Monday, June 08, 2015
Round Two of the World Rugby U20 Championshop served up some outstanding tries as the juniors battled it out in the heat of Italy on Saturday. Above is a look at five of the best, with all the individual match highlights posted on page two of this post.
New Zealand remain unbeaten, but only just as they narrowly escaped with a tense victory over Argentina in Northern Italy. England beat rivals Wales to top Pool A, while South Africa lead Pool B after out-muscling Samoa 40-8 in Parma.
Ireland narrowly neat Scotland, while France scored a seven-try win over Japan, and hosts Italy went down 31-15 against Australia. The next round of action takes place in Viadana and Calvisano on Wednesday 10 June.
Which is your favourite try, and who impressed you on day two?
The top 6 places have been decided following round 17 of Super Rugby, but with one week of league action left, the final spots are still up for grabs with plenty to play for. Here is Sean Maloney's quick recap in The Shortball.
The Hurricanes topped the overall table as they paid tribute to former star Jerry Collins with an emphatic 56-20 victory over the Highlanders. They took top spot in the New Zealand conference but the winner of the Australian conference will only be known next weekend, and it's between the Waratahs and the Brumbies.
The Stormers drew 19-19 with the Lions, who had a great season but narrowly missed out on a top six place. It was their best ever season, with nine wins. The draw gave the Stormers the South African conference honours.
The Crusaders beat the Blues, with Nemani Nadolo scoring the Try of the Week, but they too missed out on a playoff spot, in what has been a poor season for the champion side.
Next weekend will determine who sits where in the final standings, so there is still plenty to play for as the final standings will prove vital to their chances in the playoffs.
The Shortball recaps the action, which includes an unbelievable second hat-trick for David Pocock, a bad farewell for Will Genia and James Horwill, and a gift of a try for the Waratahs.
Saturday, June 06, 2015
There are some stories that will live on in rugby folklore for all of time. The day Jerry Collins, who tragically died in a car crash yesterday, turned out for Barnstaple Rugby Football Club, in England's fifth tier, is one of those such tales.
While for many of us we only knew him as the hard-hitting, no-nonsense All Black who played fifty times for the greatest team on the planet, a privileged few got to see a completely different side of Jerry 'Hitman' Collins, and the recollections of his humility are endless.
Back in 2007, following New Zealand's shock exit from the Rugby World Cup, Collins was in the UK for a while longer, so when presented with a chance to have a run out, he did so, shocking those he played with, and no doubt against.
In the below video, one of his teammates on that day recounts the story of how he was injured, so Collins lay down on the turf next to him for a photo, as can be seen above.
"I never got into the team photo and that was the one thing I desperately wanted - my photo taken with Jerry Collins just to prove this had happened," explained Trevor Wayborn.
"He lay down on the floor next to me and had his photo taken with my head being held until the ambulance came to pick me up."
Going on to wear the Barnstaple RFC socks when turning out for the Barbarians against South Africa was a lovely touch, and one that in their own words, put the club on the map.
The story speaks for itself, and you can watch another version, via BBC Wales, on page two. That one includes words from the great man himself. May he, and his partner, Rest in Peace.
Friday, June 05, 2015
The Wraparound from the guys at Rugby HQ was at its usual standard of greatness this week and with Sean Maloney as our guide we delved into the weird and wonderful side of rugby from the last weekend.
Things are kicked off with a look at some of the best moments at grassroots level, featuring a sublime 40-yard pass, an almighty collision and superb try from "Tongon Thor", then ending with a great finish from veteran Marty Lisiua of the Hamilton Hawks.
This week there are also highlights from big Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo, a man who has to be up there with the most lethal wingers in the world at the moment. The 6ft 5", 125kg Fijian is tearing defences apart this season, and from these highlights you can clearly see why.
Nadolo is featured again in this week's Wraparound as the Crusaders winger pounces on an opportunity gifted to him by a poor Ma'a Nonu shoulder charge. The Highlanders centre being no match for Super Rugby's hottest current property. Although lest we forget the strength of Nonu, a clip of him smashing a hapless Piri Weepu is put in for good measure.
Codie Taylor of the Crusaders clearly doesn't feel the cold as he loses his shirt mid-game, yet instead of picking it up and putting it on, he carries on playing with the 'man-bra'. And like the guys say, an absolute nightmare to commentate without a number.
