Friday, September 19, 2014
Schoolboy rugby regularly produces hugely entertaining clashes, as well as youngsters that make a name for themselves early on. There have been some great talents that first get noticed when they are just teenagers, so here's a look at just five of them.
Sean Maloney trawled through footage of some of today's biggest stars, coming up with a Top 5 that include players who have gone on to be stars at the highest level.
Johan Goosen of South Africa famously kicked a huge penalty when still at junior level. It wasn't that long ago, and the video went viral at the time as it was quite hard to believe. Since then he's played for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby, and been capped by the Springboks.
Injury problems have hampered his chances of being a regular fixture, so for now he's plying his trade where another big-booted Freestate boy played for a while, with Racing Metro in France.
Manu Tuilagi's story is well known. The Samoan with famous rugby playing brothers, he's the youngest son and also the only to have played for another country, England. He visited the UK, stayed, and went on to become a beast of a player at schoolboy level. Higher honours followed and today he remains one of England's most lethal attacking weapons.
A mesmeric talent who could turn on a sixpence, Kurtley Beale's path is also fairly well known. He was an absolute stand out at St Joseph College, playing 1st XV from a young age after arriving there with his brother on an indigenous scholarship.
He was a Waratah when he was still a teenager, and despite some way too public troubles, Beale has gone on to represent the Wallabies 46 times. And he's still just 25 years old.
The Ella Brothers, Mark, Glenn and Gary, are probably lesser known for younger fans, but at their peak were a dominant force for Matraville High, Randwick Rugby Club and later, the Wallabies. They loved free flowing rugby, and delighted fans with their sublime skills for many years.
All Black Julian Savea, the latest of a long line of massive New Zealand wingers, has cemented his place in the World Champion side not only through prolific try-scoring, but clearly due to the way that he has worked on his game.
As a schoolboy he was untouchable, as he was at U20 level, but at times his hands left him down. He's put a lot of work into that since, and it shows, with him now looking very solid under the high ball. That's usually followed by a big thigh to the face of a would-be tackler.
There are other players that could have been included in this compilation but it's a Top 5 so these are the picks of the guys at Rugby HQ, who say that to make the video the player had to represent their country. Also, Jonah Lomu isn't included because he's been in many other Top 5's already.
Posted at 10:00 am | 4 comments
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Today mark's one year to go until Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off, so to celebrate the upcoming tournament, Land Rover caught up with a number of stars from the sporting and rugby worlds to find out what they plan to achieve in the next twelve months.
Players invovled were Mike Tindall, Andrea Masi, Clive Woodward, Jonny Wilkinson and George Gregan, to name a few. "This time next year" is the line they led with, and it produced some interesting answers, and a few that fans will be pleased to hear.
Wilkinson, renowned for the discipline that he put into his training regimes, declares he "will not be so obsessive", while former England teammate Mike Tindall "might have a straight nose."
Moody, already boasting a head of golden flowing locks, vows "to have grown one of the world's most horrendous mullets!" by the time the tournament kicks off on 18th September 2015.
Also featuring in the video are Olympic Gold medallist Denise Lewis, who wishes to learn a sentence of Mandarin, long distance runner Ashley Varley and George Gregan, himself a RWC winner with Australia in 1999, who simply vows to be in London for the tournament (while quoting Snatch).
As a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, Land Rover is building on its long term commitment to the Game both in the UK and around the world which includes Premiership Rugby in England, as well as sponsorship of the Super 14 in France, the ACT Brumbies in Australia and the Stormers and Western Province in South Africa.
Posted at 6:02 pm | 0 comments
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
New Zealand's ITM Cup regularly produces rugby of the highest quality, and Round 5 was no different, with a whole host of excellent tries and dramatic finishes taking place.
Here is a five minute round up of the best scores, with some of the tries again showing why the senior side are so good with ball in hand.
View more excellent tries in our Great Tries archive
Posted at 4:15 pm | 3 comments
We've been sharing some great short videos and pictures on our new Instagram account recently. So if you use it, please give us a follow and share our stuff with your friends on there. It's taken ages to get the official username sorted out, so now that we have it, we're keen to get numbers up.
