Thursday, March 05, 2015
With all the shocks and big clashes of last weekends Six Nations matches it is easy to forget the Aviva Premiership, however this week's tries of the week showed up some real doozies. A perfect mixture of tries containing pace, power, offloading and most important of all, quality finishing.
This weeks top 5 tries feature the likes of Marlon Yarde, Tom Arscott, David Strettle, Ross Moriaty and Thomas Young. There's also a massive hit in there, so see if you can spot it - it's hard to miss.
BONUS TRY: A fan favourite for many a year has been Alesana Tuilagi, formerly of the Leicester Tigers but now back in the UK with Newcastle Falcons after his stint in Japan. He scored a trademark Tuilagi type of try against Saracens, so take a look on page two for that one. Runaway train!
Your thoughts on the best try of the five (or six) on show here? Let us know in the comments below
There is no doubt that when you're 6ft tall and weigh 18 stone, you are going to make an impression on the midfield. French centre Mathieu Bastareaud has done just that during this year's Championship, so here is a quick look at some of his best moments.
Despite France not doing too well so far this Six Nations, one thing is for certain - if you are going to try and tackle Bastareaud, you might want to bring a friend as well.
The big, 26-year-old Toulon centre has made it known in recent weeks that he isn't happy with France's performances as of late, saying recently:
"I have been through that before and it is not nice, but we have to put ourselves in the fans' shoes. We arrive every time with plenty of promise but then we are not winning matches."
France lost last weeks game to Wales 20-13, leaving them 4th in this year's table so far, with their only victory coming against Scotland, who they beat 15-8 at home.
France themselves know they have a big game facing them in a few weeks time against Italy, a team who will be brimming with confidence following their victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.
Whilst we can't call who will win in Rome, one thing is certain - Bastareaud will be there to punch holes in the midfield! See some of his better carries, tackles and turnovers in this quick compilation.
View more of bruising Bastareaud in action in the Related Posts below the video
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
There was some outstanding tackling taking place in the Six Nations over the weekend. Here is a look at six of the best, as put together by the official RBS 6 Nations youtube channel. Note that the music, while taste is subjective, is pretty horrific, so you might want to mute it.
Look out for great tackling from Italy's Simone Favaro in particular, and from Ireland's Johnny Sexton on George Ford during Sunday's big clash with England in Dublin.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
The wrecking ball Rene Ranger is all set to return to New Zealand rugby later this year after he was granted an early release from his contract at Montpellier. He has played in France for two seasons, but wants to return home to spend more time with his family.
The explosive Ranger will return to the Blues and Super Rugby in 2016, but will be available for North Harbour in the ITM Cup this year. The dynamic 28-year-old back has scored 25 tries in 65 Super Rugby appearances for the Blues. He has also been capped six times by the All Blacks, an indication of the kind of talent they've had in the backs in recent years.
For Montpellier he's scored six tries in 15 Top 14 matches, but feels it's not time to return to New Zealand, with family being the primary reason for the early release request.
"Family comes first and that is the big motivator to return. I want to be able to help my Mum more," Ranger said, and added that chosing the Blues as a destination was an easy decision to make.
"I started my Super career with them and they have always been close to me. JK (Blues coach Sir John Kirwan) has always backed me and motivated me to be my best," he said.
He was excited about the prospect of returning to a team he believed was on the improve.
"They are a quality side, but execution is letting them down so far. Hopefully I can play a positive role because backs get excited with the sort of front-foot ball the Blues are getting.
"I will come home a better rugby player. I am mentally stronger and I’ve learned a lot that I can bring back into the Blues environment."
Kirwan said Ranger's return would bolster the team with star-quality on the field and a fan-favourite off it. "Rene made his mark on the game in this country as a remarkable attacking player, always able to break tackles, often when there was nothing on.
"His experience in Europe will have helped further round his skills and add to his experience. With the likes of Charles Piutau, it will give us a potent attacking unit," Kirwan said.
North Harbour gains Ranger
Ranger will return to New Zealand after his commitments in Europe, and will join North Harbour for the ITM Cup. While Ranger said he remained a Northlander at heart, the key to his decision was the desire for his family to be based in one place.
"Last time I travelled from Northland and lived on my own. Our family wants to be together in one place and from that point, I have decided to play for North Harbour.
