Tuesday, May 19, 2015
In the concluding weekend of Aviva Premiership rugby action there was much to play for as teams vyed for those final European qualification places, and others hoped to secure themselves playoff semi-finals. After the jump we've got highlights from all six games.
Monday, May 18, 2015
There was much to play for as the regular season of the Guinness Pro12 came to a conclusion at the weekend. For some, European Champions Cup qualification was on the line while others looked to secure home advantage as the knockout stages approach.
It was another busy weekend of rugby, so if you missed some of the Super Rugby that took place, catch up with the Shortball's recap of what went down in round 14. There were some excellent tries scored, a few huge collisions and no shortage of howlers of referee decisions.
We saw some serious speed with Carlin Isles at the London 7s, but look out for the Rebels' Try of the Week, as winger Sefanaia Naivalu scored two scorchers against the Reds.
There's also a look at a neat celebration by the Cheetahs, but one that perhaps should have been saved for when you're up on the scoreboard, not down by 30 points! Thanks to Rugby HQ, as always, for the entertaining recap. Enjoy.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
The USA have claimed a historic first ever Cup Final win at the London 7s, beating Australia 45-22 in front of a day two record attendance at Twickenham. In the semi final the USA scored their highest ever total against England, thumping them 43-12.
Isles, arguably the fastest rugby player in the world, scored two great tries as he took a relatively small bit of space and proceeded to make England look mediocre.
Congratulations to the USA on a huge achievement. We'll have more highlights and feedback from the famous win, and the tournament in general, soon.
Friday, May 15, 2015
Manu Tuilagi will play no part in the Rugby World Cup, England coach Stuart Lancaster has said. The explosive England back has been convicted of three charges of assault on police officers, and one of criminal damage. A joint statement was released today.
According to the BBC, Tuilagi was arrested in Leicester city centre at 3am on Sunday, 26 April.
"He is understood to have grabbed a taxi driver by the throat and kicked the vehicle's wing mirror before pushing two female police officers in the chest as they attempted to handcuff him."
England Rugby and Leicester Tigers have taken action against Tuilagi following his conviction. Manu pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates this week and was ordered to pay the court a total of £6,205 in fines, compensation, charges and costs.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster has spoken to Manu and informed him that, in the light of his conduct and subsequent conviction, he will not be considered for selection for England's Elite Playing Squads until January 2016.
"As role models and ambassadors for the game, the highest standards of behaviour are expected from every England player both on and off the fiel," Lancaster explained.
"Having spoken to Manu, he understands and accepts both the seriousness of the offences to which he has pleaded guilty and the consequences of his behaviour to his club, country and the game as a whole.
"England will continue to liaise with Leicester Tigers and have every confidence that the club will continue to support Manu in the right way."
Tuilagi himself said in a statement: "I take full responsibility for my actions and unreservedly apologise to all those involved in the incident, Leicester Tigers and England. It is something I deeply regret and I totally accept the sentence given by the court.
"The club and Stuart have been very supportive and I understand their sanctions too. I know as an England player the need to conduct myself as a good role model for the game. I am very disappointed because my actions have let so many people down and I can only hope for a future chance to prove myself again."
Leicester Tigers Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill said: "Manu knows and accepts his responsibilities and has received a significant punishment in being excluded from the England squad and the club will also take internal disciplinary action.
"While we do not in any way condone his actions in this case, Manu is a young man who has grown up in the public eye and he is a good professional in a top-level environment.
"He always gives his time very generously to supporters, particularly young ones, wherever he goes, and fully understands the role that the fans have played in his career. We will continue to work closely with him on his return to full fitness and look forward to his return to the field in due course."
He was banned for five weeks for punching England teammate Chris Ashton in May 2011, and later that year fined for jumping off a ferry in Auckland at the Rugby World Cup. So it's not 23-year-old Tuilagi's first run in with the law, however it is the most serious offence to date.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
The host selection process for Rugby World Cup 2023 has officially launched, with interested Unions having until 15 June 2015 to officially express their interest in hosting rugby's premier global event.
With the Rugby World Cup brand going from strength to strength ahead of a record-breaking England 2015 and ground-breaking Japan 2019 tournaments, formal interest is anticipated to be high and geographically wide.
As announced in March, the Rugby World Cup 2023 host union will be selected in May 2017 following a phased process. The successful country will have six years to work with tournament owners Rugby World Cup Limited to deliver the event and maximise the benefits of observing the delivery of Japan 2019.
So far Ireland, South Africa, Italy and France have publicly announced their hosting interest and with the process now officially open, World Rugby invites unions to confirm their interest.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Today represents an exciting and significant milestone in planning and preparation for Rugby World Cup 2023 and a date that officially kicks off starts the bidding journey for interested potential hosts unions.
"We are delighted with the strong level of interest from unions and governments at this early stage, which underscores the enormous hosting appeal of Rugby World Cup in the global sporting market place and we welcome further interest in the coming month."
To assist with the process, World Rugby has invited interested parties to attend a two-day information-sharing briefing in London on 4-5 June, 2015 and the biggest official observer programme to date during England 2015.
1987 - New Zealand and Australia
1991 - England (pool games in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and France)
1995 - South Africa
1999 - Wales (pool games in Scotland, England, Ireland and France)
2003 - Australia
2007 - France
2011 - New Zealand
2015 - England
2019 - Japan
2023 - TBC
Italy and Argentina are the only Tier 1 nations to have never hosted a Rugby World Cup match. Of the current applicants, South Africa, who have won twice out of the five they competed in, last hosted in 1995, so you would think they could be a sensible choice.
Who do you think it should go to? Qatar is not an option.
Today's Throwback Thursday from World Rugby looks back at a beautiful moment that took place post match at the Rugby World Cup 2003 Pool C game in Brisbane. After thumping Samoa 60-10, South Africa's captain, Corne Krige, called both teams together for a quiet moment of respect and reflection.
It was a match that was remembered more for the moment that young Derick Hougaard was famously demolished by bone crusher, 'The Chiropractor', Brian Lima.
The Springboks actually scored eight tries on the night, with Hougaard himself picking up 21 points, but nobody remembers that. The hit is all anyone could talk about.
The stunning moment shown here was the highlight for many though, as despite a lobsided scoreline, both teams were able to come together in a huddle, swap jerseys and share a prayer. The 48,496 fans on hand to witness it clearly appreciated the sentiment.
You might notice a young Schalk Burger and Victor Matfield there. All these years later, those two may well be playing in the same fixture at the 2015 tournament, when the two sides meet again on 26 September in Birmingham.
With the game being so professional and foul play scrutinised so closely by high quality TV replays and overeager TMO's, at times we tend to lose track of what really matters in rugby.
Of course the positive side still remains to this day, but on that night in Brisbane in 2003, the age old values of respect, humility and camaraderie certainly were on full display.
EXTRA: A similar thing actually took place in 2013 after Fiji beat Japan in the opening game of the Pacific Nations Cup. They scored two sensational tries in a rain-soaked Lautoka, but both sides came together at the end much like this. Watch that video here
credit: world rugby