Friday, July 03, 2015
Sky Sport New Zealand have put together this quick compilation featuring some of the biggest tackles of the 2015 Super Rugby season. Most of the big ones were featured here on RD, but some weren't and they're all worth another look anyway. Enjoy
The Super Rugby final between Highlanders and Hurricanes kicks off tomorrow and it promises to be an exciting, fast-paced, high-intensity, full-blooded affair.
The two teams faced each other in Round 17 with the 'Canes running out easy 56-20 winners, but tomorrow night's final will be different.
Highlanders field the same side that beat the Waratahs 35-17 and are in to the final thanks to their dogged forwards, the calmness and vision of Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga, and the clinical play of Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and the underappreciated Patrick Osbourne.
The Hurricanes meanwhile have blitzed everything in their path, bar the Tahs and Crusaders. Beauden Barrett has returned from injury to steer the ship while Julian Savea, Ma'a Nonu, Nehe Milner-Skudder and James Marshall look to score every time they touch the ball.
Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith will have an emotional night as he plays his last game for the franchise before he moves to Pau in the summer.
Kick off is at 19.35 (07:35 GMT, 08:35 BST) on Saturday in Wellington.
You can view the best bits from each side's semi finals in the video below
1.Reggie Goodes, 2.Dane Coles, 3.Ben Franks, 4.Jeremy Thrush, 5.James Broadhurst, 6.Brad Shields, 7.Ardie Savea/Callum Gibbins, 8.Victor Vito, 9.TJ Perenara, 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.Conrad Smith (c), 14.Nehe Milner-Skudder, 15.James Marshall Reserves: 16.Motu Matu'u, 17.Chris Eves, 18.Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19.Callum Gibbins/Mark Abbott, 20.Blade Thomson, 21.Chris Smylie, 22.Rey Lee-Lo, 23.Matt Proctor
1. Brendon Edmonds, 2. Liam Coltman, 3. Josh Hohneck, 4. Alex Ainley, 5. Mark Reddish, 6. Elliot Dixon, 7. James Lentjes, 8. Nasi Manu (co-captain), 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 11. Patrick Osborne, 12. Richard Buckman, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 14. Waisake Naholo, 15. Ben Smith (co-captain) Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown 18. Ross Geldenhuys 19. Joe Wheeler 20. Gareth Evans 21. Shane Christie 22. Fumiaki Tanaka 23. Marty Banks
Who do you think will win and by how much?
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Australia and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has signed a fresh three year flexible contract with Australian Rugby this week. It is a deal that will keep the 26 year-old available for national selection until the end of 2018. More info below, plus a tribute video.
An omnipresent figure in the Wallabies setup since his debut in 2013, Folau has remarkably played in the last 29 consecutive matches and scored 17 tries.
He marked his arrival on the Union stage after 6 years in League with a two-try performance in the first test against the British and Irish Lions.
Last season, he played a significant role in the Waratahs' first Super Rugby title and has since shown equally standout form in 2015. His 25 tries for the Sydney based side put him just four behind leading try scorer Lote Tuqiri.
But he won't be adding to his Waratahs scorecard any time soon however. Folau will join Japanese Top League side NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes along with fellow Super Rugby players Eben Etzebeth and Handre Pollard after this year's Rugby World Cup.
The flexible deal will allow Folau to play his rugby outside Australia and still be available for selection for the Wallabies. Speaking of his new deal, Folau said: "I've already had so many great moments and experiences in Rugby over the past few years, but I feel like I am still just scratching the surface of what I am capable of, which is something that really excites me."
"In the end, there is still so much I want to achieve playing Rugby in Australia and am thrilled to now have my contract sorted through until the end of 2018."
A man who is just as pleased to have retained Folau's services for the forseeable future is current Waratahs and Australia coach Michael Cheika.
"He works extremely hard at being the exceptional talent he is, and is someone all Australian Rugby fans can be excited about seeing in the gold jersey for a long time yet.
