Friday, October 04, 2013
Bath flyhalf George Ford put in another impressive performance in his side's 33-18 victory over London Irish last weekend. In addition to an outstanding try and four conversions, he even had time to develop an unconventional goal kicking technique.
Sadly for George, and despite the crowd's amusement at what could have been a fairly historic moment, his innovative kick did not meet the IRB requirements for a successful kick at goal.
Specifically, it fell short of Law 9.A.2. Kick at goal - special circumstances. (a) If after the ball is kicked, it touches the ground or any team-mate of the kicker, a goal cannot be scored.
Ford has been on the radar for several years. In 2009 he was nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and in 2011 he became the first Englishman and youngest ever winner of the IRB Junior Player of the Year award. He is now putting in top performances at senior level too.
During the summer he switched from Leicester to Bath, and since moving away from Toby Flood's shadow his performances have been making headlines. Some have suggested an England call up may not be too far away. Amongst his admirers is London Irish director, Brian Smith.
"He's tearing up trees at 10 and England are lucky to have him. George has a lot of control, you can see the way players rally round him, he's a class act. If he keeps playing like this, I don't think England can ignore him for too long," said Smith after the match.
Despite all the plaudits he has been receiving of late, he is sure to stay grounded.
"It's not all about George. We have lots of people in that back line who can excel," said Mike Ford, Bath head coach and once England defence coach. Then again he is George's father.
View full highlights of the match, including his great solo try, on page two below this video
Photo via Onside Images
Posted at 9:30 am | 2 comments
Thursday, October 03, 2013
There have been some outstanding tries scored in the Top 14 lately, with both the best of individual efforts and team tries being celebrated in Canal Plus' compilations of the Top Ten Tries. Today we've got no less than six for you, a total of sixty tries for you.
With so much on around the world of late, including Test rugby in the Rugby Championship, it's been a bit of a challenge to get everything posted as it happens. The French Top 14 Top 10 tries in particular are something that, although they were queued up to post, were neglected a bit.
It is a popular feature though so rather than not share them at all, today we've pumped a whole lot into one post so that you have the option of watching them all, a few randomly, or skipping ahead to the number one tries as we suspect you might do. Either way, sixty great tries is good value.
In the latest round, Round 7, the number one try went to Metuisela Talebula and his superb effort against Racing Metro. Good power, perfectly balanced and with quick thinking, it's a fantastic finish.
There are many other great tries but have a look yourself by using the page numbers under the video, the links below, or just click 'View All', which will place them all on one page. Enjoy.
Posted at 2:12 pm | 3 comments
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
As we reported a month back, former Auckland flyer Rupeni Caucau is back in New Zealand, plying his trade with Northland in the hopes of finding the form he showed in the early days. Total Rugby caught up with him for some insight into his world.
Still regarded as one of the greats that failed to maintain his incredibly high standards, Caucau is back where it all began and looking in pretty good nick, despite being injured at the moment.
In this player profile we hear from the man himself, as well as Northland head coach Derren Witcombe, former Auckland hooker and teammate of Caucau's when he first burst onto the scene.
While there was speculation that he might be returning to France with Lyon, who are in search of an outside back, today it was confirmed that he is unavailable so they will have to look elsewhere.
The former Agen and Toulouse winger played earlier in the ITM Cup season, scoring a couple of tries and combining well with Rene Ranger to set up a few, but unfortunately picked up an injury against North Harbour that has halted his progress somewhat.
He's more determined than ever though, saying that he wants to be a role model for the younger players, and of course wants to put his family in the best possible position for when he retires.
"Now I have three kids. I'm working hard now before I retire, for their future. So when I finish, I have something for my kids, for my family," he explained.
Caucau admits that age isn't on his side so it's a bit of a struggle at times, but he says that he wants to show everyone that he's still got it. We can't wait.
We'll be archiving more Player Features such as this one over time. All feedback is welcomed.
Posted at 9:46 am | 14 comments
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
The European club rugby season kicked off in Cardiff yesterday, where we had the opportunity to speak with the captains and coaches of some of the English and Welsh clubs that will take part in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup.
The 11 club captains were on hand at the Millennium Stadium to provide their thoughts ahead of the upcoming European season, including Test stars Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan Davies, Chris Robshaw, Dylan Hartley, Matthew Rees, Steve Borthwick and Toby Flood.
