Thursday, April 24, 2014
Shane Geraghty had an eventful game on his return to Franklins Gardens. Geraghty, who left Northampton Saints for Brive in 2011, was smashed by centre George Pisi on more than one occasion, but soldiered on to put in a gritty performance.
London Irish looked dead and burried as they trailed 29-0 after 58 minutes, but three tries gave them hope, with skipper Geragthy scoring the second as part of a valiant fight back.
They got within 8 points but a late Saints try sealed the result, with the home side winning 36-21.
Geraghty's performance has drawn praise from London Irish boss Brian Smith, who said that the former Saints flyhalf was actually suffering really badly from George Pisi's big tackle.
"Shane got cleaned up with Pisi nailing him in the first half. He came out of the line. We had a good look at the tackle and it wasn't high or late, it was a good shot," explained Smith.
"Shano was quite ill. He was throwing up for the next five or 10 minutes on the park and we kept a good eye on him and suggested he doesn't eat quite as much lunch and doesn't have shrimp.
"It was a good shot and it really rattled his cage, but he's a tough kid, a tough competitor and he obviously masterminded the comeback. I can't speak highly enough of Shane. He was a London Irish Academy player and I was delighted to work with him at Irish and in the England setup.
"He went to Northampton for a couple of seasons and then off to France, but he's come back and he's really grown up. He's a man's man now.
"He's a terrific character and even when he came off, the Northampton fans showed their respect for him. They're a knowledgable rugby crowd and he deserved an honourable mention, even though he didn't get the man of the match prize," he added.
You can view the huge hit below, and highlights from the match on page two of this post
Posted at 8:30 am | 2 comments
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
This is what happens when faking injury goes comically wrong. It happened at a Sevens tournament in Samoa, between villages Vaiala and Vailele. As you can see, tensions sparked a quick exchange between two players, with neither one landing a clean shot.
That didn't stop Simaika Mikaele, as he fell to the floor dramatically then rolled around to get the opposition player in trouble. Sadly for him referee James Bolabiu was right on hand, and thankfully took the whole incident with a pinch of salt, laughing it off along with the rest of the players.
We don't know at what point Mikaele realised he looked ridiculous so played it up, but either way it shows just how crazy it is when players feign injury or dive to the floor when they clearly haven't actually been injured, and there has been no contact made.
Mikaele used to play Sevens for Samoa, and can actually be seen making a massive hit at the Hong Kong Sevens against New Zealand about four years ago in this archived clip.
He won't be too proud of what happened here though, unless it was all a joke from the start. The match looked to be played in good spirits anyway, so maybe he'll get away with it.
If anyone has any further info on the players involved, please let us know.
Posted at 11:28 am | 35 comments
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Liam Williams and Robin Copeland were given their marching orders after an incident in Sunday's Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets Pro12 match at the Millennium Stadium. Williams offended at the breakdown for his second yellow, before Copeland stamped on him.
Williams received a yellow card earlier in the match for a dangerous tackle on Alex Cuthbert, so when he killed the ball, he received his second yellow, which naturally resulted in a red card.
Copeland took exception to Williams slowing it down and appeared to stamp his head. He was shown a straight red card for the contact between boot and head that could be seen on TV replays.
The independant Citing Commissioner has deemed that Williams' first half tackle was sufficiently dangerous to have warranted a red card, so he has been cited, under Law 10.4 (e): Dangerous tackling. A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground.
Update: Both Williams and Copeland will face disciplinary hearings in Dublin on Thursday.
You can view a full match report and wrap-up on page two, which includes the dangerous tackle
Posted at 7:28 pm | 20 comments
Monday, April 21, 2014
The future of European rugby is now clear after months of speculation ended recently with an agreement between the relevant parties, resulting in the new European Rugby Champions Cup. Here is a breakdown of how things will work from next season.
For some time now the English and French clubs had expressed their unhappiness with the format of the Heineken Cup, culminating in talks of them intending to dispand and set up their own tournament in September of last year.
