Tuesday, January 21, 2014
A year ago Sky Sports came up with an excellently made Super Rugby 2013 promo that featured Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh, Dewi Morris and as the driver, Thinus Delport. It's that time of year again, so with Super Rugby kicking off in a few weeks, here is the sequel.
Does this year's ad hit the mark as well as last years? You decide. Either way, Super Rugby starts on February 15th so get ready for some fast paced, hard hitting entertainment from down south.
Click page two to view the 2013 promo
Posted at 12:57 pm | 3 comments
Monday, January 20, 2014
New Zealand born Connacht prop Rodney Ah You made one of the tackles on the weekend despite his side being thumped 64-6 by Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday. Kiwi Ah You was recently named in Ireland's extended Six Nations squad.
Saracens were completely dominant against Connacht and as if to rub salt into the wounds, they even scored a try after this cracking tackle was made. It's worth seeing though, and former boxer Ah You's story is an interesting one.
Ah You made the move to Ireland after not quite cracking the Crusaders or Super Rugby setup back home, despite having played for New Zealand at both u19 and u20 level.
After arriving in Ireland things weren't entirely plain sailing, but they're now starting to take shape and after 62 Connacht appearances - with 52 coming off the bench - he has now extended his deal and could possibly play for his newly adopted country very soon.
"My initial reaction was pure shock," he told the Irish Times after hearing about his selection.
"You know: it can't be true. It can't be true. But yeah, it has slowly been sinking in.."
In December he signed a contract extension that means he'll be with Connacht until 2016. It's a long way from Christchurch but for Rodney, wife Bella and their children, it's now very much home.
In October he qualified to play for Ireland through residency, and this could be the year that sees him wearing the colours of the country he beat with the Baby Blacks at junior level in 2007.
"We made the big decision to move here from New Zealand over three years ago and we've never looked back. Galway is our home. It’s where our two boys were born and we love it here," he said.
While it might be some time before he's a regular fixture in the Ireland squad, with hard hitting tackles like this he's sure to get the attention of the Ireland coach, fellow Kiwi Joe Schmidt.
Posted at 7:37 pm | 43 comments
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Ospreys and Wales lock Ian Evans faces an anxious wait to see what his Six Nations availability will be like after he was cited for a red card for stamping in Friday's Heineken Cup clash against Leinster in Dublin. Leinster won the game 36-3.
Evans has been a key player for Wales in recent times but will likely miss out on at least the first two of their Championship matches after Romain Poite red carded him for stamping on the face of Leinster lock Mike McCarthy, who left the field with blood pouring from his head.
Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees admitted it might have been reckless, but said that even after multiple TV replays, Evans alleged stamping wasn't clear and obvious.
"It was a big moment, but I'm not sure about it to be honest, like a lot of observers, I think. Perhaps it was a bit reckless, but there were a lot of replays needed to make a decision, which suggests it wasn't that clear and obvious.
"It took five or six times in slow-mo to isolate the incident. I don't know if that's clear and obvious from a red card point of view, and it changes the game.
"You have to be absolutely certain with a red card, and that there were so many replays and there are still so many differing opinions on it suggests that the clips may not have been totally conclusive," he added.
It looked as though a number of players could have been guilty of stamping, but as the one angle shows, Evans' boot seemed to do the most damage. View a short post match studio analysis.
Posted at 3:19 pm | 43 comments
Thursday, January 16, 2014
While condoning fighting on the rugby field is naturally frowned upon, most fans would admit that they enjoy seeing a good scrap occasionally. With that in mind, there are few places that do it better than France, especially in seasons gone by. Here is a compilation of some of the best ever.
Canal Plus have put together this video that features some of the biggest punches, fights and dirty bits of play in French rugby over the last decade or so. It was created for the show 'The Rugby Session' (Le Séance Rugby) on Canal+ Sport, and is somewhat of a masterpiece.
The Top 14 doesn't have the reputation of being one of the toughest leagues to play in for nothing, and that's all on show here. And yes, Irishman Trevor Brennan seems to be in there a helluva lot.
View more classic French punchups and brawls in the Related Posts below
Posted at 6:12 pm | 66 comments
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Continuing with Sky Sports' brilliant School of Hard Knocks series, today we look at episode 3 of this compelling show that through the vehicle of rugby, gives you an insight into the hearts and minds of a group of troubled individuals from Glasgow.
In the first two episodes we were introduced to the lads and watched on as they tried to form a team and blend into a unit, with mixed results. In this the third episode the boys train with professional side Glasgow Warriors, and get introduced to a previous Hard Knocks player, Pedro.
Pedro featured in last year's series in Tottenham, and through his determination and resilience he soon became one of the most inspirational leaders we've seen on the show. He talks to this year's group and explains that by taking opportunities with both hands, anything is possible.
After training Scott Quinnell and Will Greenwood have to pick the team for their first match, and despite not having the biggest pack, they manage to scrape together what looks like a solid unit.
Their match against HMP Oakwood, a prison team, is the first ever rugby game for the majority of the guys. It brings home the reality of where they could be if they end up on the wrong side of the tracks. It also serves as somewhat of a lesson in how tough rugby can be.
Later in the show tensions boil over at training before they play against Cartha Queen's Park XV.
The final episode will be featured soon, and you can view the first two in the Related Posts below.
Posted at 4:02 pm | 4 comments
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Harlequins lost 16-13 to Clermont in the Heineken Cup on Saturday but one of the moments of the match came from Quins scrumhalf Danny Care, who produced a piece of magic for Matt Hopper's try. Care unfortunately limped off later with an ankle injury.
Care set up Hopper's try with a superb piece of skill after a Chris Robshaw kick ahead, but later in the game he injured his ankle and now faces a race for fitness ahead of the Six Nations. Coach Conor O'Shea praised his attacking instinct that gave Quins a 13-3 lead.
"We didn't start particularly well but then a piece of absolute genius from Danny changed the energy our way and we were pretty much on top for the rest of the first half," said O'Shea.
"Danny's piece of skill was quite exceptional. You can't practice that. He gave us a bit of momentum and he's a game changer."
Clermont came back with a try to Napolioni Nalaga, and then fellow Fijian Sitiveni Sivivatu scored to level things at 13-13 before Brock James slotted an easy penalty late in the game.
As a result Clermont have reached the last eight, while Harlequins are now effectively out the running. This excellent try, that included a chip ahead by a forward, will live long in the memory.
Posted at 10:47 am | 30 comments
Friday, January 10, 2014
You probably wouldn't say it to his face, but Sebastien Chabal is a fairy. The man once known as the Caveman, who was recently suspended for knocking out a player, has taken part in a TV ad that is sure to go viral, for the sheer bizarreness of it if nothing else.
Chabal, who plays for Lyon in the French second division, was banned for 3 weeks after he punched Agen's Marc Giraud with one punch recently. The 36-year-old former France star lashed out at Giraud after he held onto his shirt at the breakdown. Chabal knocked him out with one punch.
He publicly apolologised for the incident but was given the three-week suspension after being leniently dealt with (yellow card) at the time. The incident clearly hasn't affected his popularity though, and if anything it probably added to his fearsome reputation.
He made headlines again today for a slightly different reason though, as this currency conversion company TV advert sees him dressed up as a fairly... a currency fairy. The ad airs on UK TV soon and is sure to make rugby fans snigger whenever they see it. Your thoughts?
Update: You can now view some outtakes from the ad on page two
View more of the best and worst of Chabal in the Related Posts below
Posted at 8:16 pm | 6 comments