Thursday, July 03, 2014
Rugby HQ's Sean Maloney takes us through the biggest, best and funniest plays of the month for June in this latest edition of their Plays of the Month. It features clips from the midyear tours down south, where New Zealand, South Africa and Australia all achieved clean sweeps.
There are also a few great moments from the Junior World Championship and Super Rugby.
View more best Plays of the Month, Shortball and more in the Plays of the Week section
Posted at 4:59 pm | 10 comments
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Total Rugby caught up with injured Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton recently, to discuss recovery, home life and coach Warren Gatland. The 25-year-old also touched on the unfinished business with the Lions, and next year's Rugby World Cup.
Do you think Warburton is the man to lead Wales at next year's World Cup, and how do you think they'll perform based on recent form, big match pressure and the players at their disposal?
View more player profiles in our Player Features section
Posted at 3:26 pm | 14 comments
Sunday, June 29, 2014
South African handed debuts to six players en route to a 55-6, eight try victory over Scotland at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. The win completes the Springboks' clean sweep in the June International window.
Young Handre Pollard started at flyhalf for the hosts, after having captained the Under 20 South African side in the Junior World Cup final just a week ago. He was one of multiple players that coach Heyneke Meyer handed debuts too for this once-off Test.
Marcell Coetzee, Lwazi Mvovo and Lood de Jager scored two tries apiece as South Africa powered past a Scotland side that won their three previous Tests, but weren't all that convincing. New coach Vern Cotter has remained postive however, stating that fatigue contributed to the heavy loss.
"There was a little bit of fatigue. We came across a powerful side. I thought the guys showed character. It's been a positive tour. For players and staff, it's been good."
The Springboks were missing numerous players to injury and unavailability due to English and French club commitments, but pulled together nicely as new combinations were explored.
Pollard was impressive in his first senior outing, justifying his rapid rise to the top. He kicked five conversions and a penalty, while the other two tries were scored by Willie le Roux and JP Pietersen.
"We are very happy with the game, just in the 15 minutes before halftime we got a bit loose and made some mistakes. But after halftime we pulled it together and started playing well again," said captain Victor Matfield post match.
Quick highlights from the match are below and will be replaced with a longer video when possible
Posted at 8:32 pm | 37 comments
Friday, June 27, 2014
Huge Wallaby lock Will Skelton is making waves in Australia at the moment (almost literally), so the guys at Rugby HQ thought it was a good time to bring out their list of the Top 5 Big Boppers in world rugby. That's Super Heavyweight status, so to get on the list a player must be over 130kg's.
Look out for fan favourite Ben Tameifuna, and then there's a few clips that we featured on here a while back of huge Opeti Fonua, who famously sent monsieur Wilkinson into orbit.
View more of these excellent Rugby HQ clips in our Top 5 section
Posted at 10:47 am | 11 comments
Earlier this week Wales prop Samson Lee was suspended for five weeks for a headbutt on Flip van der Merwe during the Springboks vs Wales second Test at the Mombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The incident occurred shortly before a Welsh try, but wasn't looked at.
Lee and lock Van Der Merwe came into contact at the bottom of a ruck just before Wales' Ken Owens try. If you watch the clip you can see it happen after the lineout, in front of referee Steve Walsh but as he later testified to, he didn't see it happen.
Springbok captain Victor Matfield brought the incident to the attention of Walsh after Owens went over for the try, but the referee outright rejected his claims, and opted not to take a look at the foul play, instead focussing on the try, which was awarded after multiple replays.
Van der Merwe left the field shortly afterwards to have a cut below his left eyebrow attended to.
Following the match Lee was cited for striking an opponent with the head, contrary to Law 10.4(a), and faced a disciplinary hearing where he was found guilty of the offence. A mid-range sanction was reduced by five weeks due to mitagating factors such as clean record, admission and remorse.
Lee explained that he didn't remember the incident, but later said that he was trying to clear himself from being held by Van der Merwe, with coach Warren Gatland adding that his conduct was clearly a product of his frustration.
He is suspended up to and including 21 September 2014. You can view a copy of the hearing's findings here, which goes through everything in detail.
Posted at 6:25 am | 49 comments
Monday, June 23, 2014
The USA Eagles ended a five year losing streak against neighbours Canada when they came from behind to beat them 38-35 in Sacramento on Saturday. Played in front of a sell-out crowd, it was the first time that the Eagles had won in this fixture since 2009.
Canada scored five tries to the four of the hosts, but it was the USA that claimed the win thanks in part to Saracens back Chris Wyles, who scored 23 points.
With the win, the USA finish second behind Japan in the Pacific Nations Cup 2014 North America/Asia Conference, with Canada in third place. Canada's June Tests record reads as 0-3, after losses to Scotland, Japan and now the USA.
"It's difficult to win down to 14 men for 20 minutes and when you give away as many penalties as we did and when you miss as many tackles as we did today," said Canada's coach Kieran Crowley.
"We didn’t deserve to be as close as we were and it was a pretty disappointing performance today. Our coaching staff is going to take a good look at this game and some of the players will need to look at their performance today and we’ll look forward to November now."
Posted at 11:01 am | 16 comments
Sunday, June 22, 2014
A dramatic late penalty try denied Wales a first ever win in South Africa, as the Springboks fought back twice to snatch victory at the death. It was an agonising 31-30 defeat for the Welsh, who led for 78 minutes before referee Steve Walsh's big decision.
After a tense start to the game, in which Wales put up far more of a fight than last week, the visitors shot out to 17-0 lead following tries to Jamie Roberts and the outstanding Alex Cuthbert.
Late in the half the Springboks came back, putting enourmous pressure on the Welsh close to the tryline, leading to two yellow cards and a penalty try. By halftime the Boks trailed by just three points, 17-14, but Wales started the second well, scoring a controversial try through Ken Owens.
Dan Biggar extended the lead to 13 points with ten minutes remaining, as the Springboks trailed 30-17 and looked set for their first ever loss to Wales at home, after a performance that was anything but what they displayed in Durban a week earlier.
Willie Le Roux had a strong second half though, scoring a try himself and helping Cornal Hendricks to not only a try, but an opportunity to score in the corner with time almost up.
Wales fullback Liam Williams came in for what was an incredible try saving tackle, but made with no use of the arms, so Walsh stepped up and after conferring with the TMO, dramatically awarded a penalty try in what one has to say was one of the most dramatic decisions of recent times.
Biggar came close with a drop goal in the final seconds, but it went wide and South Africa hung on to take the series 2-0 ahead of a meeting with Scotland in Port Elizabeth next weekend.
"As a collective, we can be proud moving forward," said Wales tour captain Alun-Wyn Jones. "This is not the result we would have wanted going into the off season, but definitely the performance."
Following the match prop Samson Lee received a citing for an alleged second half headbutt that occurred shortly before the Owens try in the second half. The hearing was last night but the result has been deferred until midweek.
It was a Test match of epic proportions, with multiple talking points, so feel free to discuss in the comments rather than have each and every incident or dramatic moment written about here. We'll get better quality highlights posted when possible, but for now the below clip should cover it.
Posted at 6:02 pm | 138 comments