Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Sonny Bill Williams made his return to rugby union today, playing for Counties Manukau against Auckland in the ITM Cup. His return has been swift, wasting no time shifting from the NRL back into New Zealand's domestic competition. The Crowd Goes Wild met up with him a few days back.
Williams looks set for a slot on the All Blacks end of year tour, providing he has a smooth transition back into code. If his past performances are anything to go by, that won't be a problem. He recently tweeted how happy he is to be back in New Zealand, and back playing rugby.
Family, friends and the 15 man game. Love being back home in nz ??— Sonny Bill Williams (@SonnyBWilliams) October 2, 2014
He came off the bench in the second half with Counties 27-11 up against Auckland. The final score in Pukekohe was a record 41-18 win for Counties Manukau.
Posted at 6:19 am | 27 comments
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
A new video featuring Carlin Isles has been launched ahead of the HSBC Sevens World Series. The fastest man in rugby is shown with stats revealing that he competes favourably against stars of the NBA, NFL and even against Olympic great, Usain Bolt.
Isles, who recently had a trial in the NFL, goes up against stars from the biggest sports in the USA in this video, being measured against the best from track, field and court with amazing results.
Having lit up the HSBC Sevens World Series circuit on numerous occasions, Isles is widely recognised as the fastest man in world rugby. Still new to the sport, he made the move from Sevens to fifteens rugby union with the Glasgow Warriors, but his debut didn't go to plan.
In the reduced code though, with more space to work with, he can be unstoppable and as this video shows, defenders should be forgiven for not being able to catch the flyer.
The Sevens World Series starts with Australia's Gold Coast Sevens, where Isles will be among a host of stars hoping to shine throughout the series. With Sevens at the Olympic Games in 2016, the spotlight is truly on the sport right now, and come the end of the series, the teams finishing in the top four overall will automatically qualify and book their place in Rio.
This video reveals some quite eye-opening stats about Isles' power and speed, especially when compared to the likes of superstars Kobe Bryant and the fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt.
Posted at 4:16 pm | 15 comments
Monday, October 06, 2014
The annual Varsity match between Northumbria and Newcastle University took an unfortunate turn for the worse when a streaker took to the field, pipe and all, and attempted to make a tackle out on the wing. He then snuck away, as chaos ensued.
Streakers are usually quite comical and stay out of the way but this guy was fearless, slotting into the Team Northumbria backline as if he were one of the players. He helped to bring down Newcastle's winger, before they piled into him, which Northumbria took exception to.
He then snuck off unharmed, pipe still in mouth, while the two sides had a go at one another. The crowd soon joined, and it was quite an ugly scene - reportedly not the first of the match, after a player had already been yellow carded for fighting.
"This is the worst thing to have happened in the history of the clash of the titans," said the dramatic Newcastle Student Radio commentary.
The naked man avoided security and scampered off, safely exiting stage right as the fans from both sides chanted and added to the mayhem.
Northumbria won the clash 29-10, with their coach later commenting "It's always hard in a derby match". In this case, we can only hope he was referring to the match.
Posted at 9:09 am | 11 comments
Sunday, October 05, 2014
Argentina beat the Wallabies for the first time since 1997, and in the process picked up their first ever win in the Rugby Championship since joining three years ago. The 21-17 victory was sealed with a Nicolas Sanchez penalty with five minutes to spare.
After a week that included off field drama with the Kurtley Beale in-flight incident, the Wallabies failed to capitalise on their strong start, after having scored within minutes of kickoff. Powerful centre Tevita Kuridrani crossed, before Scott Higginbotham slipped through for another.
They squandered the 14-0 lead however and a spirited Los Pumas side came back into the match following yellow cards to both Nick Phipps and skipper Michael Cooper.
A try to Number 8 Leonardo Senatore brought the home side back into it, along with a Sanchez penalty as they trailed 14-8 at the break. Winger Juan Imhoff then scored when Phipps was in the sinbin, and Sanchez’s sideline conversion set up a tense final 20 minutes.
Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley missed two kicks at goal in the last ten minutes, including one that hit the posts. Unfortunately the visitors had to contend with the now infamous green lasers in their eyes when taking kicks, something that is sadly becoming synonymous with matches there.
Michael Hooper was yellow carded in the 73rd minute for taking out a player in the air, so Sanchez sealed the win with the penalty kick, and the Pumas players and fans celebrated the historic victory.
Full highlights will follow soon. Let us know your thoughts on the match in the comments below
Posted at 11:54 am | 23 comments
Saturday, October 04, 2014
The battle between the top two teams in the world lived up to it's billing yet again, but this time it was the Springboks that beat the All Blacks 27-25, after another epic Test match. A long range penalty by Pat Lambie secured the win at the death.
