Monday, May 12, 2014
New Zealand completed the double on a record breaking London Sevens weekend as they won the tournament as well as topped the overall points standings in the HSBC Sevens World Series. Here are some of the best tries scored, plus all the highlights.
London was the third successive tournament win for the Kiwis, following wins in Hong Kong and Glasgow. They also won at the Gold Coast and in Wellington, and by finishing fourth or higher in each tournament, accumulated enough points to hold off challenges from South Africa and Fiji.
In an incredible final they trailed rivals Australia 21-0 before coming back to claim a 52-33 victory in front of a festive Twickenham, that produced a record attendance of 74 969 on day one.
"It was important for us to finish the world series off with a bang. A finish like that really shows a lot about our character," said captain DJ Forbes post match.
South Africa beat Kenya in the Plate final and confirmed their second place standing thanks to a weekend that included a hat-trick of hat-tricks for flyer Seabelo Senatla. He scored 13 tries in total, the most for any player on a series weekend since 2005, and only the third ever to do so.
Canada had an impressive series and finished 6th overall, which included a Bowl final win over Argentina. Two of their players, John Moonlight and Phil Mack, were also included in the IRB's Dream Team selection. The USA won the Shield by beating Japan 36-12 in the final.
Below are the tries selected by the IRB as the best seven overall, featuring (in order), Lee Williams, Dan Norton, Sean Duke, Bryce Heem, Terry Bouhraoua, Waisea Nacuqu and Con Foley.
Posted at 7:05 pm | 1 comments
Glasgow Warriors secured their RaboDirect PRO12 home semi-final in style with a 54-0 thrashing of Zebre on Saturday. There was an amusing moment in the first half when two players from the same side competed against one another to score a try.
It was Glasgow's eigth win in a row, setting up a semi-final meeting with Munster this coming Friday night. They scored five tries after just 22 minutes, ending the first half at 40-0.
Stuart Hogg, who made his first appearance at Scotstoun in seven matches, started the game well as he crossed for a well worked try just 45 seconds into the match.
The bonus point was secured after twenty minutes and Hogg scored his second of the match.
On a hat-trick, the 21-year-old British & Irish Lions back had a chance at picking up his third before halftime, but was thwarted by speedster Niko Matawalu, who refused to give up the footrace despite Hogg remonstrating for him to leave it alone.
It was a bizarre, albeit amusing situation as the dynamic Fijian got his fingertips to the ball first, denying Hogg the honour of a hat-trick. He didn't look as amused as the 5000 fans on hand.
Matawalu scored again later in the match, adding the Warriors' eighth try on a night that will have given them great confidence going into the playoff game against the more challenging Munster side.
Should Matawalu have left it for Hogg, or do you think he was worried that the Scotland fullback wouldn't get there, or he simply didn't hear or see him?
Posted at 1:13 pm | 30 comments
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Toulouse missed out on a Top 14 Semi Final place for the first time in years as they lost to Racing Metro on Friday. An ugly incident in the first half caused a bigger outcry though, as Florian Fritz was knocked out and bloodied, but later returned to the pitch.
Racing Metro won the play-off game 21-16 thanks to seven Jonny Sexton penalties, but fans and the rugby media couldn't help but be shocked and outraged by what occurred earlier in the match.
Fritz had an unfortunate clash with the knee of Francois van der Merwe, which split him open almost instantly, and appeared to knock him out for a while. He got to his feet eventually but as you can see there was blood everywhere, he was disoriented and struggled to walk.
His night appeared to be over, but just fourteen minutes later Toulouse coach Guy Noves could be seen seemingly urging him and the medical staff to get him back out on to the pitch. It could be viewed as courageous by the player, but as one of the commentators said, it's was 'bonkers.'
The IRB concussion protocols are in place to prevent precisely this type of occurrence.
"It is shocking players are still being allowed to return to the field after such obvious signs of concussion," said former IRB medical adviser Barry O'Driscoll. "If rugby doesn't wake up to this and start demonstrating a zero tolerance approach to head injuries, it will be storing up some very serious legal problems for itself."
Fritz came back on around the 33rd minute, with 7 stiches and 5 staples, and didn't take contact, receive the ball or need to make a tackle, thankfully. He did leave the field at half time though, as common sense seemed to prevail and his condition clearly didn't improve.
"I had a small KO. I don't remember everything," he reportedly told French TV station, Canal Plus.
