Sunday, May 24, 2015
Poor James O'Connor. Things just didn't go well for him against the Sharks on Friday night, including a bit of a halftime spat with a team mate, then late in the game with this absolute howler of a kick that landed square in the bread basket of Stefan Ungerer.
The first half was frustrating for O'Connor and the Reds, who went 10-0 down within 15 minutes following a try from Sharks number nine, Ungerer.
By halftime it was 16-7 and on the hooter O'Connor, Adam Thomson and Will Genia failed to take advantage of a bit of space down the blindside. O'Connor was visibly frustrated, and that boiled over into the change room, as cameras caught he and All Black Thomson having a full go at one another. Genia was peacemaker, and later played down the incident.
With ten minutes left in the game the former Wallaby star received a loopy pass from Karmichael Hunt then screwed the clearing kick straight into the arms of Ungerer, who incredibly had actually just pulled a muscle as he attempted to place pressure on the kick.
He gave up the chase, but must have been as shocked as everyone else as the ball landed straight in his arms, allowing him to stride a few paces, injured leg and all, and dive over for his second try of the night.
"It was a brilliant catch and James O’Connor was devastated," said Tim Horan of the incident.
The mistimed kick summed up the night, and at times the season, as the Reds chances seemed to fade away as the Durban based Sharks held on for a much needed 21-14 win.
"It's a team sport. You never like seeing individuals take a blow like that," said Reds skipper James Slipper. "It's obviously not what we wanted but we're going to have to rally around him."
See more Bloopers and bizarre bits of play in the See It To Believe It section
Friday, May 22, 2015
As the official ticketing partner of Aviva Premiership Rugby, StubHub UK are offering supporters the chance to witness the thrills and spills of rugby's most prestigious club final, which is set to take place at Twickenham Stadium on May 30th.
This weekend sees the semi finals taking place, with defending champs Northampton Saints hosting Saracens at Franklin's Gardens, and Bath hosting Leicester Tigers at the Rec.
In the lead up to the showpiece final, the fan-to fan ticket marketplace will be giving away a pair of tickets every day for ten days. Want to be in with a chance to win? Simply fill out your details on StubHub's countdown for your chance to see the winning team crowned.
A little bit of showmanship can be harmless, but on occassion it puts you in a position to really end up with egg on your face. This is what happened with Treviso's Henry Seniloli last weekend, and his finger pointing try celebration came a little early against the Scarlets.
The Fiji capped number nine was on the way to finishing an excellent team try, but just seconds after doing a Delon Armitage/George North point at Scott Williams, he was held up, lost the ball and injured himself in the process. Ouch. And the injury probably hurt too.
It was a great effort from Williams to stop the try, but Seniloli's shameless showboating was to blame, and it was a gaff that arguably cost his side the game.
They were leading 13-3 at the time, but went down 17-13 in the end. You can view highlights from the match, and all the others, in our PRO12 highlights wrap from Round 22.
It's not the first time we've seen players showboating then mess up, and it definitely won't be the last. See our related posts for a list of some of the worst (or best to watch?) over the years.
credit: Observatoire Béarnais
We have already seen two cracking tries from speedster Carlin Isles during the USA's shock semi final demolition of England in last weekend's HSBC Sevens World Series finale at Twickenham. But as the latest World Rugby highlights reel shows, there were plenty more scorchers to marvel at during an enthralling conclusion to the season.
Arguably the pick of the bunch was a scintellating effort from England's Marcus Watson, who showed a spectacular turn of speed and fantastic footwork in the hosts' quarter final against New Zealand - a match that guaranteed Olympic qualification for the Great Britain combined team next year in Rio de Janeiro.
Fiji pleased the record Twickenham crowd with a typically flamboyant try finished by Isake Katonibau after a sumptuous series of offloading and support play that has characterised the way the Flying Fijians have played for decades.
Tournament winners USA - managed by former England and Kenya 7s coach Mike Friday - showed significant strength to overpower Australia 45-22 in the final. Danny Barrett scored two tries including a bulldozing effort that started inside his own half.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Canadian former Sevens star, Taylor Paris, scored a sensational counter-attacking try for Agen from all of 105m out in the French second division, PRO D2, semi final at the weekend. It was what is sometimes called a 14-point turnaround, and proved vital in the end.
Paris scored twice in what was an amazing game of rugby that ended 32-32 after extra time and 100 minutes of rugby. Agen progressed due to scoring more tries on the day.
A few minutes after halftime Perpignan were hot on attack and came within inches of scoring, but the ball was turned over so Agen swung it wide behind their own tryline. Paris did the rest, beating one defender on the outside to sprint over 100m to score a thrilling try.
Agen went through to the final as they scored 4 tries against Perpignan's 3. Agen will face Stade Montois in the PRO D2 final this coming Sunday.
You can view a quick highlights report from the match on page two
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Collins Injera's 200th try celebration at the London 7s has gone viral, causing a bit of a stir around the globe for as much good as bad. While it was a classic celebration, with the marker stored in his sock until being needed, there were concerns about the damage to the camera.
While many media sites have claimed that the damage caused to the camera lense could be upwards of £60,000 ($93,000), and that the Kenyan star would be made to pay, it appears to be purely speculation and based on nothing more than an assumption.
We reached out to World Rugby (formerly the IRB), and were told that there has been no confirmation of this story, and in fact the same camera shot was used later in the day, so it appears as though the fuss that has since been made is unfounded, and no cameras were harmed in the making of this celebration.
Of course if anyone has any concrete evidence, or a new story breaks about Injera being banned and fined, we - and the World Rugby source - stand to be corrected.
That said, congratulations on Injera on his brilliant achievement, and to the USA for winning the tournament, and most of all Fiji, for winning the overall series.
Glasgow Warriors have signaled their intent to once again challenge for next season's PRO12 title by signing big Fijian flyer Taqele Naiyaravoro. The 23-year-old has impressed of late, so here's a look at one of his best tries, plus other recent highlights.
The Waratah's winger is currently the talk of Australia at the moment after scoring a Jonah Lomu-esque try against the Western Force recently, prompting him to be thrown into the Wallaby's wingers debate.
There was some concern in Scotland that Glasgow would lose try-scoring potential after they allowed Niko Matawalu, Sean Maitland and D.T.H van der Merwe to leave next season, but Naiyaravoro's signing seems to have blunted those thoughts.
The 6ft 5in, 19-stone (123kg) behemoth, who has been a prolific try scorer in both codes of rugby, has signed a three-year deal with the club, meaning he could be eligible for Scotland on residency rules after that period.
"Glasgow have been talking to me for a while and opened the door for me, so I'm happy to have signed a long-term contract with the club," said the powerfully built winger.
"I'm looking forward to moving to Glasgow with my family to continue my development. They are a strong team and it's really exciting to get the opportunity to move over there and play my rugby in Scotland next season.
"It will be a new challenge for me to play in the Guinness PRO12 and compete against the best sides in Europe in the Champions Cup," he added.
Glasgow Warriors have put together a compilation video of Naiyaravoro's latest exploits with the Waratahs, and below you can see that sensational try he scored against the Force. On page two there is also a big tackle he made on 115kg winger, Frank Halai.