We were fortunate enough to get some time for a casual chat with a few of the players and coaches ahead of what could be the final year of the tournaments as we know them.
ERC Chief Executive, Derek McGrath, who is of course tasked with trying to keep European club rugby together, spoke at the press conference, reiterating ERC's strong commercial performance with the tournaments having generated 520 million Euro to the professional game since 1995.
The Heineken Cup kicks off on October 11th, with the Amlin Challenge Cup kicking off on the 10th.
You can view a portion of the press conference with Derek McGrath over on page two of this post
Thanks to Lloyd and Rockadove
Posted at 5:44 pm | 3 comments
A few weeks back in the Rabodirect Pro 12, on Friday the 13th strangely enough, Glasgow Warriors winger DTH van der Merwe experienced this horror collision with the post as he came close to scoring against Ulster at Ravenhill in Belfast.
Canadian international Van der Merwe was okay luckily and managed to play on, but tweeted after the game that his neck was still a bit sore after the 'postheadbutt'.
He also joked that it's another bizarre moment shared by Rugbydump (via Twitter), following on from a year ago when he tore his hamstring but still managed to set up a try against Zebre.
You can view official highlights from the match on page two of this post
Posted at 7:19 am | 8 comments
Monday, September 30, 2013
New Zealand are favourites to claim another Rugby Championship title after they beat Argentina 33-15 on Saturday, scoring a four try bonus point in the process. They travel to Ellis Park for what should be a mouthwatering finale this coming weekend.
Argentina produced a strong performance first half, but couldn't quite maintain their intensity and hold out against the silky skills and power of the experienced All Blacks.
It was close at the break with just two points separating the sides, but in the second half the visitors scored three unanswered tries, including the vital bonus point score by Ben Smith at the death.
Smith earlier scored the try of the match after Ma'a Nonu put him through the gap superbly before he stepped the cover with ease, adding to his already impressive try scoring record for the season.
The bonus point try ensured that the All Blacks will be sitting pretty come Saturday, knowing that even a loss could result in them claiming the championship title.
Coach Steve Hansen said that with the Springboks needing to score four tries to win, it could open up the game and leave them falling into the trap of playing too loose against a highly talented outfit.
"They are going to have to play some rugby. That will suit us as much as it will suit them," Hansen said post match, before paying tribute to the ever improving Argentina team.
"It was nothing more than we expected. They are a side that is getting better all the time. They're very, very good up front and they tried to play a bit of rugby today and played it quite well so we had to work for it, and the bonus point right at the end was exactly that, a bonus for us."
Posted at 2:23 pm | 16 comments
Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has been suspended following the 28-8 victory over the Wallabies on Saturday. Van Der Merwe was yellow carded by referee Jerome Garces, but was later cited for the offence that was deemed worthy of a red card.
A SANZAR Judicial Hearing found Van der Merwe guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous Tackling, which also constituted a breach of Law 10.4 (a) Striking after he was cited following thet Rugby Championship match at Newlands.
The SANZAR Judicial Hearing was held via video conference on Monday 30th September. Van der Merwe has been suspended for one week up to and including 5th October 2013.
In his finding, Nicholas Davidson QC ruled the following:
The player was initially sin-binned for a dangerous tackle but the citing alleged a deliberate striking.
After hearing from the player's counsel, the player and the South African Manager, the Judicial Officer concluded that this was a breach of Law 10.4 (e) as a dangerous tackle executed high and leading with the forearm and without any attempt to grasp the player in the initial contact.
It was also a strike under Law 10.4 (a) but not intentional as cited. Mr Mike Mika, a former professional player, assisted the Judicial Officer.
Van der Merwe has a good disciplinary record at international and Super Rugby level and has never before been suspended. Springbok manager Mr Schwartz spoke extremely well of him as a player and a personality in the game.
Although breach was denied, the Judicial Officer concluded that his record and conduct including a concerned approach to the Australian player warranted a discount to a one-week suspension only.
The Springboks have called up namesake Franco van der Merwe to the squad as cover.
"Losing any player, for whatever reasons, is never ideal but Franco knows our structures and plans very well, having been part of the squad since June last year," said coach Heyneke Meyer.
It was an awkward looking 'tackle' and while being spoken to by Garces, Van der Merwe claimed that he fell over. He was also quick to point out the difference between his and Michael Hooper's tip-tackle (that also resulted in a yellow card).
Posted at 10:14 am | 14 comments