Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Toulon suffered a heavy defeat to Stade Francais in round 13 of the Top 14 as their star studded side went down 23-0 at the Stade Jean-Boiun stadium. One positive for the visitors was the form of Mathieu Bastareaud, who made this huge charge early on.
Two second half tries and the boot of Julien Dupuy helped Stade Francais to a well deserved win over Toulon, who had many stars in the first fifteen, but were missing key man Jonny Wilkinson.
It was actually in the flyhalf channel that they conceded one of the Stade tries, as talented number ten Jules Plisson cruised straight through a fairly feeble tackle attempt by Frederic Michalak.
With Bryan Habana and Drew Mitchell starting for the visitors, Toulon weren't without attacking threats but failed to create anything of note in what was a fairly dour affair.
One highlight was this big run by the incredibly powerful Bastareaud, who returned from Test duty with France to throw his weight around in the midfield. He showed that he's not only a bit of a wreckingball, but also has quick feet and isn't too bad on defence either.
This particular run ended badly for lock Alexandre Flanquart, who felt the full force of Bastareaud and had to leave the field not too long afterwards, likely due to the knock he received in contact.
Stade Francais scored a late try to add further gloss to the scoreline, as Meyer Bosman kicked a loose ball ahead and Geoffrey Doumayrou picked up the scraps, before replacement flyhalf Morne Steyn slotted the conversion.
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has since blamed his team's scrum for the loss, saying it is the worst in the Top 14. It doesn't get any better for them either with the news that former England prop Andrew Sheridan might be forced to retire due to a neck injury.
Posted at 6:04 pm | 3 comments
Monday, December 02, 2013
Wallaby winger Nick Cummins was on fine form with the mic again as he interviewed his team mates following victory over Wales in Cardiff on Saturday. Will Genia mentions his dropped ball in front of an open tryline, and Christian Lealiifano talks goal kicking.
Cummins wasn't able to grab any 'meat', but played his role in what was a great performance away from home for a team that has had it's ups and downs in 2013.
They ended the tour with four wins from five matches, after having lost to England first up, but then beaten Ireland, Scotland, Italy and Wales.
The Wallabies end the year firmly in third place on the official IRB World Rankings.
Posted at 3:22 pm | 21 comments
Movember is over but this was one of the more creative entries of the month. Sevens flyer Matt Turner was dared by friends back in former home town Cape Town to have a go at a 'Monkey's Tail', which is pretty self explanatory. The result is outstanding.
Around the world Movember, which involves men growing their moutaches in November to raise awareness for mens health, has reportedly raised close to $100 million worldwide.
Well played to everyone who took part, and if you fancy sending in a pic of your effort, tweet @Rugbydump using the hashtag #RDMovember. We'll share some of the best.
Posted at 2:47 pm | 1 comments
New Zealand dual international Sonny Bill Williams spoke to CNN recently about what it is like to play both Rugby Union and Rugby League for his country, which is the better sport and what makes him happy.
Williams returned to League after a five year stint in Union, and after having helped the Sydney Roosters to a NRL title this year, he had a chance of becoming the first man to ever have won both a Rugby World Cup (2011), and a League World Cup.
That wasn't to be however as New Zealand were steamrolled by the Australian Kangaroos, who won 34-2 in the final at Old Trafford this past weekend.
"I'm heartbroken, just feeling really bad. I left it all out there today," said Williams post match.
"In the last 20 minutes it was disappointing. I guess I tried to over-play my hand, I tried to come up with something special and it just wasn't to be. I definitely feel gutted for the brothers but full credit to Australia, they were just too good."
Williams was awarded the RLIF International Player of the Year three days before the final, surprising fans as he wasn't a standout in the tournament, and made little impact in the final.
It's been a good year regardless, and Union fans anxiously await his return for the All Blacks, where he will no doubt be in with a very high chance of winning another Rugby World Cup in 2015.
Posted at 1:12 pm | 7 comments
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Wales coach Warren Gatland has suggested that referee Wayne Barnes is partly to blame for his team's 30-26 loss to the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium. The visitors scored a try through Joe Tomane that Gatland said shouldn't have been allowed.
The Autumn Internationals concluded with a brilliant game of rugby that thrilled from start to finish in Cardiff. George North scored within a few minutes to set the tone, but the Wallabies came back and with Quade Cooper looking back to his best, they stretched their lead and looked out of sight.
