Wednesday, February 20, 2013
England host France at Twickenham this weekend as the Six Nations gets back under way after a short break. The hosts will be looking to maintain their unbeaten run as they aim for the Grand Slam, having already beaten Scotland and Ireland.
Pre-tournament favourites France on the other hand have lost their first two games, as consecutive defeats to Italy and Wales have put a dampener on their title ambitions.
England prop Mako Vunipola said that there is still a lot for England to watch out for though, as France possess an almight pack up front.
"We're expecting a totally different French team. The results haven't gone their way but they haven't played that badly really," said young Vunipola, who is in the matchday squad.
"They have showed with the level of dominance they have had with their set-piece and forward pack that if we are going to get close to this French team we need to take them on up front.
"This is probably one of the best French scrums they have had for a while," he added.
Speaking about this week's O2 Inside Line, Vunipola says it's good to have fun as a team.
"As a fan you always want to be involved with England and it's always nice to see what we get up to in our time off. When it's time to train we work hard but off the field we like to have a bit of fun and enjoy each other's company, so it's another way of easing a bit of pressure and taking our minds off rugby," he said.
This week Dylan Hartley and Joe Launchbury analyse the England performance vs Ireland, Owen Farrell and Vunipola have a chat, and we learn more about the England kit man.
Posted at 6:21 pm | 4 comments
A week ago the verdict in the Ross Moriarty spear tackle case was heard, resulting in a seven week ban for the England Under 20 player. Some of you had requested to see the incident, which took place against Ireland U20, so here it is.
England's Ross Moriarty was shown a straight red card in the U20 Six Nations match at Dubarry Park a few weeks back. Ireland won the game 16-15 thanks to a late try and conversion.
The visitors coped well despite the loss of Moriarty in the 23rd minute for his tackle on Ireland U20 skipper Luke McGrath. McGrath was dumped head first into the turf, but thankfully continued on.
Last week a Six Nations Disciplinary Committee deemed that the tackle was in the mid-range of severity, arriving at a sanction of eight weeks. They added two as a deterrent, but allowed for three weeks mitagation, arriving in the end at a seven-week suspension.
It is one of the worst looking tip-tackles, or spears, we've seen in recent times, but Moriarty showed remorse after the game, perhaps helping when it came to the disciplinary hearing.
"Really disappointed after tonight. Didn't intend to hurt their player, apologised after the game. Congratulations to Ireland on their wim" he tweeted after the game.
Posted at 3:06 pm | 38 comments
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Last week we shared a clip of a huge Mike Tindall clearout in the Premiership. About a month back something similar happened in France, so here is a look at that, as well as another questionable incident from the same game.
The match in question was Stade Francais vs London Welsh in Round 6 of the Amlin Challenge Cup, a game that was won 39-17 by the hosts after six tries were scored. Two yellow cards to London Welsh helped matters, and there could well have been a third.
The first was for a breakdown infringement as Stade Francais attacked the tryline, but the second came about from what could be described as a high, late and flying tackle by big Alfie To’oala.
Paul Warwick was the unfortunate flyhalf on the receiving end of it, and To’oala was shown yellow.
Later in the game the level of crazy stepped up a bit as To'oala's replacement, Ed Williamson, flew over the top of a ruck to clear out an opposition player. He was lucky to only be penalised.
While you may judge the man based on this quick bit of foul play, he actually spoke recently about a softer side, and his passion for art and painting. "It's good for me because I'm quite an aggressive player and it calms me down a little bit. It's a good release," he said.
"I like big scenes, big landscapes, expressive colours. If you spoke to my mum she'd tell you that I've always been fascinated with sunsets - the way the light can hit clouds and create such magnificent colours.
"On the side, I really enjoy doing detailed pencil sketches," the burly loose forward added.
To view some of Ed's artwork, check out the Ed Williamson Artwork Facebook page
Posted at 12:13 pm | 13 comments
Friday, February 15, 2013
After a long wait, Super Rugby is back this weekend as fifteen teams set out to do what the Chiefs managed to last season and blast away the competition. Here’s a look at the best tries scored in top flight southern hemisphere domestic rugby in 2012.
