be a bit more prevalent with crash tackle attempts, and runners trying to run over tacklers. Sometimes it needs to be done, the crash tackle. Still, it's a tackle that shouldn't be overused, and is having one's brain rattle inside the skull worth it from its overuse? I notice that in the second tackle Ranger's forearm went right into the tackler's face. Very American football, that technique.
I have to chuckle at the comment about 13 stone. 184 pounds used to be heavy enough in the past. I guess it isn't anymore. First class level backs of the 101/2 stone variety are on the endangered species list.

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DrG June 06, 2014 10:30 pm

RE the second tackle/crash, I think Ranger actually was going to step Slade (or attempt) and it looks (and the commentators agree) like he lost his footing and really the only way was forward...

Ranger has a brilliant ability to go through/over someone just as much as the likes of Shane Williams, Billy Whiz possess the ability to go around someone... You play with the cards you're dealt with, if you find going round someone works for you then by all means go for it... If you find running over someone a la Lomu style works best, then use that...

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larry June 07, 2014 1:14 am

And when you're Lomu's size, that's what's going to work. But I have seen even big players use the swerve and side step. What I don't like now about rugby is that it's looking more and more like league, and in league there's plenty of running over or into tacklers. But that's how the game's been evolving since the major law changes in 1993. Something has to be done about this. A law change at least needs to be made to unclutter the midfield and make the forwards once again contest rucks, and rid mauls of obvious obstruction that is now being allowed. I don't see rugby as being some game that Rupert Murdoch controls to make it into a spectacle for TV, which, unfortunately, it's become. Having posted all that, one only has to check You Tube and watch some of the games, especially those of New Zealand, to see their forwards and backs run over or into opposition in decades going back half a century. They must have caused numerous headaches for the opposition, let alone bruised limbs or other body parts. Check Colin Meads taking on Barry John or John Dawes in the first test of the 1971 Lions tour (and the Lions ended up winning anyway!).

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DrG June 07, 2014 10:24 am

I don't quite understand what you mean - are you saying you don't like the fact players are running over/into other players? It's a contact sport, any contact sport is going to involve some player running into another player at some point, just because it has a similarity with league, it doesn't make it a bad thing...

Forwards (and now back) still do contest rucks, and mauls...

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larry June 07, 2014 6:07 pm

I think the similarity to league goes beyond players running into, instead of trying to run around, each other. Sure it's a contact sport, one I played in for many years, in California, from the early 70's through the 80's, where our lack of skills as Americans at the time meant many backs ran into instead of around players, with an American football mentality then, regarding running and tackling.
It's really how the games being played now, the lack of commitment by forwards on defense at the breakdown, and fanning out across the pitch like how league defenses set up. I don't think it's good for the game overall, and I do think it's taken away from the old style of play that suited players of all sizes. Now it seems you need to be 6'2" or 6'3", about 210 pounds, to play the game. No need for a 6'7" lock in the lineout, as those aren't contested anymore with lifting being legal. And a small player isn't going to fit into the modern game either, requiring bigger players with the type of contact that is happening now in the game. There's always been contact, but it's the type of contact, the running into players, that has increased, because of the way the game has evolved. I don't really care for it.

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DrG June 08, 2014 12:16 am

Quite frankly, that's a load of codswallop...

"No need for a 6'7" lock in the lineout, as those aren't contested anymore with lifting being legal."

So now instead of a lock jumping you get a lock lifted, both teams lift their locks and you have an aerial battle.

Shane Williams fitted into the modern game pretty well.

Rugby league is about breaking tackles and gaining yards. Rugby union you can take the ball into contact and gain 0.1 yards, recycle the ball and repeat. Rugby league on the other hand, you have 5 times to recycle the ball, then it's a kick, so it's not about running into players as opposed to running beyond them.

Size either in height or weight has always been an advantage in rugby - especially if you have the power to carry the height and weight. The reason players are becoming bigger is because the game has become professional and players now have 'nothing else to do' but train...

