Friday, May 17, 2013
It's the end of another busy week and as we look forward to two big finals in Dublin, Women's Sevens World Series action in Amsterdam, and yet another brilliant round of Super Rugby, here is a quick look at the best of last weekend, in the Super Rugby Plays of the Week from Rugby HQ.
As always, funnies, big hits, news of the bizarre, and some fantastic tries. Enjoy.
If you enjoy these segments, you can browse the archive in the Plays of the Week section
Posted at 4:42 pm | 0 comments
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Ireland and Leinster legend Brian O'Driscoll has today announced that he has extended his IRFU contract for another year, which covers both club and country. Against Biarritz recently the fans requested it, and today, they got what they wanted.
The 34-year-old veteran was recently included in the British & Irish Lions squad for the tour of Australia, what will be his fourth Lions tour after first touring Australia as a youngster in 2001.
With his form and fitness, Warren Gatland has put faith in the ability, experience, and leadership value that he will bring to the squad. It's also no doubt a good confidence boost, fully vindicating his decision to continue on for yet another year.
He admitted that it wasn't an easy decision to make, but thanked the fans for all of their support.
"I want to thank the IRFU and Leinster for allowing me the time to think about my future and discuss my options with my family," O'Driscoll said.
"The support my family and the Irish and Leinster fans have shown me over the past few months, and indeed years, has been phenomenal and I am now very much looking forward to one more year playing with Ireland and Leinster."
New Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, who has of course spent so much time with O'Driscoll at Leinster, said he was delighted to have the opportunity to work with the great centre for another year.
"It's great that Brian has agreed to continue playing. He's an inspirational player, not only on the pitch, but also on the training ground," he said.
"He's played well again this season and other players continue to learn from him. I know that every squad of which he is a part will profit from his qualities both as a rugby player and a person."
This weekend O'Driscoll will be looking to help Leinster to an Amlin Challenge Cup title when they face Stade Francais in Dublin. That, and the RaboDirect PRO12 final a week later (if he plays) were expected to be his final games at home, but fans can look forward to another year of BOD magic.
Against Biarritz in the Challenge Cup semifinal he scored a try after a nice break by Sean Cronin, and was then cheered on by the crowd, who spurred on by his acknowledgement, continued their chorus of 'One more year'. Now they will get to enjoy precisely that.
Posted at 12:15 pm | 7 comments
Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen is fast becoming a fan facourite for the way that he carries and handles the ball, and of course his power up front. Against the Hurricanes he was on the losing side, but scored twice and made one big charge in particular.
Still just 24-years-old, and weighing in at a whopping 125kg's plus, the front rower affectionately known as Shrek earned his first Springbok cap against against England last year.
A product of the presitgious Grey College, Oosthuizen has become a try-scorer of note for the Cheetahs, and one to watch with ball in hand. In recent years he has had back and neck problems, but against the Hurricanes he showed that he's looking as strong as ever.
The Cheetahs came close but a 39-34 home defeat will have been a dissapointment after such an impressive overseas tour. Oosthuizen crossed twice with powerful tries, and earlier made a huge charge that knocked strong tackler Jack Lam to the turf.
"He was a little bit unlucky, I think I caught him on the wrong foot," said Oosthuizen at the halftime on-field interview. "I feel bad for him, hopefully he's okay."
Lam had to leave the field but he has been announced in the Hurricanes' starting lineup for their upcoming clash with the Chiefs at the Cake Tin. The Cheetashs will host the Reds on Saturday.
Posted at 8:41 am | 21 comments
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Rugby HQ's Top Five's are back and today as part of our Midweek Madness slot we're looking at their choice of the best ever unique, weird and wonderful pieces of game-day entertainment. You may have seen before, but most will be a first!
What we've done again this week is show you the other five that didn't quite make the cut, as Sean Maloney and the crew at Fox Sports were kind enough to share those too.
The Sharks girls were a shoo-in, but there's also some crazy fireworks, a parachutist getting caught on the crossbar (yes, you read correctly), and Jonah Lomu, er.. dancing?
In the Top Five this week there are some cheerleaders that were deemed too sexy, there's push ups on the ground and on surfboards, and there's chaos in Dunedin as the Highlanders' famous warrior mascot threw his weight about to protect a little person.
There's also a half naked lady presenting the match ball in Paris (see related posts for full video).
