Thursday, October 02, 2014
While Rugby World Cup 2015 ticket applications have now closed, there are two teams that are still unsure if they'll even be there though. Russia and Uruguay played their first leg play-off at the weekend, hoping for a sport in Pool A.
Russia narrowly beat Uruguay 22-21 in the first of two legs to determine who will qualify as the 20th and final team at next year's World Cup. One of the two sides will be part of Pool A, to take on England, Australia, Wales and Fiji.
Going into the second leg, Russia have a tiny lead, following a try from prop Grigory Tsobiladze and an excellent kicking display by flyhalf Yuri Kushnarev.
Seven Felipe Berchesi penalties kept the South Americans in contention until the very end, but they couldn't sneak past Russia, who will need to lift themselves again for the away leg in a fortnight.
"We need to improve our discipline. We had two yellow cards today that cost us a lot," said Russia's coach Raphael Saint-Andre.
"In the second half we had too many penalties against. It is why they came back into the game. So with a bit more discipline, we have got a chance in Montevideo. Today their kicker was on fire and maybe it won't be the same in two weeks."
The return leg in Montevideo on 11th October will be streamed live on Rugbyworldcup.com
Below is a short recap from the IRB's Total Rugby on the game, played in Krasnoyarsk.
Posted at 11:36 am | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Ulster prop Declan Fitzpatrick appeared before an independent PRO12 Rugby Disciplinary Committee today, following his sending off for striking Zebre hooker Andrea Manici in the Guinness PRO12 match between Zebre and Ulster on Saturday.
Following an altercation on the floor, Fitzpatrick was shown red after a TMO recommendation. It wasn't clear to see what started it, but the Ulsterman clearly took contact himself.
A committee, chaired by Simon Thomas, along with Terry Vaux and Robert Williams (all Wales), viewed TV footage of the incident and listened to representations made by and on behalf of the player. They found that the incident was at the low end of the IRB sanctions for the type of offence, carrying a 2 week sanction. [Law 10.4(a): Striking another player with a hand, arm or fist]
In the absence of any aggravating factors and in light of several compelling mitigating factors, including the player's exemplary previous playing record, the Committee applied a one week reduction from the entry point and suspended the player from playing for one week.
Fitzpatrick is free to resume playing from Monday 6 October 2014 and has the right of appeal.
The incident can be viewed at the beginning of the official highlights video below
Posted at 3:11 pm | 19 comments
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The IRB have launched a new concussion education drive, led by the video below, featuring stars of the game. The goal is to educate players, coaches and parents around the world to Recognise and Remove when it comes to knocks to the head.
In recent years, particularly since the George Smith incident on the Lions tour of Australia, concussion management has become a real concern, and an area that has demanded attention.
This video is hoped to be central to a game-wide education programme aimed at informing those involved in the sport about the symptoms and dangers of concussion on the rugby field.
Delivering the Recognise and Remove message are Wales' Dr Jamie Roberts, England's Women's Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi, Australia Sevens star Emilee Cherry, All Black Keven Mealamu and Italy captain Sergio Parisse.
Education sits at the top of the IRB and its Unions commitment to changing culture when it comes to taking concussion seriously at all levels of the Game.
The video will feature alongside player, coach and medic education at IRB tournaments and supplements education programmes delivered by individual Unions on an on-going basis.
Research-based advances in on-field assessment of head injuries and graduated return to play protocols are benefiting the elite game, while at community level promotion of correct playing techniques and longer rest periods for youths is also supporting players.
All of this is underpinned by research and guidance by a panel of field-leading independent experts.
An enhanced concussion education website featuring public guidance and key information on the Recognise and Remove programme in English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese has also been launched. Learn more at www.irbplayerwelfare.com
Posted at 1:23 pm | 7 comments
Monday, September 29, 2014
The All Blacks retained the Rugby Championship with a game to spare after claiming a 34-13 bonus point victory over Argentina on Saturday. Next weekend's fixture against South Africa shifts to a matter of pride, rather than the title being on the line.
