Saturday, February 08, 2014
Ireland never looked out of control in Dublin as they beat defending Six Nations champions Wales 26-3. Johnny Sexton was on fine form, kicking two early penalties and converting Chris Henry's try, before Paddy Jackson came on and rubbed salt in the wound with a converted try of his own.
*Updated: Official extended highlights now updated above
Posted at 4:39 pm | 39 comments
Friday, February 07, 2014
If there's one thing worse than being told that you're acting immature, it's being told when playing rugby, on TV and in front of millions of people. That's what happened to Mike Brown and Yoann Huget when they got in a tussle during Saturday's game in Paris.
Nigel Owens intervened, and while a lot of people don't like the way that he tends to command the spotlight at times, there's no doubting that he's one of the very best referees in world rugby.
That post actually sparked one of the most entertaining comment/discussion threads on here in a while, so have a read through that if you have some time - there are some great stories from players who have been told off in weird and wonderful ways by referees.
On Saturday fullback Brown and wing Huget got into what could have been a bit of an incident, especially in this day and age with TMO's involved, slow-mo replays exaggerating things and commentators tending to overact occasionally.
In this situation Huget did push his head into Brown but it was innocuous at best, and Owens' handling of it was a breath of fresh air, and pretty funny too. "You finished? You're both acting very immature. Get on and get on with the game, both of you," he said as he diffused the tension.
There was actually a great moment with Wayne Barnes a few years back when he controlled two overzealous forwards with ease, reminding them of their place in the grand scheme of things. View that here - Wayne Barnes laying down the law to Corry and Borthwick
Posted at 11:32 am | 22 comments
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
England took heart from their narrow loss to France last weekend and have been in camp preparing for Scotland and the Calcutta Cup. Hosted by the brilliant Alex Payne, this latest episode of O2 Inside Line gives superb insight and build up for the match.
Despite the loss to the French at the weekend, England have kept faith in the same starting XV for this Saturday's Murrayfield clash with Scotland.
"It's good to be able to select the same players and they are all determined to put last week's result behind us and build on the performance," said head coach Stuart Lancaster.
"Scotland will be hugely motivated by their defeat in Dublin and, as we found two years ago, Murrayfield is a tough place to play," he added.
England have won the last four Calcutta Match encounters but will be wary of a Scotland team that contain the likes of Stuart Hogg, who is always willing to attack from deep. In this week's O2 Inside Line Player Analysis features Hogg himself, as they look at ways to cut down his space.
There's also a look back at a great bit of play by Billy Vunipola, and then Player Cam gives us a look into a gym session, where Brad Barritt casually bench presses roughly 120kg's.
There is good banter between the players when they talk about who would play them in a film, and then we learn about the Head of Stadium Events for the RFU, Nigel Cox, and what his role involves.
Kickoff at Murrayfield on Saturday is at 5pm (local)
Mike Brown, Jack Nowell, Luther Burrell, Billy Twelvetrees, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Danny Care, Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw, Billy Vunipola Replacements: Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Henry Thomas, Dave Attwood, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson, Brad Barritt, Alex Goode
Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Matt Scott, Sean Lamont, Duncan Weir, Greig Laidlaw, Ryan Grant, Ross Ford, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, Jim Hamilton, Ryan Wilson, Chris Fusaro, David Denton Replacements: Scott Lawson, Alasdair Dickinson, Geoff Cross, Jonny Gray, Johnnie Beattie, Chris Cusiter, Duncan Taylor, Max Evans
Posted at 5:23 pm | 5 comments
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Springbok Rugby have put together the nominees for the Supersport Try of the Year Award for 2013. The list features some fantastic tries scored at Test, Super Rugby and Currie Cup level. The winner will be announced at a function on 12 February.
There are some brilliant tries featured in the video, which unfortunately starts quite abruptly for some reason and doesn't mention the try-scorers, but it's pretty easy to see who is who.
The first four are counter-attacking tries by the Springboks, scored by Zane Kirchner against Australia, Bryan Habana vs the All Blacks, Jean De Villiers against Wales and JP Pietersen against Scotland after a great bit of play by the outstanding Willie Le Roux.
Super Rugby kicks off on Feb 15th so join and make your picks in our Superbru pool!