"He has developed his game so much in the two and a half years since he initially joined the Waratahs, and I know he has a burning desire to continue growing as a player over the next few seasons. Israel is one of Rugby's truly world-class individuals, and he is the type of person and player that you want setting the standards in any team environment," Cheika said.
You can watch some of Israel Folau's best moments of 2015 in this tribute video below:
video credit: 7rugbyvids
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Last week we saw Brumbies back Christian Lealiifano mic'd up, giving us insight into what goes on during a professional rugby match. Well the BBC have stepped things up, placing a mic on courageous rugby league forward Ashton Sims of the Warrington Wolves.
Sims charges around the paddock, making tackles, big carries and giving his teammates a mouthful on the way to a Challenge Cup quarter final victory over Leigh Centurions.
Australian Sims, now 30-years-old, has played in the NRL for St. George Illawarra, the Broncos and the Cowboys. He has also played for Fiji in the Rugby League World Cup.
He said post match that the footage was cringeworthy, while fans of all sports will no doubt disagree, appreciating his commitment, leadership and sportsmanship. It really is awesome to watch. Also, look out for the sensational finish by Kevin Penny about 35 seconds in.
You can watch that great try in full, with replays, on page two
What does it feel like to be tackled by a rugby league player? This is the closest most of us will ever get.Posted by BBC Sport on Sunday, June 28, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Saracens winger Chris Ashton sits down with Nick Heath to discuss taking his opportunity with England, how he's perceived by the fans, his young teammate Maro Itoje and what it will take for England to get the mental edge at the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
On his perceived arrogance in some quarters, particularly around the 'Ash Splash' dive when scoring tries, Ashton says that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
"There's nothing I can do to alter that perception really. I enjoy scoring tries and if that offends people, me diving over the line, then that is their decision."
View more clips from Ashton's colourful career so far in the Related Posts below
Thanks to Nick from Rugby Media for the insightful chat
Aaron Smith, Richard Buckman, Waisake Naholo and Patrick Osborne all scored for the Highlanders as they knocked defending Super Rugby champions the Waratahs out at the semi final stage on Saturday. The 35-17 win wasn't without controversy though.
Referee Craig Joubert has come under heavy critiscism for his handling of a few key decisions, perhaps most notably with the yellow card and penalty try that he gave for what he deemed to be a high tackle by departing Waratahs star, Jacques Potgieter.
Coach Michael Cheika was none too pleased, but managed to control his emotions, while still making it clear what he thought of the decision. Highlanders Ben Smith however, said that is was clear enough.
"I had no doubt it was a penalty try," he said in the post match press conference, which you can see on page two. It includes words from Cheika, and disappointed Dave Dennis.
The Highlanders victory sets up a fascinating tussle with fellow New Zealand side the Hurricanes, who have been far and away the most impressive side in the competition all season. Their victory over the Brumbies was comfortable in the end.
With a few key stars however, the likes of Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa in particular, the Highlanders will fancy their chances, and perhaps relish the underdog tag.
Sunday, June 28, 2015
The Hurricanes will contest their first Super Rugby final since 2006 when they have the Highlanders in Wellington. The 'Canes beat the Brumbies 29-9 in Saturday's first semi final, before the Highlanders outplayed the Waratahs in Sydney.
The two leading teams of the 2015 season will lock horns in Wellington as the Hurricanes or Highlanders will etch their name on the Super Rugby trophy for the very first time.
The Hurricanes, who were only beaten twice throughout the regular season on their way to the NZ Conference title, have earned the right to host the decider after winning their sold-out Semi-Final.
The Highlanders will challenge them following a clinical 35-17 victory over the defending champion Waratahs, and next weekend will represent the first all-New Zealand Super Rugby Final since the Crusaders prevailed over the Hurricanes 19-12 in 2006.
The Hurricanes scored tries through Julan Savea, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea and Matt Proctor, as the Brumbies struggled to contain their attacking ability and power out wide.
"It's massive for us," said skipper Conrad Smith of the home advantage in the final. "It was a big motivation for us to know that if we kicked one in tonight we would play here, so it's a big edge for us."
credit: Brumbies TV/Le-Rugbynistere