Posted at 9:07 am | 4 comments
Rugby Challenge 2, the sequel to Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge, will be released in June of this year on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. It is the Lions Tour Edition, and today we're giving away copies of the game, as well as an awesome Xbox 360 console.
Timed with the much anticipated Lions tour, Rugby Challenge 2 will be launched in June on consoles (PC later in the year) and feature the exclusive licence for the up and coming British and Irish Lions Tour of Australia, featuring the latest players that were announced in the squad recently.
The game also features the official licences of over 110 other teams, and over 50 stadiums from around the world, including official team, competition, and special match licenses.
The revamped sound and commentary systems feature real-time commentary from Grant Nisbett and Justin Marshall, along with French language commentary from Eric Bayle and Thomas Lombard.
In this edition the gameplay has been refined and expanded to include the addition of quick taps, quick lineouts, mauls from lineouts, interceptions, contesting the ball at the breakdown, removing players from the ruck, number eight scrum pickups, and dynamic in-game team strategies.
There are now more options to create or customise players, teams, and competitions, as well as change the game rules and behaviour to shape game play. Game modes include Match Mode, Multi-team, Competition, and an expanded multi year Career Mode.
ENTER NOW TO STAND A CHANCE OF WINNING
First Prize - An Xbox 360 console and copy of Rugby Challenge 2
Second Prize - A copy of the game (on your choice of PS3 or Xbox 360)
QUESTION: Who do the Lions play in Hong Kong before they go to Australia?
Send the answer, along with your name and address to email@example.com
Entries close Friday 24th May 2013. The winners will be drawn at random by alternative software
Posted at 7:36 am | 4 comments
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Tom Croft played a key role in Leicester Tigers' 33-16 Aviva Premiership semifinal win over Harlequins at the weekend, scoring a great try and making a very impressive try-saving tackle. They will face Northampton Saints in the final on May 25th.
Croft spent a large part of the season out recovering from a serious neck injury, but this year has returned strong, showing the kind of form that excited fans when he first came onto the scene.
The 27-year-old put in good performances in England's last two Six Nations game, and has found his straps with Leicester, culminating in a Lions call up for the tour of Australia.
"We know how good Crofty can be. We have been very patient with him, and he's been very patient with us. Our loyalty to those guys who get injured is always the same," said Richard Cockerill.
Croft's brilliant 50m sprint in the second half followed on from a vital try-saving tackle he made before the break, stopping Danny Care getting in for what looked like a certain try.
"The tackle on Danny was probably more important than my try because I should have been on the blind-side anyway," Croft said. "We knew we could not give Quins a chance, and the defence was superb today, and that is what has won us the game."
Harlequins' Conor O'Shea paid tribute to both Leicester, and specifically, Croft. "Tom Croft is a very special athlete. But it is also the physicality he brings to the game - he is an incredible competitor."
Would Tom Croft be in your Lions loose trio to start against the Wallabies?
Posted at 12:25 pm | 34 comments
Monday, May 13, 2013
Rocket Rod Davies scored one of the tries of the season on Saturday as the Reds powered past the struggling Sharks to claim a 32-17 bonus point win at home. They now head to South Africa with goals of reaching the top of the Australian conference.
The Reds shot out to a 29-3 halftime lead in Brisbane, blowing the visiting Sharks off the park in what was a frustrating performance for last year's finalists.
Much is said of turning points, and with the Sharks five meters out and hot on attack just fifteen minutes into the game, turning over possession proved vital.
The Reds spun it wide and before the Sharks knew what hit them, through some great play by Wallabies Digby Ioane and Will Genia, flyer Rod Davies was in for a try at the other end.
"That old notion 'speed kills' is very true. That pace is always in the back pocket to use and you get a good footy brain with Rocket (Davies) as well," Quade Cooper told the Courier Mail.
The Faingaa twins, Saia and Anthony, scored a try each, while Davies scored a brace. He has now scored five tries in the last four matches, putting his hand up for Wallaby contention.
"Guys can honeypot to the breakdown when breaks are made, but Rocket and Anthony, for his try, kept that width right across the field that is so important. The defence then has to spread, you can get through a bit and scoring chances come," added optimistic Cooper.
The Sharks played better in the second half but weren't able to pull things back after such a great first period by the home side, who now set sail for South Africa and two tough tour matches.
Posted at 1:48 pm | 8 comments