The win in La Plata secured a third successive Rugby Championship title for the World Champions, who scored tries through Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Julian Savea and TJ Perenara.
Despite there being one match left to play between the All Blacks and the Springboks in Johannesburg, even a bonus-point victory for the hosts will leave them a point behind the leaders, and now winners, of the the 2014 edition of the southern hemisphere quadrangular tournament.
Richie McCaw said post match that finding motivation certainly won't be a problem when it comes to facing their arch rivals at Ellis Park this coming Saturday.
"It won't take much. When the All Blacks play South Africa, especially in South Africa, that's one of the games you live for so the boys will enjoy tonight and then look forward to next week."
The skipper acknowledged Argentina's part in what was a good contest, despite the final scoreline.
"The Pumas came to play and it was a pretty good match to watch because both teams came to play, I'm just proud the guys took their chances. We defended really well and didn't let them across the line until the end and I'm really proud of the guys because it really showed their backbone."
View quick highlights below (better will be updated if possible), and on page two you can get a look inside the sheds with the New Zealand team after the match, and hear their thoughts on the victory
Posted at 5:19 pm | 7 comments
A late flurry of tries gave the Springboks a convincing 28-10 victory over the Wallabies in Cape Town, but the final score doesn't reflect what happened for the majority of what was an extremely tight Rugby Championship Test match.
The Wallabies led 10-5 at halftime before the Springboks edged ahead with a Pat Lambie dropgoal in the 69th minute. What followed was an unbelievable ten minutes of rugby, with the home side scoring three tries, to add to the one in the first half, and claim a bonus point victory.
"I feel sorry for the players, they set the game up for the win and that won't be reflected in the final score, it will probably be forgotten," said Wallabies coach Ewan McKenzie post match.
"There was some really good stuff from our guys, we were in a good position to win it. We will have to look at the video and see why we didn't."
With the match finally poised, a string of well timed substitutions, including that of former IRB Player of the Year Schalk Burger, seemed to up the momentum and tempo for South Africa. Lambie took control, and despite missing kicks at goal, slotted the dropgoal and scored a great try of his own.
Captain Jean De Villiers scored twice, including after the final hooter, to cap what was a memorable day for Springbok rugby, as they gave themselves a chance of snatching the Rugby Championship title, if it were not for the All Blacks' victory over Argentina a few hours later.
"Australia's defence was awesome in the first 60 minutes and we were frustrated at times," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. "But the players that came off the bench upped the tempo and were brilliant. Last year we scored the most tries in the competition, I know we can score when we keep the ball in hand."
De Villiers said he is looking forward to the clash with rivals New Zealand next weekend.
"We will take all the good from this match into next week. We came so close to beating New Zealand in Wellington and I think we can be very competitive next weekend at Ellis Park."
Below are quick highlights (longer up soon if possible) and the press conference chat with shell-shocked McKenzie and Wallaby skipper Michael Hooper is on the next page.
Posted at 11:34 am | 4 comments
Friday, September 26, 2014
Wallaby Nick Cummins is playing rugby in Japan currently, but found time to cash in on his hot streak of fame by doing this Head & Shoulders advert. As you can see, when you're 100% flake free and smell like a man, man, good happens.
Posted at 11:43 am | 13 comments
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Total Rugby caught up with All Black centre Conrad Smith recently to speak about his life as an All Black, his midfield partnership with Ma'a Nonu, and what the future holds as we head into another Rugby World Cup year. He'll be 33 next month, but hopes to be in England to defend the title.
Smith has played 80 Tests for his country, with a winning rate of an unbelievable 90% - he's only ever lost 7 times at that level. It's no coicidence either as Smith, along with midfield partner Nonu, has become an integral part of the team setup.
They equalled the record for the midfield partnership with the most Test caps recently, but with Nonu injured, won't be able to add to that for a while.
This interview gives us a nice insight into the mindset of the man that has a law degree to his name.
View more archived Player Features here
Posted at 10:48 am | 5 comments