The Springboks lived up to their intentions of playing a more expansive game, as both sides played positive rugby in a highly entertaining first half. The home side scored three times, including a brace for young Handre Pollard who not long ago was named the IRB Junior Player of the Year.
Before that Francois Hougaard got on the end of an excellent length of the field effort, with the attacking mindset under coach Heyneke Meyer paying dividends.
For the visitors Julian Savea was lethal, beating tackles on a number of occasions. When he isn't bumping them off, he kicks well, as seen with the first half try he set up for Malakai Fekitoa.
This was a bruising, epic battle and while the Boks led 24-13 at the break, the World Champions wrestled their way back into the match in the second half, scoring two tries to take a 25-24 lead with ten minutes left.
A Schalk Burger carry prompted a no arms tackle by Liam Messam, who appeared to have no malicious intent but did make contact with Burger's sizable head as he ducked into the tackle. The footage was missed by the officials but it was beamed onto the big screen, and around the world, and the crowd soon got referee Wayne Barnes' attention.
As with protocol, he opted to take a look at it, and after speaking to the TMO, made the call to penalise Messam, bringing the play back to 55m out, from which then replacement Lambie had an opportunity to slot three points.
He did so on the Highveld with relative ease, keeping his head down beautifully and taking the lead for the home side, sending 61000 fans at Ellis Park into raptures.
"Pat never answered me on how far he could kick when I asked him at the captain’s run, so I was not sure if he could kick those long ones," said coach Heyneke Meyer of the flyhalf.
"I am very pleased with Pat, he really worked hard. Handre was awesome as well and we now have great depth at flyhalf, considering we have Morne Steyn and Johan Goosen as well.
He also spoke about the incredible support in Johannesburg, and the respect between the teams.
"I have been involved in rugby for almost 30 years and this support was unbelievable. We saw the crowd support on the way into the stadium and the national anthem was awesome.
"It was an unbelievable test match. At home you have to pull these close matches through. We are relieved that this is done now. The win was due. We appreciate the compliments the All Blacks gave us afterwards, we do respect each other," he added.
Duane Vermeulen was all over the park, despite being out injured for the entire week. He played with broken ribs, only being passed fit on the morning of the Test. He earned Man of the Match.
Posted at 7:17 pm | 88 comments
Thursday, October 02, 2014
While Rugby World Cup 2015 ticket applications have now closed, there are two teams that are still unsure if they'll even be there though. Russia and Uruguay played their first leg play-off at the weekend, hoping for a sport in Pool A.
Russia narrowly beat Uruguay 22-21 in the first of two legs to determine who will qualify as the 20th and final team at next year's World Cup. One of the two sides will be part of Pool A, to take on England, Australia, Wales and Fiji.
Going into the second leg, Russia have a tiny lead, following a try from prop Grigory Tsobiladze and an excellent kicking display by flyhalf Yuri Kushnarev.
Seven Felipe Berchesi penalties kept the South Americans in contention until the very end, but they couldn't sneak past Russia, who will need to lift themselves again for the away leg in a fortnight.
"We need to improve our discipline. We had two yellow cards today that cost us a lot," said Russia's coach Raphael Saint-Andre.
"In the second half we had too many penalties against. It is why they came back into the game. So with a bit more discipline, we have got a chance in Montevideo. Today their kicker was on fire and maybe it won't be the same in two weeks."
The return leg in Montevideo on 11th October will be streamed live on Rugbyworldcup.com
Below is a short recap from the IRB's Total Rugby on the game, played in Krasnoyarsk.
Posted at 11:36 am | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Ulster prop Declan Fitzpatrick appeared before an independent PRO12 Rugby Disciplinary Committee today, following his sending off for striking Zebre hooker Andrea Manici in the Guinness PRO12 match between Zebre and Ulster on Saturday.
Following an altercation on the floor, Fitzpatrick was shown red after a TMO recommendation. It wasn't clear to see what started it, but the Ulsterman clearly took contact himself.
A committee, chaired by Simon Thomas, along with Terry Vaux and Robert Williams (all Wales), viewed TV footage of the incident and listened to representations made by and on behalf of the player. They found that the incident was at the low end of the IRB sanctions for the type of offence, carrying a 2 week sanction. [Law 10.4(a): Striking another player with a hand, arm or fist]
In the absence of any aggravating factors and in light of several compelling mitigating factors, including the player's exemplary previous playing record, the Committee applied a one week reduction from the entry point and suspended the player from playing for one week.
Fitzpatrick is free to resume playing from Monday 6 October 2014 and has the right of appeal.
The incident can be viewed at the beginning of the official highlights video below
Posted at 3:11 pm | 19 comments