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
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Stade Francais narrowly missed out on a Top 14 play-off place as they were beaten 17-15 by league leaders Toulon in Nice at the weekend. The match was as competitive as ever with multiple cards, including a red, and a sin-binning for Wallaby Digby Ioane.
Replacement flyhalf Morne Steyn, renowned for his quality goal kicking, had a conversion kick to square things up late in the game after a Heinke van der Merwe try in the 77th minute.
That went wide, so Toulon held on for the win after having played 30 minutes with just 14 men, after Georgian Konstantine Mikautadze was red carded for a knee/kick on an opponent.
It was tense throughout and Stade Francais had three yellow cards themselves, with wing Ioane picking one up for a dangerous tackle on Bryan Habana as he came through a ruck. It looked as though he brought his Rugby Championship rival to ground safely, but was carded nonetheless.
Earlier in the match Ioane had come in off his wing to smash the Springbok star, and was penalised for that too, but wasn't shown a card despite the referee chatting with the TMO.
Habana seems to have a bit of a habit of twisting his body dramatically in the tackle, whether it's deliberate or not. As we saw with Devin Toner and Tom Court at the weekend, that can have dire consequences for the tackler, and perhaps for himself too.
With the victory Toulon secured their semi final spot, where they will face the winner of Toulouse vs Racing Metro, which takes place on 9 May. Montpellier beat Racing Metro 44-10 so they too go the guaranteed semi, where they will face the winner of Clermont vs Castes (10 May).
Below you can see the big tackle Ioane made on Habana, and then the incident he was yellow carded for. On the next page you can view the Konstantine Mikautadze red card incident.
Posted at 5:12 pm | 35 comments
Monday, May 05, 2014
The story of the Glasgow 7's was Scotland's great run in front of the home fans, as well as the historic performance by Canada, who reached the Cup Final for the first time ever. In the end it was all about New Zealand though. Here are seven of the best tries scored over the weekend, as well as highlights from both days, including the finals.
New Zealand were ruthless in the Cup Final on Sunday as they brushed aside the challenge of a valiant Canadian side, who had done their country proud to make it that far.
The All Blacks Sevens side were simply too strong however and run away 54-7 winners.
The leg victory gave them their 50th IRB Sevens Cup title in 15 years, and they go 19 points clear of second place South Africa in the standings, with one leg still to play (in London).
Canada reached the final after beating Scotland 10-7, disappointing the home crowd but earning a few fans of their own after some impressive performances from the likes of John Moonlight, and of course Conor Trainor, who scored that incredible try against France.
Next week's hosts England claimed the Plate, while France took the bowl and Wales, the Shield.
London is the final leg and it's been announced that the first day at Twickenham is actually sold out already, with 75 000 tickets having been sold. Tickets remain for day two however.
Below you can see Seven of the Best Tries from the weekend, and then on pages two and three you can view highlights from Day One and Day Two at Scotstoun. To navigate, simply click the page numbers below the video, or use you can also click View All to view everything on one page.
Posted at 6:38 pm | 2 comments
Rugby HQ's Plays of the Month are back with another excellent segment that wraps up the good, the bad and the ugly from Super Rugby in the month of April. This one features some outstanding tries in particular, as well as a few highly comical moments.
The big hits are there in abundance too, and switching away from Super Rugby for a bit, there's a very quick look at that much spoken about incident in the American Samoa 7's tournament..
You can view February and March in the Related Posts below, and all other Shortball and previous Plays of the Week clips, dating back a few years, in the Plays of the Week category archive
Posted at 9:59 am | 7 comments
Sunday, May 04, 2014
With some of the most gifted players in world rugby taking part, the World Sevens Series is a platform to showcase some great skills. Speed and stepping are often at the forefront, but as seen here, footballing ability goes a long way too.
Against France on Day One of the Glasgow Sevens, Trainer was on the end of a drifting pass that was out just a bit too far in front of him. Rather that reach down and possibly risk knocking it on, he did what any incredibly talented player would do - casually controlled and flicked it up with his foot.
He then outran the defence, and glided inside one of France's best players, Terry Bouhraoua.
The last time we saw something similar to this in the Sevens was when Wales' Tom Grabham did pretty much the exact same thing against Argentina in 2012, also in Glasgow funnily enough.
On the Test scene Simon Zebo, as mentioned in this clip, did it in the Six Nations with a backheel against two years ago, but it could probably be argued that both Grabham and Trainer's moments were more impressive and required more control. Football gurus can debate that though.
In last year's Six Nations Vincent Clerc volleyed a crosskick in-field to nearly set up a try against Scotland, and back in 2009 Lionel Beauxis produced one of the most sublime bits of skill seen on a rugby field, as he volleyed and controlled the ball with ease against Bath.
Dimitri Yachvili has also backheeled a pass to set up a try before, and last year Munster's Rohan O'Mahony flicked the ball up to James Coughlan to set up a try. There was all sorts of debate about whether that was intentional or not, so you can take a look and add your two cents on that post.
The theme with all of these efforts is that while size, physicality and fitness as so key to rugby these days, there's still place and appreciation for the showman, and those with incredible skill.
Enjoy Trainer's effort below, and the other moments mentioned in the Related Posts below that
Posted at 10:09 am | 14 comments
Friday, May 02, 2014
Ulster prop Tom Court was shown a straight red card in tonight's RaboDirect PRO12 match between Ulster and Leinster at Ravenhill. Court was part of a double tackle on 6ft11 Ireland lock Toner, and appeared to drive him to the ground as Toner twisted.
Prop Court and hooker Rob Herring made the tackle and lifted Toner before - as we've seen on previous occasions - the tackled player turned, and in the process the tackle outcome changed. That's the way it looked anyway, and unfortunately he landed face flat in the turf.
Former Ireland international Paul Wallace tweeted about his frustration with the decision.
"He's gone above the horizontal, and he's landed on his neck. I've got no option but a red card," explained referee Luke Pearce, much to Ulster captain Johan Muller's annoyance.
"You are joking," could be heard twice, as Court seemed to say something like "Please Sir... I let him go in the air," trying to indicate that there was no malice involved.
Malicious or not, Toner landed terribly and with the laws the way they are - to protect players in the tackle - the referee was correct in saying that he had no option but to give a red card.
UPDATE: Leinster won the match 22-20 after a tight finish. Court tweeted the following to Toner:
In another controversial incident, Rob Kearney was yellow carded for a high tackle on Paddy Jackson as the Ulster flyhalf sprinted in for a try. You can see that on page two off this post.
UPDATE: Court has been suspended for 2 weeks. You can read the full press release here
Posted at 7:19 pm | 61 comments
Ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby action, here is a catch up on what went down in round 11 of play, with some excellent tries scored around New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. There's also a few great celebrations from the Cheetahs, and a falcon of course. Thanks as always to Fox Sports
Posted at 6:02 pm | 6 comments