Friday, July 25, 2014
The Call of the Wallaby is a short documentary feature that over the next six weeks will give us a fascinating look into the minds and souls of Australian rugby fans. Made by Fox Sports and featuring fan favourite Sean Maloney, the show follows a new initiative, called the Gold Brigade, as they hunt down the elusive Bledisloe Cup.
Devised by director Ryan Smith and featuring Andrew Swain and Mr Top 5 Maloney, episode one of the Call of the Wallaby gives us an insight into the fickle world of Australian rugby, in a land where the great fifteen-man sport competes with League and AFL. Wallaby fans all too regularly switch.
There are a devout group that stick with their side through the good and bad, and this show sets out to get those fans back to the games, following passionately and making their voices heard, all in the name of getting the Bledisloe Cup back from arch rivals, the All Blacks.
It's perhaps indicative of the level of expectation in Australian sport that shortly after beating the French 3-0, and while ranked 3rd in the world, this is considered a poor period. It's about the passion and love for the national side though, that as you'll see, seems eclipsed at club level.
A lot of fans around the world aren't aware of the challenges Rugby Union faces in Australia, so as Sean, Andrew and the Gold Brigade do their bit to create something great, the Call of the Wallaby will be a way for those around the globe, and indeed in Australia, to follow their progress.
It's nearly 30 minutes in total, but well worth watching wherever you're from. If you enjoy and want to see more, we've just been told that Episode 2 will be online from Sunday, so we'll get it posted.
Posted at 4:29 am | 2 comments
Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Sharks will face the Crusaders in Christchurch this coming weekend in the Super Rugby semi finals after a pulsating 31-27 victory over the Highlanders in the qualifier. Both sides scored great tries, so here is a look at the best of them ahead of the semis.
The Sharks came from behind twice, as the Highlanders scored some excellent tries, most notably on the stroke of halftime from prop forward Kane Hames.
"I'm very proud of the way they came back," said coach Jake White said afterwards. "I thought the last 20 minutes we played really well. It was some of our best rugby in terms of linking our forwards and backs. I think when you get a win like you did last week with 34 points and then 31 against the Highlanders, it's a great way to take momentum into the last couple of rounds.
"It's a great lesson for all the boys here to understand just how tough this knockout stage is. The Highlanders are a quality team, probably the best team in the competition to counterattack from broken play," White said ahead of the semi final.
South African teams heading overseas for playoffs have struggled in the past, with teams from the Republic playing nine knock-out matches in New Zealand and losing all of them.
The Sharks however have already beaten the Crusaders away this season, with 14 men, so White feels that if they play well enough, they can do it again.
"I'm a big believer that this group of players can beat anybody, and we've beaten both the Crusaders and Waratahs already this season."
Kickoff in the Crusaders vs Sharks Semi Final is at 19:35 local, 07:35 GMT, 09:35 CEST
Posted at 9:02 am | 7 comments
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Welsh legend Shane Williams spoke to Total Rugby recently about how he's enjoying life in Japan, touching on language challenges, the level of play and the Rugby World Cup. He also spoke about the unbelievable phonecall he received that prompted his 2013 British and Irish Lions call up.
Thanks to the IRB and Total Rugby. We'll be populating our Player Features section more in future, so if you enjoy these kind of clips please let us know in the comments and kindly share it with your friends and social followers
Posted at 4:28 pm | 16 comments
Thursday, July 17, 2014
And just like that, Nick Cummins' time in the spotlight appears to be over, for now anyway. The Wallaby and Western Force winger is setting sail for Japan, where he will take up a lucrative contract with the Coca Cola West Red Sparks in the Top League.
Cummins' decision to leave was based primarily on the desire to take care of his family. He has seven siblings, two of which suffer from cystic fibrosis, and his father is battling prostate cancer. A season in Japan will go some way towards relieving some of the financial strains they're under.
"He told me that in his heart he couldn't enjoy himself when he could be doing more for the kids," said father Mark, who as a single dad, was named the Queensland Father of the Year in 2012.
"Nick said he could kick in more by signing in Japan where he will get more time off to return to the family and also research alternative medicines," he added.
Under Australian Rugby Union rules, Cummins won't be available to play for the Wallabies while he's abroad, but the Force have said that they'll do everything in their power to get him back as soon as possible. Coach Michael Foley says the ARU have been 'caught with their pants down' by allowing the 26-year-old, 15-test winger to go.
"He makes big tackles for us, he makes big runs for us, he's wholehearted. He rips in. He's fearless in the way he plays. He's the only winger that's ever come back from Test duty with a sore neck, I don't know how that happened but the reality is he runs hard at the contact.
"Off the field he's a character, he's very different. He fishes on his day off. He adds a lot of colour to the team and we'll miss him," Foley said.
Cummins has been released on compasionate grounds from the Force, and the deal in Japan is reportedly worth more than what the ARU could afford to match, so he was granted a release.
The Honey Badger scored in his final match for the Force, and provided another classic post match interview, which you can see on page two of this post, along with the statement he made regarding his departure. Below are the Top 5 Honey Badger moments from Rugby HQ.
Posted at 6:36 pm | 12 comments
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
There's no doubt that Jonah Lomu will always be remembered as the man that changed Rugby. A prolific tryscorer and a giant amongst men, at his fittest the All Black scored tries with ease. Today we look at the chaos he caused in one Bledisloe Cup game.
With this year's Super Rugby heading into the knockout stages, the next big thing on the international rugby calendar will be the Rugby Championship, and the trans-Tasman rivalry of the Bledisloe Cup. New Zealand have dominated for years, and it was the same back in 1995.
For those of you who weren't lucky enough to watch his career closely, another huge part of the legend's game was his ability to offload in the tackle and set up tries for those around him.
When we see offload these days one tends to think of the likes of Sonny Bill Williams and fancy passing, but with Lomu it wasn't that at all. It was his ability to beat multiple players, and just as the third or fourth came in to attempt to take him down, he'd get the pass away.
Sly flankers like Josh Kronfeld often benefitted from the ground Lomu made, and so even when the wing was brought down short of the tryline, it often resulted in a try for the All Blacks anyway.
This short video takes a look at this element of his game in just one match, against rivals the Wallabies in 1995, just a few months after he helped New Zealand reach the final at the Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Here he scores one try and sets up three more, as one does.
New Zealand won the game 34-23 to set up a run of seven straight wins over the Wallabies.
We'll feature more from the great man and others in the lead up to the 2014 Rugby Championship.
Posted at 10:58 am | 62 comments
Friday, July 11, 2014
As we approach the knockout stages of this year's tournament, Sean Maloney and Rugby HQ take a hilarious look back at the 2001 Super Rugby season, one that produced some classic moments that included great tries, incredible celebrations and bizarre off-field antics.
George Gregan - in studio as this is presented - features with some onfield ballett that we posted ourselves way back in 2007, and Stephen Larkham delivers an outstanding try-scoring pass. The Blues' try was incredible, as was the puddle, and the rest is pretty much just good fun.
As Sean said on twitter, it's the most fun he's EVER had on-air, and it shows. View more Top 5's
Posted at 2:29 pm | 25 comments
We recently brought out a new batch of Rugbydump shirts, including one that says no to diving, a little dig at a certain player. His team mate, Toulon's Steffon Armitage, tweeted a pic of himself in one recently, so today we've got a quick look at all our new shirts. Remember, this is rugby.
VIEW THE NEW SHIRTS (on page two or below)
Posted at 6:21 am | 6 comments