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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Aviva Premiership Biggest Hits of 2014

As we head into the highly anticipated Rugby World Cup year, here is a quick recap of some of the biggest and baddest tackles made in the Aviva Premiership in England in 2014. If you're a regular visitor you will have seen some of these before, but here they are as the best of the season.

While these have been judged as the biggest hits, they also happen to involve some of the biggest hitters, as Courtney Lawes, Samu Manoa, George Pisi and Ofisa Treviranus are all included.

On a less painful note, we hope that you're having a good festive season and look forward to another big year in 2015. We have some extensive changes in the works as we strive for continued growth in all areas, so it's an exciting time ahead. More on that soon.

We'll also continue to work with Premiership Rugby, as well as the other big organisations, so thank them again for their support and the great work they're doing with clips like these.

You can view more in our Big Hits section and in the Related Posts below

Posted at 10:08 am | 7 comments

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Samu Manoa's huge blindside shot on Leicester's Julian Salvi

Northampton lock Samu Manoa made another bone crunching hit in the Aviva Premiership this past weekend, this time on Julian Salvi. The blindside shot took the flanker by surprise, but anyone who has watched the USA Eagles star over the years will have seen it coming.

Posted at 9:43 am | 36 comments

Romulo Acosta banned following Edinburgh vs Treviso brawl at Murrayfield

Treviso prop Romulo Acosta faced a disciplinary hearing today after he was red carded for his part in an ugly brawl during Edinburgh's 48-0 bonus point win over Treviso at Murrayfield. Two other players were also cited following the weekend's action.

Acosta appeared to punch Fraser McKenzie on the ground, which resulted in a red card, while Grayson Hart was yellow carded for retaliation.

"I made the point to the players they have to keep their discipline and not get embroiled. We will have a review and get a clear picture," said Edinburgh coach Alan Solomans.

"Grayson was trying to push people away at the beginning and there was provocation. But no matter how much provocation you have to keep your discipline. It is not something one wants to see in a rugby game. The game lost its way after that (incident) but we got back on the horse."

Acosta appeared today before an independent PRO12 Rugby disciplinary committee.

The disciplinary committee, chaired by Rhian Williams (Wales) along with Simon Thomas and Aurwel Morgan (both Wales), viewed footage of the incident and listened to representations made by and on behalf of the player.

They found that the incident was at the top end of the World Rugby/IRB sanctions for this type of offence, meriting a 10 week starting point.

In the absence of any aggravating factors and in light of several mitigating factors, including the player's exemplary previous playing record, the disciplinary committee applied a 4 week reduction from the entry point and suspended the player from playing for 6 weeks.

Two other players were also cited by the independant citing commisioner, with Teofilo Paulo from the Cardiff Blues and Joe Snyman from the Scarlets cited for striking, under Law 10.4(a).

The disciplinary committee found that in each case the player's actions had warranted a lower end entry point under World Rugby's sanctions for this type of offending, which is a two-week playing suspension.

However, after considering the offending in detail, and all aggravating and mitigating factors, the disciplinary committee concluded that a playing suspension would be wholly disproportionate in the circumstances, and accordingly imposed no suspension on either player.

Note: This article has been updated to reflect the result of the disciplinary hearing

credit: rugby riot

Posted at 8:32 am | 7 comments

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dylan Hartley facing hefty ban after red card for elbowing Matt Smith

Dylan Hartley will find out on Tuesday if his England career is in doubt following a straight red card he received in Northampton Saints' 23-19 win over Leicester Tigers this past weekend. Hartley struck Matt Smith with his elbow for his second red card in 18 months.

Hartley elbowed Smith in the face in Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash, which will lead to a Rugby Football Union (RFU) disciplinary hearing early this week. The outcome of which could mean that Hartley may be out of the Six Nations with a hefty ban.

Missing the Championship would make it tough for him to force his way back into the squad for the Rugby World Cup, hosted in England.

"If you strike someone in the face you are liable to get yourself in trouble," said Richard Cockerill, Leicester Tigers Director of Rugby.

Television Match Official Sean Davey convinced referee JP Doyle to reconsider, after he had initially ruled that a yellow card was sufficient punishment.

It's not the first time that Hartley has found himself fall foul of the law. He has a fairly lengthy rap sheet, one that includes eye gouging in 2007, and more recently, a ban for swearing at referee Wayne Barnes in the 2013 Aviva Premiership Final.