To finish up, we head into the time vault and take a look at some of how "mascotting should be done". From jumping out of a blackhawk helicopter to firing t-shirts from a cheerlader held slingshot, this trip down memory lane is a masterless in how to mascot.
It's with deep sadness that today we've learned of the passing of the great All Black flanker, Jerry Collins. The 34-year-old, along with his partner Alana Madill, died in a car crash in France last night. Their baby daughter Ayla remains in critical condition.
Details of the incident will no doubt emerge throughout the course of the next few days, but his long-standing manager Tim Castle, via New Zealand Rugby, released a statement earlier.
"I have been in touch with Jerry's father Frank and other members of his family who are in Samoa at the moment. It’s obviously a terribly difficult time for them and together with New Zealand Rugby we are doing all we can to support them.
"I have also been in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who are also doing everything they can to ensure that baby Ayla is getting all the care and support she needs. I am very grateful for their support.
"The family would also like to thank everyone for their messages of support and have asked for privacy at this time."
Born in Apia, Samoa, Collins went on to play for Wellington in 1999, before making his Super Rugby and All Blacks debuts in 2001. He played a total of 74 matches for the Hurricanes, and 50 for the All Blacks, including 48 Tests.
He captained New Zealand against Argentina in 2006, and later played his rugby at the Ospreys in Wales, as well as spending time playing in Japan with the Yamaha club, and France with Toulon. Most recently, he had signed to join Narbonne this year.
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said: "Jerry Collins is an undisputed legend of the game for Wellington, the Hurricanes and the All Blacks. He inspired all of those around him with his passion and love for the game throughout a highly decorated career for club and country.
"Jerry was a wonderful person who will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Thoughts and prayers go out to both he and Alana's family and especially to their young daughter who is bravely fighting for life.
"Rest in peace JC, as the rugby world mourns and remembers one of its greats."
Wales captain Sam Warburton tweeted: "What a huge loss. Inspiration to many young players growing up including myself. RIP Jerry Collins and his wife Alana. Best wishes baby Ayla."
Collins has featured on Rugbydump since the early days, so is a firm favourite as he's always been one of the hardest tacklers in the sport, and throughout his Hurricanes and All Blacks career was often right in the thick of it when it mattered most.
We send sincere condolences to his family, friends and former team mates, and loved ones of partner Alana, and of course thoughts are with baby Ayla as she fights for her life.
May he Rest in Peace.
Thursday, June 04, 2015
The opening round of the U20 World Championship didn't disappoint, as new records were set and plenty of running rugby was on display. Almost 350 age-grade players have made the step up to Test rugby since the inaugural tournament in 2008, so in Rugby World Cup year, there is plenty to play for and still a chance to sneak into wider training squads.
Reigning champions England had an impressive start as they ran in nine tries to beat Japan, while South Africa and New Zealand recorded big wins against Italy and Scotland, respectively.
France got the better of Wales, while Australia beat Samoa with Wallaby captain Andrew Kellaway touching down to become the leading U20 Championship try-scorer in the eight-year history of the tournament.
The tightest game of the day was the clash of Ireland v Argentina, which saw a touchline penalty-kick by Tomas Quinlan steal the win for Ireland, 18-16, on the stroke of full time.
The second day of action gets underway on Saturday at 16.30 (GMT +2) in Parma and Calvisano, with England facing their Six Nations rivals Wales, while Argentina will be looking to make amends for their last-minute defeat to Ireland when they take on New Zealand.
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
England got the defence of their Under 20s World Cup title off to an impressive start this week with an emphatic 59-7 victory over returnees Japan, while Ireland secured a dramatic last minute win over Argentina.
The competition kicked off on Tuesday and saw easy opening wins for New Zealand who beat Scotland 68-10 and South Africa who saw off hosts Italy 33-5.
England - coached by former player Jon Callard - wasted little time in hitting form as they scored early tries through George Perkins and Jack Walker. They went on to score seven more as 19 year-old Bath fly-half Rory Jennings slotted seven conversions.
Ireland waited until the very last minute to secure their opening day victory over Argentina. Trailing 16-15 with seconds to spare, Tomas Quinlan brilliantly kicked a difficult touchline penalty to sink the Pumas.
Elsewhere, Wales suffered a 19-10 defeat to an impressive French outfit in Calvisano. Bordeaux winger Lucas Blanc finished off an excellent length of the field team try before Jarrod Evans bagged a late consolation try for the Welsh.