"They are a young team trying to build and that is something new and challenging for me."
Ranger will return midyear to ready himself for the ITM Cup with North Harbour.
Ranger has been a favourite here on RD for some time now. View some of his finer moments in the Related Posts below this post, featuring some huge hits, charges, naughty moments and a funny celebration. Directly below, view a video featuring some of his highlights while with Montpellier.
Ireland's Johnny Sexton put in another inspired performance this past weekend, showing yet again why he's considered one of the top number tens on the planet. This mini-documentary tracks his rise from schoolboy prodigy to international star.
Three Ireland's 'All it Takes is Everything' campaign features contributions from a number of influential figures, including Ronan O'Gara, school coach Richie Hughes, and Sexton's godfather Billy Keane, the son of Irish playwright John B. Keane.
The three-minute film gives us great insight into the Racing Metro and Leinster stars rise from St. Mary's College, with words from those who know him best, highlighting his commitment, dedication and work ethic, all of which are required to get to the very top of international rugby.
"Johnny is an exceptional out half. He prepares really well, he doesnt leave anything to chance on a Saturday. I also think there’s more in the tank, I think we'll see him in the next two to three years hit a new level," said O'Gara, himself capped 128 times by Ireland.
Ireland skipper Paul O'Connell spoke about how integral Sexton is to the team on matchday.
"Johnny is the most ridiculous competitor you have ever seen, with an unbelievable work ethic. I know my job pretty well on the field, but Johnny knows where the other 14 players on the pitch should be at any one time. He's the standard bearer in everything for us at the moment."
Sexton is an official ambassador for Three, and said that he's barely had time to look back at his career to date, so this mini-documentary has given him the perfect opportunity to do it.
"Some of the most important people in my life, and on this journey, appear in the film and it’s nice for them to also be recognised for their contribution," said the 29-year-old flyhalf.
The #AllitTakes campaign is part of Three’s Irish team sponsorship activity. The third, and final instalment of the series, featuring O’Connell will be released later in the championship.
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Robbie Henshaw got up high to score a fantastic try as Ireland beat England 19-9 in Dublin earlier today. The win puts the defending champions in with a great chance of retaining their title, but they still need to face a rejuvenated Wales outfit in Cardiff in a fortnight.
Following another victory that keeps Ireland on track for another title, skipper Paul O'Connell spoke about the feeling in the camp and the focus of the group.
"I think we’re doing a lot of things really well. The way we're preparing is a lot different from what we've done in the past in my time here," POC said.
"I just think the game-by-game focus suits Irish teams and Irish people. I'm sure the coaches look at the bigger picture, but for us, there will be a fairly brutal review of this game, and we'll be put under pressure then to prepare certain things for Wales, and that will be the sole focus of the players.
He also hinted at retirement, saying it might have been his last Six Nations match against England, but he wouldn't commit to that, as he claims he genuinely hasn't made a decision yet.
"I'm undecided. I'll probably make the decision soon enough, I really want to play to the World Cup and be in the best shape I can there and see after that. I'm really enjoying playing at the moment in the set-up we have in Ireland, but I’m conscious we have a lot of good second-rows coming through as well."
Coach Joe Schmidt has given an injury update, after stars Johnny Sexton and Sean O'Brien were forced to leave the field. "Johnny just felt a twinge in his hamstring when he was kicking that conversion from the corner," Schmidt said.
"Again, we haven’t had that assessed yet so I can’t really comment as to the severity or non-severity of that. With Sean, we’re not too sure how it happened.
"We had a look at the tape and maybe it was a head-to-head clash, but he’s going to through the HIA [Head Injury Assessment] protocols and he’ll work his way through those in the next six days.
"He's certainly asymptomatic at the moment, he’s fine, just a little bit grumpy and disappointed he didn’t see out the match," Schmidt added.
A quick look at an interesting number of stats that World Rugby have put together, featuring the top tacklers from the Six Nations after the first two rounds. Don't be misled by the title - this is not about who hits the hardest, but in fact who completes the most successful tackles.
With Ireland hosting England this afternoon, the likes of Chris Robshaw and Robbie Henshaw will be looking to add to their already impressive totals of 45 and 31 respectively.