Thursday, April 02, 2015
The Hong Kong Sevens proved to be a brilliant showcase of rugby with the eventual winners Fiji running out as deserving champions beating New Zealand 33-19, overcoming their heartbreak of a semi-final loss to England last year.
World Rugby gives us seven of the best tries from the tournament, and boy did the tournament serve us up some crackers. Tries from Tom Mitchell, Jerry Tuwai, Carlin Isles, Seabelo Senatla and Fraser Lyle meant we were spoilt with some top quality rugby.
Out of all the tries be sure to watch Jerry Tuwai's again as the offload from Pio Tuwai is one of the best you will ever see!
Ulster number eight Nick Williams has been banned for 8 weeks following the incident that took place in the Guinness PRO12 match between Ulster and Cardiff Blues at the weekend. Patchell was knocked out as a result, so a citing and hearing followed, with all details below.
Williams appeared on Thursday before an independent PRO12 Rugby Disciplinary Committee, following a citing for striking an opponent, under Law 10.4(a): Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).
The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Roger Morris (Wales) along with Rhian Williams (Wales) and John Doubleday (England), having viewed footage of the incident and listened to representations made by and on behalf of the player, found that the incident was at the top end of the World Rugby sanctions for this type of offence, meriting a 16 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 8 week reduction from the entry point and suspended the player from playing for 8 weeks.
Taking into account the matches remaining this season, and two warm up matches scheduled for the start of next season, Nick Williams is free to resume playing from Monday, 1 September 2015 and has the right of appeal.
You can view the incident below, and original post about it here
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
In the TOP14 match between Bordeaux Begles and LA Rochelle at the weekend, a blatant piece of cheating (or a brilliant piece depending on which way you look at it) occurred when La Rochelle lock Leandro Cedaro used a second ball to stop a Bordeaux attack in its tracks.
Bordeaux had just been awarded a penalty 10 metres out with Begles' Julien Rey running back to collect the ball which had just been kicked away. Another ball is thrown onto the pitch and the home side promptly take a quick tap.
You then see Rey's kicked ball bobble into view a couple of phases later, and when Jefferson Poirot picks and goes from a ruck, Cedaro throws the ball towards him.
The referee immediately blows but whatever excuse Cedaro gives him, he gets away with it as the referee simply tells him it was stupid, and Begles are awarded a scrum.
They score swiftly after but still end up losing the game, 21-22.
What do we think? Was Cedaro's extra ball an attempt at disrupting the attack? Or was he just trying to throw the ball away and it inadvertently looked suspicious?
In a particularly brutal and controversy filled Super Rugby clash between the Sharks and the Chiefs, Francois Steyn was red-carded for an illegal tackle on fly-half Aaron Cruden. The rulings that followed have been quite puzzling to say the least.
Steyn was one of three players to be sent off during the ill-tempered affair, and subsequently also the third to receive a ban – however the circumstances are somewhat bizarre.
His teammate Bismarck du Plessis was dismissed from play having struck an opponent intentionally with his boot, he was cited and the review resulted in a four match suspension.
The process for Steyn's examination and reprimand didn't quite follow the same pattern however.
Having played a significant part in a dangerous tackle on Aaron Cruden, the South African's actions were extensively scrutinised by the TMO and referee during a lengthy stoppage, which included the TMO trying to dissuade the referee from taking too stringent a view.
Referee Angus Gardner went with his gut though, and Steyn was sent from the field.
As was the case with du Plessis, the body which operates Super Rugby, Sanzar, cited the Sharks player and were presented with a decision over whether his actions deserved a ban.
Officer Jannie Lubbe determined that Steyn, whilst involved with the tackle, was not directly responsible for the result and that the force of two teammates entering the contest resulted in Cruden's awkward landing.
Having been cleared of all wrongdoing, and his red card being rescinded, it appeared Steyn's case was over – however, in a somewhat curious twist, Sanzar appealed against their own ruling.
Following this turnaround, an official statement from SANZAR stated:
“The Appeals Committee unanimously upheld the appeal brought by Sanzar and found that Steyn breached Law 10.4 (j) and that the referee was correct to red card the player.”
Further to re-awarding Steyn with his previously repealed sending off, they also decided that the appropriate sanction would be four weeks, and taking into account the Sharks' bye in Round 11 banned Steyn for five weeks, saying he is unable to compete in any form of the sport up to and including the 3rd of May 2015.
Do you think the incident deserved the red-card and a ban?
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The Aviva Premiership was back in action as Six Nations players returned, and there was plenty to talk about. View our highlights wrap on page two of this post, which includes some controversy and a record crowd at Wembley. Above, the Try of the Week contenders.
The five players who scored the best tries of round 18 are Christian Wade (he got a hat-trick), Will Chudley, Adam Powell, Chris Wyles and George North, who was knocked out for his second.
View the full Highlights Wrap (or below if arrived via social media)
Round 7 of Super Rugby brought with it less controversy than Round 6, which means there weren't three red cards in one half of action, for one. All in all there were more great tries scored, another big upset, and some brutal tackles. Oh, and one of the worst (best?) Falcons you're likely to see.
View more Shortball in our archived Plays of the Week section
Monday, March 30, 2015
Ulster number eight Nick Williams has been cited for striking Cardiff Blues back Rhys Patchell during their Guinness Pro12 match in Belfast on Friday. Williams was yellow carded, but many have been angered by the incident, feeling it should have been red.
Flyhalf Patchell spent the night in hospital after being carried off on a stretcher following treatment for 10 minutes from the forearm blow. He was treated amid fears of a bad concussion.
The massive New Zealander has since been cited for Law 10.4 (a) - Punching/striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee.
Cardiff Blues coach Dale McIntosh said after that match that a red card was in order.
"A forearm to the head? It should be a red card. I've done it enough, I should know," he said.
Former Ireland centre Maurice Field said that while the result was severe, "It was not a forearm smash". He went on to tell BBC Northern Ireland that Williams had executed a reckless challenge.
"Patchell is unfortunate - full-backs do not usually find themselves in those ruck situations. Nick Williams is a physical guy, that is the nature of his game," he added.
Ulster went on to win the match 36-17. You can view the incident below in a quick clip from the highlights wrap. We'll have more from the Pro12 soon.
Should this have been a red card, or was it merely a clumsy effort at cleaning out a player?