After months of talks, we're at the point where everyone is on the same page, and the European Rugby Champions Cup and the European Rugby Challenge Cup (second tier) were signed on.
The two major players in the TV rights, BT Sport and Sky Sports have agreed to share coverage.
The tournament, run by the newly formed European Professional Club Rugby, will feature 20 teams.
European Rugby Champions Cup qualification:
20 clubs qualifying through the finishing positions in their leagues from the preceding season:
- top 6 from TOP 14
- top 6 from Premiership Rugby
- top 7 from PRO 12, with at least one club from each country participating in the league
- the 20th place will be taken by the winner of a play off (first season different to following)
The format and finer points of the tournament/s are a bit more complicated, but that's the basic premise and this new video from BT Sport explains things quite clearly. As we get nearer the time, we will go through other facets of it, but for now it looks like it's a positive step in the right direction.
What do you think of the new qualification setup?
Posted at 1:40 pm | 23 comments
Friday, April 18, 2014
Rugby HQ in Australia have put together their Top 5 list of the best ever magicians on the rugby field. While it's obviously subjective, it's a solid list and it would be tough to disagree with their top three selections, and number one in particular.
Starting at number five, Joe Rokocoko was a lethal finisher for the Blues and All Blacks. His dazzling feet and ability to beat defenders when in space made him a top try scorer. He could create tries out of half chances, as can be seen here. Sorry, Brent Russell.
Welsh legend Gareth Edwards is probably best known these days for that try he scored for the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973, but for years he terrorised defences and to many up north in particular, is the best scrumhalf to ever play the game.
Having met the great David Campese recently, it's great to see him at three on this list. Campo could pull off the impossible, and is of course the man that made the goose-step so famous. His jinking runs and ball skills were unmatched in his generation.
"I always wanted to do something different. I could have stood on the wing and did nothing, or go out there and try and express yourself, and that's what I decided to do," he once said.
The only guy on the list still playing Test rugby, Quade Cooper is a natural fit when it comes to thinking of players that can do the seemingly impossible on the rugby field. Some of his best bits aren't shown in this clip, but you can see a few in the Related Posts below this article.
In the end, there can be only one and that man is without a doubt King Carlos Spencer. The only player who has come close since is Cooper, but for those of us who watched Spencer in his heyday, he will always be remembered as the most audacious, enthralling entertainer.
As with Cooper, have a browse of our Related Posts to see some of Spencer's best moments, which obviously weren't able to be featured in this compilation but are posted in our archive.
Other notable mentions, and players who could have squeezed into the top five somewhere, would be Brian O'Driscoll, Shane Williams, Christian Cullen and Waisale Serevi. O'Driscoll has already been featured in his own Top 5 video though, and Serevi was a Sevens star.
How different would your 'Top 5 Magicians' be, or are you happy with the choices?
Posted at 8:38 am | 31 comments
Thursday, April 17, 2014
It's not called Plays of the Week anymore but ahead of Round 10 of Super Rugby, Sean Maloney brings us all the best, biggest, worst and funniest from last weekend's Super Rugby action.
Posted at 4:33 pm | 7 comments
Courtney Lawes made another of his trademark crash tackles at the weekend, this time on England team mate, Owen Farrell. The Saracens flyhalf didn't return from the tunnel at halftime but has since been cleared as not having a foot injury, and will resume training this week.
Lawes flew out the line and smashed Farrell just as he passed the ball, resulting in a tough landing on the artificial pitch of Allianz Park for the smaller, but tough as nails flyhalf.
This is from the same match as the Marcelo Bosch big penalty kick (and Kelly Brown try), and it was Brown himself that was on the wrong end of another big tackle, that time by Samu Manoa. You can view that on page two, and see more big Lawes (and Manoa!) hits in the Related Posts below.
Posted at 2:10 pm | 40 comments