Sunday, June 01, 2014
Leinster retained the Pro12 title with a 34-12 final win over a spirited Glasgow Warriors side in Dublin on Saturday. The win meant that Brian O'Driscoll and Leo Cullen ended their Leinster careers on a high, although O'Driscoll's match didn't quite go to plan.
Zane Kirchner scored twice for in what turned out to be a great day for him, as he was also selected in the Springbok squad for their upcoming home Test series. Shane Jennings and Gordon D'Arcy crossed for tries of their own, while all of the Warriors' points came from the boot of Finn Russell.
O'Driscoll limped off after just nine minutes with a calf/hamstring/doesn't matter any more injury, putting an end to what was meant to be his final eighty minutes of rugby. He was given a rousing send off by the RDS crowd however, and enjoyed the festivities come the final whistle.
Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend said that the more experienced side pulled through in the end. "It was a great occasion, but we were just not good enough on the day. Experience, better play from Leinster and we didn't take our opportunities in the first half when we had the wind behind us," he told BBC Radio Scotland.
"We have made real progress to get to a final. The players have played really well and this group is going to be here for the future. We have just got to make sure we win it next time."
Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor spoke about the team's inspiration.
"Brian O'Driscoll has been immense. They don't make them like that any more and we are just privileged to have him in the environment. It's not all about one guy but there's no doubt everyone wanted to make sure he, Leo and the other guys who are leaving us went out in the right way."
As for O'Driscoll, he tweeted: "Not the way I'd hoped to play it out but sh*t happens!"
View a great video of the post match celebrations over on the next page
Posted at 5:44 pm | 5 comments
Force wing Nick Cummins made one of the try-saving tackles of the season on Friday against the Crusaders, chasing back to prevent a try despite already being part of a losing cause. The Crusaders won the match 30-7 in the end, but Cummins showed great heart with this effort.
A Kieran Read break set up Johnny McNicholl, who as you can see above ginned it for the corner, only to be outdone by a sensational chase and tackle by the Honey Badger.
It was an incredible effort considering that with only three minutes left, the game was already lost.
On a related note, for those of you wondering what has happened to the Honey Badger shirt we released in the RD Store last week, we've been asked to take it down by Cummins agent.
Posted at 9:01 am | 9 comments
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Ben Temeifuna made this cracking tackle in this morning's Super Rugby round 16 match between the Chiefs and the Waratahs. The 'Tahs won the game 33-17 in convincing fashion, but earlier in the match Big Ben made his mark with one of the biggest hits of the season.
In recent season's Tameifuna - weighing in at around 140kg's - has been known to throw that formidable weight around, either with ball in hand or on defence. In this case he had Michael Hooper served to him on a plate, so he made no mistake in executing what was a crunching tackle.
Tough as nails Hooper took it well though, hanging on to the ball as well as recycling possession. Both players hopped up, and the game continued. Fair play to both of them.
View more of Tameifuna's big hits in the Related Posts below
credit: fox sports
Posted at 10:46 am | 5 comments
Friday, May 30, 2014
This week's Top 5 from Rugby HQ was inspired by Nick Cummins' howler of a clearance kick in last weekend's Super Rugby match vs the Lions. That got the Fox crew thinking about some of the biggest 'You're Kidding Me!' moments, so here they are.
Streakers always seem to get a bit of a laugh, and that was the case in Dunedin last year when a guy took to the field, only to be tackled by the Highlanders mascot, a giant cock. During the Super Rugby game against the Blues, AJ the chicken took matters into his own feathery hands.
"I noticed a streaker on the field and thought immediately, 'This is no good, It's our stadium and we've got to protect it'," he explained after the match. "So I gave it my all, gunned it for the streaker and managed to chase him down."
In 2011 the Wallabies thumped the Barbarians but as James O'Connor made a movement towards taking a conversion, Peter Stringer spotted the opportunity and swooped in. The ref allowed it, so off he trotted with the ball. Ireland weren't as lucky against the All Blacks a few years later.
Next up on the list was that bizarre moment when the wind blew the ball all the way back over the tryline, and then there's a look at Toby Flood charging straight into the uprights. Luckily he wasn't seriously injured, and it's a good thing those bits of padding hold so much sponsorship these days.
The number one clip is one that we've referred back to many a time over the years, including a few weeks ago when we featured a very funny chat with Munster legend, Donncha O'Callaghan. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth a watch, as is the classic moment featured here as number one.
