Tuesday, May 12, 2015
In 1995 a young man by the name of Jonah Tali Lomu hit the 1995 Rugby World Cup with a bang, and the sport of rugby was never to be the same again. On Tuesday he turned 40, so to honour the great man we're spending the week looking back at some of his best moments.
At 6ft5 and weighing over 118kg's, then 20-year-old Lomu tore the tournament apart, only to be stopped for the first time in the final, by winners South Africa. Against England in the semi final he scored four tries, one of which was the famous trampling of poor Mike Catt.
Will Carling famously said post match: "He is a freak and the sooner he goes away the better".
Lomu didn't go away though, and went on to have an illustrious career, causing carnage more often than not. Today we wish him a very Happy 40th Birthday, and many more, and trust that you'll enjoy this look back to where it all began for Lomu and his All Blacks career.
The 2015 Bhubesi Pride rugby coaching expedition in Africa is well under way, so today we've got the latest video update for you, as well as some information on how you have the opportunity to get involved. This year they started in Uganda and Kenya, and will gradually make their way down south over the course of a few months, en route to South Africa.
Having assembled a fantastic team of volunteers, the team - currently English, American, German, Swiss, Scottish, Canadian and Malawian - has already ventured into Kenya and Tanzania, on what is now Bhubesi Pride's fourth journey through Africa.
The charity's goals continue to promote the game of rugby in Africa at grassroots level, empower locals and, over the next three years, funding is also being sourced to recruit permanent development officers and build sports pitches and community centres.
Oliver Munns, who volunteered with Bhubesi Pride Foundation last year and who now manages the charity's operations in Africa, said: "Its been a whirlwind start to the project. We've taken on a huge amount and so far and it has all gone amazingly well.
"We are already thinking ahead to our 2016 project, with a real focus on sustainability. It's great to be able to plan for the long term."
You can now apply for 2016!
The application process is open and, thanks to corporate sponsorship, the charity has been able to reduce its volunteer fees by over 30%, the lowest they could ever be. For information and more videos, get to their website: http://rugbyinafrica.org/about/apply-to-join-us/
Follow the team on twitter: @bhubesipride and hashtag #joinourjourney
Monday, May 11, 2015
With plenty to play for in the penultimate round of the HSBC Sevens Series in Glasgow, flowing rugby was the order of the day as all sides produced some sensational offloads and creative play whilst running in impressive tries - check out the pick of the bunch here.
Keep an eye out for a glorious individual effort from South Africa's Rosko Specman, blistering pace from USA's Perry Baker, and a wonderful team score from the eventual champions, Fiji.
Fiji now top the leaderboard ahead of South Africa, New Zealand and England. With an automatic Olympic qualification for Rio 2016 still up for grabs, the last round at Twickenham promises to be eventful and inevitably full of more breathtaking rugby.
Rugby legend Jonah Lomu changed the sport as we know it. The great man turns 40 tomorrow, so to coincide with the big birthday, we're giving away DVD copies of his documentary, Anger Within. We'll then be having a bit of a 'Jonah week' as we celebrate the great man.
While Lomu wreaked havoc with ball in hand, he is first of all a human being, who had many off field struggles to contend with. Through the values of rugby, he managed to overcome not only the violence and poverty of southern Auckland, but also lengthy spells of dialyses.
With testimonies from relatives, friends and rugby colleagues, the film covers an incredible chapter in Jonah's life, as we get to see the powerful story behind the legend.
WIN yourself a copy of Anger Within by entering below | Buy the DVD here now
Stade Francais captain Sergio Parisse was shown a straight red card by referee Jerome Garces at the weekend, a decision that stunned the skipper, and everyone watching. It was a vital game for the Paris based side, a local Top 14 derby with Racing Metro.
Parisse went up for a high ball but got there early, which resulted in Brice Dulin jumping into him and landing badly. Parisse didn't have too much to do with it though, as he was there to contest the ball and had he not been held back by Bernard Le Roux, might have got it.
It appeared to be a fair challenge, but Garces, upon referal to the TMO, felt that Parisse got there way too early, badly mistimed it and was reckless, so sent him for an early shower.
As can be seen, and as is brilliantly highlighted by Canal Plus at the end of the video, Parisse had eyes only for the ball. He was watching it from the moment he called for the up and under.
Perhaps his flailed right leg was a little clumsy, but you'd think he had no idea who was around him and being the competitive, athletic back-trapped-in-a-forwards-body that he is, appeared to be making a genuine attempt at catching the ball.
Garces, who sent off Jared Payne for a similar incident in a quarter final against Saracens in 2013, seemed to focus only on how Dulin landed. So Parisse, who was visibly distraught, was off and Stade Francais played an hour without their captain.
One extra thing to note is that the way he shrugged Dulin on the floor was not very smart, or sporting. Perhaps he felt he was faking it a little. Whatever the case, it sparked a bit of a scuffle and if Dulin was badly injured, would have been unbelievably irresponsible.
It's a tough job for referees, especially with directives passed down from above, but all too often lately the focus appears to be on the result, usually when a player stays down, not the circumstances surrounding a challenge itself.
One might say that when competing for a high ball, you always run the risk of being bumped off balance in the air, so the chances of landing on your head are fairly high.
It seems to have reached the point that players simply won't compete for high balls any more (or tens won't kick them), because they know that if they don't get it, not only will they not claim possession, but they may well bump a player in the air and give away a penalty, or more.
Most importantly in this case, Dulin was okay and there was no serious injury, while Stade Francais went on to win the away match 28-19, securing a place in the Top 14 playoffs.
Do you think Garces got this one horribly wrong, or was he correct to look at how Dulin landed, and punish accordingly? Let us know in the comments
Catch up on the very best from another great round of Super Rugby down south. There were tries aplenty, some upsets and one player got punched in the face, by his teammate. Look out for the Sam Whitelock try yet again, as well as a scorcher from Melani Nanai.
Also, after the Force win, check out what Nick 'Honey Badger' Cummins had to say here.
We'll have more from Super Rugby soon. Thanks to the Rugby HQ guys another great wrap-up.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
As we come to the end of another weekend of domestic rugby, here is a look at some of the very best tries scored in the Aviva Premiership over the course of the 2014-2015 season. It's difficult to pick a Try of the Season winner, but take a look and let us know your thoughts.
Bath's Kyle Eastmond features twice, with both being great team tries with some individual brilliance thrown in, while for Gloucester Charlie Sharples had a fairly easy run in after some vintage James Hook play.
Sinoti Sinoti scored a scorcher against Bath, while Christian Wade did what only Christian Wade can do, as he got the ball around the halfway line and created something out of pretty much nothing vs Saracens. Wasps teammate Joe Simpson however scored a dazzling solo effort that with those changes of direction and that searing pace, will be tough to beat.
They're all excellent, but which try stands out for you at the top of the list?