Cooper, playing his 50th Test, was quite controversially yellow carded for what Barnes deemed to be an early tackle, but Australia held on for the win despite plenty of pressure from the Welsh.
An unbelievable statistic from the match is that there was not a single scrum in the first half.
Barnes has come under fire though, particularly for the decision to allow the Tomane try from a flat Israel Folau pass. He sought the help of the TMO, but after watching it on the big screen himself, ruled that it wasn't clear and obviously forward (hands not travelling forward), so gave it.
Gatland suggested that if it were New Zealand played, Barnes wouldn't have made the call. "It looked forward to me. In games as close as this you need things like that to go your way.
"The referee made the decision himself, without the TMO. I doubt he would have made that decision himself if it was the All Blacks playing."
Gatland added that he hadn't spoken to Barnes about it, as it wasn't going to change the result. He also hinted that when Cooper was yellow carded, it could have been a penalty try.
As for the Tomane try, Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie said: "We've had five or six of those denied during the year. As far as I know, the pass has come out of the hands backwards and that's it.
"I think there has been a lot of discussion in the refereeing group and from what I saw that's exactly the way they adjudicated that, so that the circumstances around that are quite clear."
Despite being rated by some as the best team in the Northen Hemisphere, this was Wales' ninth loss in succession to the Wallabies, who themselves haven't had the best of years but appear to be on an upward curve after a satisfying overseas tour where they only lost once, to England.
Posted at 8:10 pm | 55 comments
The Barbarians turned it on at Twickenham, scoring seven tries including two a piece for Bismarck Du Plessis and Jean De Villiers, as they beat Fiji 43-19. It was one of the more enjoyable Baa Baas fixtures of late, with some great tries scored by both teams.
While the scoreline makes thing look one-sided, the Centenary celebrating Fijians showed heart against a star-studded Barbarians team that included top Springboks and All Blacks players.
Hooker Du Plessis and flanker Steven Luatua were both outstanding as the Springbok scored two tries in the first half, and the New Zealand tearaway got his hands on the ball at every opportunity.
Fiji scored a great try through Chiefs back Asaeli Tikoirotuma, but could only add two more late in the game, while the Barbarians kept the scoreboard ticking over.
"Fiji play the sort of attacking rugby people want to watch and once everyone settled down after the first 15 minutes it was full on," said coach Steve Hansen, who was pleased with the strong turnout.
One of the tries of the match was finished by Tom Taylor after Willie Le Roux, Jean De Villiers and Schalk Burger all combined with some lovely slick passing.
"Both teams threw the ball around and, as I said, there were some nice tries scored. The promoters for the game did a fantastic job and we've probably seen a lot of first time rugby people here today.
"It was a good game of rugby in front of a good crowd of 67,000, who were able to see some good rugby and some nice tries. I think there were nine scored on the day so they would have gone away quite happy," Hansen added.
In the end this was fairly one-sided, but the fixture was played in the sprit of Barbarians rugby, and Fiji - who were unfortunately missing some top players - entered into the contest and played their part by regularly running the ball from deep. Congratulations to both teams for putting on a show.
Posted at 10:20 am | 14 comments
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Wales put up a good fight but went down 30-26 to the Wallabies in Cardiff earlier today in one of the best games of the season. The contest featured some incredibly physical confrontations and collisions from both sides. Here's a look at the two biggest hits.
We'll get longer highlights posted tomorrow but for now here is a look at the Israel Folau try that featured two huge hits, one big bump and a bit of afters too.
First George North, who was on top form for Wales again, came in and blindsided Adam Ashley-Cooper with a smashing tackle, then seconds later it was hard working hooker Richard Hibbard that did the same to Wallaby skipper Ben Mowen just meters from the tryline.
Australia stayed on task and despite the 'offensive defence' from Wales, fullback Folau bumped off aggressive as always Mike Phillips to score a very well taken try.
For fans of the sport, that passage of play had so much to enjoy, and while the push and shove afterwards wasn't great, it was good to see the intensity that both sides brought to the contest.
What did you think of the match, and these hits? As mentioned, more highlights from this game as well as the Dubai 7's, Barbarians match and more, will be posted soon.
Posted at 8:44 pm | 49 comments