Again, nothing to do with the laws, but the game is becoming 'smarter', players are becoming more efficient and more clinical, why commit an entire pack to the ruck when you know that putting two of your 'big boys' (who have trained like mad) can be just as efficient at securing the ball than an entire pack. Again the same in defence, why commit an entire defensive pack to a ruck and leave your stringy back line to hold the fort. Jumping back to the smart rugby side of things, players have become wise into knowing there is no point in 8 men charging into a ruck that is clearly lost.

The other aspect with this new type of game is that players are deliberately running into other players and offloading - see SBW, see Quade Cooper, etc both fantastic offloaders. It is therefore beneficial to run into a player - taking him out the game and offloading to another player on your shoulder... It's smart rugby.

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larry June 08, 2014 2:58 pm

I think that whole aspect in union now of run, contact, recycle, repeat is totally boring to watch. That's my opinion. I won't call your opinion "codswollop." Of course size has always mattered in rugby, but it matters more now, and that does mean it isn't necessarily a game for all sizes anymore. And about the lineout, there's few that are contested anymore. If you think they are, I have to say you are wrong about that. They used to be contested! What I see in rugby is a huge trend toward "guaranteed possession," and that's what was started with the major law changes in 1993. I suggest reading Gareth Edward's comments about the changes in the game post 1993 in his autobiography. When I read them it was exactly what I had been thinking for quite a few years.
Now committing all forwards to rucks and mauls wasn't happening in all cases before the rule changes, but really, it was those changes that made it less of a requirement to commit forwards to rucks and mauls. It wasn't about playing smarter. It was adapting to new rules, which, in my opinion, have cluttered up the midfield. The goal of the 1993 changes was to have less set scrums, which resulted from balls being trapped in mauls and rucks in which the forwards where either trying to win possession or keep possession. If all the forwards, or most of them, and again it wasn't always all of them, where involved in that battle, and the ball got out to one team or the other, whether it was the team who originally had possession or not, there was space, or the possibility of space, for the backs to attack, and that could result in great backline play, not some back running a few yards into a tackle to recycle the ball, because with the midfield cluttered, it's almost a necessity to do so, as that player might not be running too far anyway. I don't think that that sort of play means there's more concussion necessarily, or more injuries overall. Again, I think that it's boring to watch as a spectator.

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DrG June 11, 2014 10:46 am

The reason I called your opinion 'codswallop' and still do, is because as someone who is 6'6" tall and plays backrow/second row, I can tell you that lineouts are heavily contested. The only way to avoid any contest is to have a good lifting routine/technique and try FORCE the lineouts to be uncontested by lifting in an 'unguarded' area (where they don't have a player being lifted) - which is really hit or miss, it requires the opposition to be standing around like looloos and not really paying attention, which on the flip-side is how you CAN contest lineouts - by paying attention!!!

It is also a part of the game I focus on when watching professional and international games and I can tell you that again, they're heavily contested, perhaps not in the way they were back in the day, but again as someone who played second row in school (where you're not allowed to lift) the lineouts are cleaner and more clinical and not just a daft spectacle where you get 3ft props 9ft second rows, and 5ft backrows jumping and flailing their arms around while the ball sails over their heads...

Anyway, that was the reason behind my 'codswallop' comment - now onto the rest of the case at hand.

The main problem you appear to have with the game is the progression of it. Unlike the days gone by, there are more cameras, more viewers, more scrutinisation of the referee. You must remember the 'dark arts', something that were once a lot easier to get away with. Now they're things that get picked up my the new involved TMO, the camera angles, the citing commissioners etc, but mainly I'm referring to hands in the rucks etc. Referees around the globe are penalising teams for slowing the ball down and using hands in the rucks, so quite simply, players do not often go in for scrappy pile ons now. If they can win the turnover instantly then they'll go for it, if they can't they don't bother and they spread their players around the field.

Which laws don't you like specifically?

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