This is a quick video we just shared from 2010, featuring Aironi back Ludovic Mercier and an outrageous, unnecessary pass. Video below, and you can follow us here.
If the video doesn't work, try to update your browser, or view via our instagram itself
Posted at 1:45 pm | 1 comments
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Last week it was announced that the All Blacks will play Samoa in Samoa for the first time ever. To mark the occasion, here is a quick video of a great moment between the two sides in 1999, featuring the Umaga brothers as they went head to head.
A week ago it was confirmed that the long overdue, historic meeting between New Zealand and Samoa will take place in Apia in July 2015. The match will serve as preparation for both sides for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but more significantly it will be their first ever meeting on Samoan soil.
It's been a long time coming, with many of the strongest current and past New Zealand stars coming from Samoan heritage. The gesture will go a long way with the extremely talented nation.
"Many players in our team have strong ties to Samoa so this Test will be a great occasion for all of us. It will only enhance the links between our two countries," said All Black coach Steve Hansen.
"There is also a lot of respect for Manu Samoa and playing them at home will make this a great challenge - one we will all look forward to."
The match will take place on 8 July 2015, with broadcast details to be confirmed nearer the time.
In June of 1999 the two sides met at North Harbour Stadium in New Zealand and there was a great moment in the very first minute of the match, as Samoa's Mike Umaga failed to find touch, but instead found his younger brother, Tana.
The hard running winger zeroed in on him, showing that there's no room for sentiment on the rugby field. Mike is seven years his senior, so maybe Tana had a bit to prove. Umaga senior tackled him well, but it was a decent bit of contact, perhaps with neither player getting the upper hand.
Posted at 4:01 pm | 9 comments
We don't often feature non-professional rugby on the homepage, but when we do, it's usually quite special. This dummy from Mike Baska of Arkansas State University is off the charts in terms of audaciousness, and of course, execution.
The footage has gone viral in a big way, with the original youtube video (below) as well as other rips of it being shared on social media this week, racking up thousands of views.
Scrumhalf Baska, playing against the University of Arkansas, dummied Joshua Nearman who switched inside nicely, then found him again before getting taken out by the covering defence.
What was as impressive as the little show of the ball then loop-de-loop dummy was that Baska kept his head to find Nearman with the inside ball, so the try was scored.
As we've been saying for years, get your matches filmed, upload the clips and get sharing with us. Moments like this aren't seen all too often so to have it captured on camera, priceless.
Credit to ASU Ruggers for uploading
Posted at 10:05 am | 4 comments
Monday, September 15, 2014
The All Blacks proved too composed yet again as they maintained their impeccable home record with a hard-fought 14-10 victory over the Springboks in Wellington. It was a low scoring, tough Test match but still managed to provide two outstanding tries.
It was another epic battle between the two sides, with the visitors coming close in the dying minutes after surge after surge at the line, but the home side's composure and incredible defence managed to hold them out and eventually get the ball into touch with time up.
Earlier in the match the Springboks had scored first through a lovely backline move off a lineout, with winger Cornal Hendricks flying through a gap that young Handre Pollard drew open.
South Africa went into the half with the lead but later it was the turn of that superhuman number eight, Kieran Read, to produce another unbelievable offload, putting skipper McCaw in at the corner.
With the win, New Zealand have extended their lead at the top of the IRB World Rankings. A fifteen point or more win for the visitors would have taken them to number one, but as it is, the World Champions have a commanding five point lead, with Australia in third place.
It wasn't to be a fairytale 100th Test match for Springbok captain Jean de Villiers, but some consolation may be the way that McCaw and the New Zealand Rugby Union honoured him post match with an official capping process and sincere words from the All Black captain.
It was a lovely moment and one that only serves to strengthen the bond that these two old foes have, and serves to solidify the age old rugby mantra of respect, both on and off the field.
On the injury front, Ruan Pienaar will play no further part in the tournament after damaging his medial cruciate ligament, and for the All Blacks, Ma'a Nonu left the field with what has turned out to be a broken arm. He'll be out for the rest of the season.
Posted at 4:13 pm | 16 comments