While those have nothing to do with this incident, they will play against him come disciplinary hearing time, where past misdemeanors always play a role in determining the severity of the ban.

Northampton achieved a famous victory without Hartley, holding on despite being down to 14 men for a large majority of the match.

"Defensively, we were poor. We were too narrow, and it will be interesting when we have a look on Monday morning that one side with one less back can create opportunities in the wide channels against us. That’s not right," Cockerill said.

We'll find out soon what kind of sanction 28-year-old Saints skipper Hartley faces.

UPDATE: Hartley has been suspended for three weeks.

Hartley is banned until January 11, 2015. He can play again on January 12, 2015.

The Northampton Saints hooker pleaded guilty and the case was heard via conference call by Jeremy Summers, sitting as a sole Judicial Officer.

Summers said: "The sanction reflects the low end entry point of the offence, which carries a two-week tariff. The entry point was aggravated having regard to Dylan’s previous record and a week was taken off to reflect mitigating circumstances.

"As such the sanction reflects the player's record rather than the seriousness of the offence itself."

Posted at 7:26 am | 37 comments

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Funnies - Prop Adam Jones' drop goal masterclass

Wales and Cardiff Blues prop Adam Jones got together with Sky Sports this week to shoot together a video that quite frankly is long overdue. Ever since front rowers the world over saw his miraculous attempt at goal, they've been wondering how he does it. Now, he shares his knowledge.

If you missed it last month, Jones struck an outrageous attempt at a drop goal in the Guinness PRO12 when playing for his club Cardiff Blues. He missed, but it was a sensational strike and one that the legendary Matt Dunning would have been proud of.

In this quick tongue-in-cheek video Jones talks us through his technique, giving everyone some top tips that number tens out there would be wise to take on board. Or, ignore completely. You decide. 

Posted at 6:14 am | 5 comments

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dan Carter signs huge 2015 deal with Racing Metro in France

Dan Carter's career with the All Blacks will come to an end post Rugby World Cup 2015 as he has signed a three-year deal with Racing Metro in France, reportedly worth in excess of £1million per year. It will be his second stint in France, after time with Perpignan in 2008.

He's arguably the greatest flyhalf of the modern generation and despite having a career that has included some awfl leg injuries, Dan Carters stock is still incredibly high, making him a highly sought after prospect for clubs abroad, as this deal shows.

Carter played for Perpignan in 2008 but an injury then curtailed what was meant to be a new challenge and experience for world rugby's leading points scorer. He only played five matches for the Catalan club, including just one game in the Heineken Cup, a 26-20 victory over Leicester Tigers. 

This new opportunity with Racing Metro will mean that he gets another shot at life in France, and the Paris based club get a top number ten.

"It's going to be an awesome adventure for me and my family," said the 32-year-old on Thursday.

"Having visited France many times, including my time with Perpignan, I know what the French culture and their rugby culture is like and it's something I really love.

"Having said that, it's the immediate future that is exciting me at the moment. 2015 is going to be a big year and I'm looking forward to getting into it, firstly with the Crusaders and then hopefully with the All Blacks.

"My body is feeling really good, I'm training really hard and getting some good conditioning in so I can hit the ground running next year. I'm looking forward to getting out and playing some good footy."

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder, who has known Carter for many years, said:

"Dan Carter has given so much to rugby in this region. He is one of the most famous rugby players in the world, but he is still a local lad who has never forgotten his roots. 'DC' is the ultimate team player and his contribution is as significant off the field as it is on the field.

"The Crusaders will be very sad to see a player of DC's calibre go, but we are thankful for all that he has given us over the last 11 years and we are looking forward to a final season with him in 2015.

"I know that this will be a special season for Dan and we'll certainly be hoping to help him leave on a high note," the former Crusaders skipper added.

Posted at 9:18 pm | 14 comments

Nick Evans and Brian O'Driscoll give a great phase play pitch demo

The guys at BT Sport's Rugby Tonight are doing an excellent job of creating quality content for everyone from the armchair enthusiast, to youngsters that are still learning the game. Last week on the show their Masterclass demo featured a few backs that know a thing or two about rugby.

In this pitch demo Harlequins flyhalf Nick Evans joins Brian O'Driscoll and Matt Dawson to go through some number ten flyhalf play based around dummy runners. As they explain though, the dummy runners are actually options that can all be used at the last second.

It's another great feature from Rugby Tonight. If you find this type of thing helpful or even just enjoyable, please let us know your thoughts below, and share it with your friends.

Posted at 9:54 am | 13 comments