Thursday, June 11, 2015
South Africa powered their way into the semi-finals of the Under 20s World Championship with a bonus point victory over Australia in Calvisano. They will face England in the semi finals, while New Zealand will take on France.
Leading the charge for the 2014 runners up was fly-half Brandon Thomson, whose two penalties, four conversions and try capped off a hugely impressive 46-13 win. They face England in the last four as they seek revenge for an agonising 21-20 defeat 12 months ago.
It was Thomson's genius that gave the 'Baby Boks' a crucial bonus point, which relegated Australia to a 5th/6th playoff semi final against Scotland, who earlier beat Argentina 29-6.
The try was set up by a superb break from winger Khanyo Ngcukana. The ball then reached Thomson who switched back against the oncoming defence. The fly-half showed great pace after to streak clear to score.
Elsewhere, New Zealand withstodd a stern Irish challenge in the opening half hour to secure a comfortable 25-3 victory in Viadana, while Wales brushed aside competition returnees Japan 66-3.
Already impressive in their opening round victory over Wales, France toppled two time defending champions England with a clinical display, winning 30-18. A Damien Penaud double ensured a semi final place against New Zealand while England scored just enough points to allow them to sneak into the last four, at the expense of Australia.
Ranked 11th out of 12th, hosts Italy had but pride to play for in their final pool match against Samoa. They fought back from 20-12 at the break to lead 24-23 heading into the final 10 minutes, before a bizarre, loose pass from an Italian ruck gave Samoa the simplest of tries and ultimately cost the Azzurini a deserved win.
The top four teams on the overall standings are:
1. South Africa 15 points (93 point difference)
2. New Zealand 14 (83)
3. France 13 (61)
4. England 10 (-5)
The semi-final draw for 15 June at Calvisano are as follow:
18h30 New Zealand vs France
20h30 South Africa vs England
Match Highlights on page two, with Brandon Thomson's great try below
Former Wallabies winger Wendell Sailor has broken the arm of fellow former NRL player, Ben Ross, on live TV during the rugby league show, The Footy Show. It took place as part of the Iron Arm Challenge, an arm wrestling challenge that was set up for charity.
Beau Ryan, funny man and former player himself, was on hand to call the event, but was clearly shocked at what happened, as Ross appeared to have his elbow dislocated, or possibly ripped the bicep off the bone. It only just happened, so details are scarce at this stage.
Now 40-years-old, Sailor switched from Rugby League to Union and went on to play 37 Tests for the Wallabies before making his return to the NRL in 2007.
Channel Nine's Ben Fordham wrote in a tweet that Ross's injury "looks like a busted bicep".
"Ben Ross is going to be OK, thankfully," he said. "Just a freak accident nobody could have predicted. Hope he's better ASAP."
Ross was taken to hospital immediately, and the Nine Network cut to an ad break.
It's safe to say that Sailor was the winner. We wish Ross all the best with his recovery.
Since it happened, Sailor has spoken about what went through his mind at the time.
"After he got the start on me, I've pushed back. And as I've pushed I saw him use his bodyweight a little bit, which you do anyway, to try and stop me coming back to that point," Sailor explained.
"At that stage, that sound, the look on his face, what just happened. It was just gut-wrenching. I thought he might have pulled a biceps muscle. But just to see his arm hanging there, I felt so helpless. I didn’t know whether to pick him up or what to do. There's so many emotions running through your head.
"I'll never arm wrestle again now. Not even for fun, not even with mates. I used to like to do it for fun but I'll never arm wrestle again after seeing what just transpired there."
Warning: graphic content and language
The latest edition of Plays of the Month features some unbelievable tries from Super Rugby, as well as some of the best comic book super heros that Sean Maloney and the Rugby HQ guys could come up with. Here are the best bits from May, with this latest Plays of the Month.
View more Plays of the Week and Month here
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
A special Jerry Collins Smashed em Bro tribute to the great man #smashedembroPosted by The Crowd Goes Wild on Monday, June 8, 2015
There's no doubting the fact that Jerry Collins was one of the hardest hitting rugby players of the professional, or perhaps any, era. Often on the borderline of legal, and sometimes stepping over that line, Collins was the All Blacks and Hurricanes 'enforcer' for years.
He famously knocked out Colin Charvis of Wales in 2003, and damaged a few others too. The man was uncompromising, and fans loved him for it.
Here is a quick edition of the Crowd Goes Wild's Smashed Em Bro, featuring all Jerry. RIP
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
In their U20 match against Argentina, the New Zealand juniors paid tribute to the late Jerry Collins, who tragically died in a car crash in France a few days ago. They performed a special prematch Haka, with direct reference to Collins and his family.
Former teammate of Collins with both the All Blacks and Hurricanes, Tana Umaga, was watching on from the sideline as he is part of the U20 coaching setup.
It will have been a tough few days for him personally, as he and the entire rugby community have mourned the loss of such a prominent figure.
The young players were all too aware of the enormity of what happened, and performed this special Haka to honour a player who inspired so many, both on and off the field.
While to some it may just look like another variation of a Haka, what they actually said is what made it so touching. In the intro they made reference to Collins and his partner, and then they say Rest in Peace - 'moe moe ra, moe moe ra' in Maori.
There is also an acknowledgement of their baby, and they wish the fallen two to their final resting place. It's a beautiful personal message from the team, and one worth sharing.
credit: sky sport nz
Toulon's fantastic run of success came to a sudden halt as Stade Francais knocked them out of the Top 14 with a 33-16 Semi Final victory this past weekend. Leading from the front was Sergio Parisse, who produced a sensational pass for their first try of the game.
Stade Francais upset the script as they stunned the defending French and European Champions, scoring three tries to the solitary effort of the men in red. They will face Clermont, who beat Toulouse 18-14, in the final this coming weekend.
It was actually the third time that Stade have beaten Toulon this season, the latter having topped the table, but it was a sad farewell for those veterans that will be hanging up their boots, namely Bakkies Botha, Ali Williams and Carl Hayman.
Chris Masoe, who bleached his hair in honour of Jerry Collins, is also moving on.
The try of the match was all about the Italian maestro though, as Parisse got the ball out wide and instead of having a go, realised two players were closing him down, so instinct took over.
The behind the back inside flick for Raphaël Lakafia was perfectly executed, and beautiful to watch, with inspirational Parisse at his skillful best.
As he said in the recent video we featured on The Art of Number Eight, "I don't think I have the number eight on my jersey.. I just try to play rugby, play the situation."
Drew Mitchell and Antoine Burban both scored excellent tries, before Mitchell handed Julien Dupuy a gift that somewhat boosted the final score. View the match highlights
Monday, June 08, 2015
Round Two of the World Rugby U20 Championshop served up some outstanding tries as the juniors battled it out in the heat of Italy on Saturday. Above is a look at five of the best, with all the individual match highlights posted on page two of this post.
New Zealand remain unbeaten, but only just as they narrowly escaped with a tense victory over Argentina in Northern Italy. England beat rivals Wales to top Pool A, while South Africa lead Pool B after out-muscling Samoa 40-8 in Parma.
Ireland narrowly neat Scotland, while France scored a seven-try win over Japan, and hosts Italy went down 31-15 against Australia. The next round of action takes place in Viadana and Calvisano on Wednesday 10 June.
Which is your favourite try, and who impressed you on day two?