Both Noves and the medical staff involved will come under investigation and of course, severe scrutiny. Another knock to the head could have had dire consequences. As it is, players with repeated concussions run the risk of ending their careers early, as well as long term complications.
There have been reports that referee Jerome Garces did not order a concussion test to be done, so it never happened. Those tests are there to check when it isn't entirely obvious. In this case it seemed clear that by Fritz's behaviour he shouldn't have come close to returning.
Below you can see an English commentary video with the incident and his return to the field
Posted at 8:28 am | 46 comments
Friday, May 09, 2014
Some of the South African Western Force players, and their American physio, just can't get to grips with the Australian lingo since moving Down Under. Luckily for all involved Nick 'The Honey Badger' Cummins took it upon himself to help them out.
Dylan Sage and Dillyn Leyds are two Cape Town boys who joined the Force not too long ago. They've said that they're enjoying their time in Perth, loving the weather and rugby, but as you can see, good Aussie blokes like the Badge have to show them their way.
After a quick run down through the body parts for physio Kelsey, Cummins moves on to more pressing examples, with the following rhyming slang proving a bit too tough for the foreigners:
"If I was to: Get on the dog and bone, book a left jab to the billabong, bend the elbow with a few pigs ears and chew a bit of fat with a couple china plates."
It's another serving of classic Honey Badger, who we've all come to love for his way with words and being the most Australian man in the world. He's also a pretty decent rugby player.
Thanks to Fox Sports for the laugh. You can view more of the Badge in the Related Posts below
Posted at 7:57 pm | 22 comments
The Aviva Premiership has produced some excellent tries this season, so here is a look at the six that have been nominated for the ITV Sport Try of the Season. The winner will be announced and an awards ceremoney in London on 15 May.
The list features tries from six different players, with both forwards and backs scoring. They are also a nice mix of individual efforts and great team tries.
"Looking at them, any of the top six would be a worthy winner," said Phil Winstanley, Rugby Director at Premiership Rugby. "Stunning one man finishes and tries that travelled through a dozen pair of hands stand side by side on this so I know how hard it was to decide on the winner."
The shortlist is: Christian Wade vs Gloucester Rugby, Nick Abendanon vs Exeter Chiefs, Kelly Brown vs Northampton Saints, Jamie Elliott vs Gloucester Rugby, Logo Mulipola vs Exeter Chiefs, Dean Mumm vs Worcester Warriors
The shortlist was compiled by a panel of media professionals and Premiership Rugby panelists.
The winners will be announced on Thursday 15 May at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Awards, where other awards such as Player of the Season and Top Try scorer will also be handed out.
Which try do you think is the best, or was there one they left out?
Posted at 3:12 pm | 20 comments
Thursday, May 08, 2014
There are few sights better in rugby that really big men running at full pace, even if that isn't very fast. In this case, Leicester Tigers prop Logovi'i Mulipola got up quite a head of steam before bumping off Sale Sharks hooker Marc Jones at the weekend.
Those of you that took a look at or followed the Rugbydump Tumblr page will have seen a gif of this yesterday, but it's worth looking at again, and with commentary and a few replays too.
It definitely reminds one of big Henry Tuilagi, as mentioned, who has done this countless times for Perpignan in recent years, and the Tigers before that. It's no coincidence that he's also Samoan.
Mulipola is no stranger to running with ball in hand himself. The try he scored against Exeter Chiefs in March was a brilliant effort, and included in the Premiership Try of the Week nominations at the time, and has since made it into the impressive Try of the Season nominations too.
This big charge, where he took the ball at pace and absolutely blasted into Jones, isn't the first time he's bumped off defenders either. Take a look at page two of this post for a few more, or hit View All now and you can watch all on one page. They're all great to see.
Can you name other props that get as involved in ball carrying like this? Mako Vunipola would be one, Coenie Oosthuizen another, and then Cian Healy would be right up there with the best too.
Posted at 11:34 am | 14 comments
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Catch up on some of the great Super Rugby tries that were scored over the weekend, as well as some of more physical stuff, with a few bruising tackles and one big shrug-off in particular. Thanks as always to the guys at Fox Sports for providing this quick recap.
If you've never seen The Shortball before, it's just a quick catch up on what happened over the weekend, featuring some of the best tries from each match and usually some big tackles too.
If you missed it, Plays of the Month for April is now up too, so you can see that here
Posted at 12:00 pm | 2 comments