The next four are from Super Rugby, featuring Jano Vermaak, Lwazi Mvovo, Pat Lambie and Riaan Smit. In the Currie Cup Rocco Jansen and Gio Aplon were both superb with great solo efforts.
The other big award to be decided soon is the SA Rugby Player of the Year, with Jean de Villiers, Bismarck du Plessis, Eben Etzebeth, Willie le Roux and Duane Vermeulen in the running. Young Player of the Year, Team of the Year, and Coach of the Year will also be announced. All awards»
UPDATE 12-01-2014 : Jean De Villiers' try against Wales was named Best Try
Which try would you say should be named as the best?
Posted at 3:00 pm | 14 comments
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Ireland scored three tries as they started their 2014 Six Nations campaign with a comfortable 28-6 win over Scotland in Dublin earlier today. While Scotland showed flashes of class at times, they never really tested the Irish.
While things were fairly even in the first half, with Ireland leading just 6-3 a few minutes before the break, a try by Andrew Trimble on the stroke of half time gave them an 11-3 cushion.
Man of the Match Jamie Heaslip came close to scoring earlier in the half after a brilliant Jonny Sexton break, but was out by inches in the corner. He crossed in the second though, and Ireland were on course to right the wrongs of last season.
Rob Kearney added a third try ten minutes from time, on the occasion of his 50th Testm while brother Dave came close minutes from the final whistle after a Paddy Jackson chip.
Scotland will need to lift themselves again when they host England in a week, while Ireland will look to upset Six Nations champions Wales, also at home in Dublin.
Full highlights will be slotted in here as soon as they're available. For now, here are quick highlights, and you can view the Sexton break and Heaslip chance on page two of this post
Posted at 5:00 pm | 21 comments
Saturday, February 01, 2014
France started and finished well as they snatched a dramatic 26-24 victory against England after trailing with just minutes remaining in Paris. Young Gael Fickou came on to replace battering ram Mathieu Bastareaud and scored the decisive try at the death.
England appeared to have a famous away victory in the bag before things slipped with minutes to go, and a defensive lapse, combined with French flair, saw them leave Paris with little more than pride in a strong performance.
France got off to the perfect start when Yoann Huget touched down after just 30 seconds. He scored again on 17 minutes, before a Mike Brown try game England something to fight for, then a brilliant bit of play by Billy Vunipola set up their second try.
Trailing with just three minutes left, France put together a superb passage of play that eventually led to replacement hooker Dimitri Szarzewski setting up replacement centre Fickou. Scores were tied, and the easiest of conversions gave France the lead, and with time almost up, the win.
England coach Stuart Lancaster praised the character of his players though. "I thought the boys showed incredible character, resilience and a lot of skill to put ourselves in a position to win it.
"It was a great performance in lots of ways. We're very proud. Once we get over the initial disappointment we'll take a huge amount of positives from the game."
French coach Philippe Saint Andre said that it was anything but a complete French performance.
"We were the first and the last to shoot but we suffered physically in the second half, we missed a lot of tackles. There's a lot of work to do still but what we'll have to remember is the victory, the smiles on the players' face after the game. It's a great sign for the season 2014," he said.
Full extended highlights have now been added below. Thoughts on the thriller?
Posted at 8:07 pm | 52 comments
Defending Six Nations champions Wales weren't as convincing as they would have liked to be but managed to hold off a determined Italy side in Cardiff, winning 23-15 after leading 17-3 at halftime thanks to tries by Alex Cuthbert and Scott Williams.
Young Italian back Michele Campagnaro had a fantastic game for the visitors, scoring two tries which resulted in his Man of the Match award despite being on the losing side.
Wales are after a third consecutive Six Nations title but will need to lift the standards again when they travel to Dublin to face Ireland next weekend.
"I thought we were positive in terms of our attacking play but Italy were dogged and competed pretty hard all game," Wales coach Warren Gatland said post match.
"Defensively I thought our structure was pretty good. Italy made it tough for us.
"I think in the past when we have come under pressure like that we might not have had the composure to finish it off but we did today. We're champions and every team is going to come at us and make it tough."
As Italy threatened to get back into the match, Leigh Halfpenny's boot kept the hosts out in front.
*Extended official highlights have now been added below
What were your thoughts on the match?
Posted at 4:31 pm | 14 comments