Most of these incidents, plus a few more crazy bits, and included in the Related Posts below
Posted at 1:40 pm | 4 comments
Thursday, May 29, 2014
As the rugby world moves towards Test season and domestic finals up north, it already feels like the Heineken Cup final was a long time ago. This excellent montage from Sky Sports should form as some closure on what was another great tournament.
While the 19th and final tournament came to a much hyped about crescendo at the Millennium Stadium, defending champs Toulon were ultimately too good. Jonny Wilkinson went out with a high (Top 14 final pending), and Matt Giteau and Juan Smith scored memorable tries.
The video in this post was shown as Sky Sports' closing montage post match on Saturday, and touches on a few of the 19 seasons that produced some highly memorable moments.
Quick facts from this season's fascinating Heineken Cup:
- South African wing, Bryan Habana, has joined an exclusive club of four players who have won the treble of World Cup, Heineken Cup and Super Rugby titles.  The others are Brad Thorn, Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw, Rod Kafer and Ali Williams.
- Jonny Wilkinson topped the points scoring charts for the 2013/14 season with 113.
- Toulon's triumph made it seven victories for French clubs in the tournament's 19 seasons. Both England and Ireland have six wins apiece.
- Juan Smith, who scored a crucial second-half try at the Millennium Stadium, was the season's leading tackler with 88 (8 missed). Kelly Brown was second with 87 tackles, 0 missed.
- Saracens' No 8 Billy Vunipola led the statistical charts in most carries (110) and in defenders beaten (28) categories. Schalk Brits was second in carries with 94 carries, while Louis Picamoles equalled Vunipola's 28 defenders beaten, but did that in just 7 matches (Vunipola was in 9).
- Chris Ashton was streaks ahead for most tries scored in the tournament with 11, with teammate and namesake Chris Wyles joint second with Naipolioni Nalaga on 5.
- Steffon Armitage, who was awarded ERC European Player of the Year 2014, led the turnover stats with 19 in 9 games. Next best was Justin Tipuric, with 15 in 6 games.
Anything set to Green Day's Time of Your Life is always going to be emotional. This one hits the spot as we bid farewell to the Heineken Cup, and look forward to a new tournament next season, as the European Champions Cup (title sponsor unknown!) comes into play. Enjoy.
Posted at 5:17 pm | 16 comments
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Nick Abendanon played his final game for Bath in the 30-16 Amlin Challenge Cup final loss to Northampton Saints. The nuggety fullback has racked up a huge amount of Bath caps, and during that time has been on the receiving end of a fair share of big hits.
England capped Abendanon missed out on a fairytale farewell in his final game before joining Clermont Auvergne. The 27-year-old found himself in an unfortunate position early in the second half as turnover ball went his way, but he had his back turned to Samoan hitman, George Pisi.
It was a brutal hit, but as we've come to expect from the tough as nails fullback, he got back up. Former Saints flyhalf Ryan Lamb made a pretty accurate observation about it on twitter.
It's not the first time that Pisi has smashed Abendanon. A few years back the Bath back made a big hit of his own, but then later in the game Pisi came flying in with a massive crash tackle.
Both Manu and Alesana knocked him about, and as if that wasn't enough, he then received a big tackle from a Tongan, Steve Mafi. His courage to keep getting up was hugely admirable.
Clermont are getting a gutsy player, who will cope with some of the rough stuff that the highly competitive Top 14 brings. Bath fans will miss him. As will all the Samoans in the Premiership.
"It's meant a huge amount to be here a decade. I've loved it - it's been a great ride," he said.
Posted at 7:09 pm | 14 comments
Wales will be without the services of Leicester Tigers flyhalf Owen Williams after he was last night banned for six weeks for making contact with the eyes of Northampton Saints back Luther Burrell in the Aviva Premiership semi final.
The charge against Williams for acts contrary to good sportsmanship, contrary to Law 10.4.M, was heard yesterday evening. Williams pleaded guilty after having made contact with the eye(s) or eye area of Burrell in the 64th minute.
Williams was given a six-week ban that leads up until the 1st September 2014. He is free to play again on 2nd of September. He will miss the three upcoming matches for Wales as well as three pre-season games for Leicester Tigers.
The 22-year-old flyhalf was on track to earn his first ever Wales cap after an impressive season with the Tigers, but that moment will have to wait until later in the year, if all goes to plan.
Wales are set to meet the Springboks in two Tests in South Africa, on June 14 and June 21.
The incident wasn't clearly visible when watching live, and no replays were shown at the time. You can however see Williams leaning and making contact with Burrell, which is obviously where the offence occurred, especially judging by the England center's reaction.
This is a short clip, but other angles would have been available for the disciplinary hearing.
Posted at 9:04 am | 29 comments