While right now it's all about the Northern Hemisphere season as the Top 14, RaboDirect PRO12, Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup keep us busy, the Southern Hemisphere domestic season is just about to go into overdrive with one of the most exciting tournaments on the planet.
Super Rugby started today and while there are only two matches in Round 1, next weekend we’ll see a full compliment as the best from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia battle it out.
The Currie Cup and ITM Cup take place later in the year, so there’s plenty to look forward to. For now we’re looking back the top ten tries scored in the aforementioned competitions last year.
Most of them were featured here at some stage or another, so we’ve linked to them in the related posts below so you can watch longer versions of the clips, which is particularly advisable for two of the tries included here, as that match was a true classic.
The top ten tries here are as chosen by Sky Sports, so credit goes to them for the great work in compiling the clip. Do you agree with the order though, or do you have any other candidates?
Posted at 5:26 pm | 15 comments
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Prop Cian Healy has been suspended for three weeks for a leg stamp on Dan Cole during Ireland's 12-6 defeat by England in the Six Nations at the weekend. He will miss Ireland's upcoming matches against Scotland and France.
In what was a typically fierce battle up front, Healy's aggression appeared to be channeled incorrectly as he stamped down on opposition prop Dan Cole's leg. Cole was penalised, but Healy wasn't spotted by the officials, despite it causing a bit of a melee.
He was also involved in a swinging arm incident not too long afterwards, on England captain Chris Robshaw, but that wasn't picked up by referee Jerome Garces either.
The 25-year-old Leinster man was cited after the match, and today appeared before an independant Six Nations disiplinary committee in London. More details to follow.
The below video shows the incidents, as well as a discussion with former England centre Jeremy Guscott, former Ireland hooker Keith Wood, and former Welsh wizard Jonathan Davies.
What do you think of the three week suspension?
Posted at 5:10 pm | 76 comments
Gloucester moved ahead of Northampton Saints on the Aviva Premiership table with a 27-11 win at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday afternoon. The win came at a cost though as the visitors lost Kiwi Jimmy Cowan to injury in the second half.
Since the game there have been quite a few requests via our Twitter and email for RD to show a clip of what happened. The requests come not so much because of the Cowan injury, but more so the manner in which Mike Tindall took care of Tom May.
As you can see below, Tindall wasn't going to leave his man alone on the floor and despite May stealing the ball, the former England captain cleared him out in no uncertain terms.
"Didn't hurt, it was definitely a big hit though ha," said May on Twitter after the game.
Cowan wasn't as spirited though and picked up a knee injury as he slipped changing direction. He hobbled off and it has since been confirmed that he will likely be out for the rest of the season.
According to a BBC report today, Cowan damaged ligaments in his knee resulting in him being out of the game for at least six months.
"He's very positive and just wants to play. He'll do whatever he can to get back sooner than that," said Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies.
Posted at 12:26 pm | 10 comments
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Ospreys prop Ryan Bevington scored one of the tries of the weekend as the Welsh region claimed a 16-12 away win over league leaders Ulster at Ravenhill on Friday night. It was Ulster's first home defeat of the RaboDirect PRO12 season.
Ospreys lost a player to the sinbin shortly before the superb breakaway, from centre Jonathan Spratt and scrumhalf Kahn Fotuali'i, set Bevington up for a big sprint from about 40m out.
The young Welshman had a lot to do when getting the ball, especially considering he'd kept up with play from all the way back in the Ospreys half. He somehow had the legs though, and managed to finish off the only try of the game, giving his side a well deserved away win.
"When that ball reached Ryan Bevington I was never in any doubt that he was going to score, I knew that no-one would catch him," said Ospreys forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys, who has stated that he believes Bevington is in the Gethin Jenkins mould of freakish front rowers.
"As well as being a good scrummager and good in the park, we know at the Ospreys that he's got a turn of pace as well. The only frustrating thing about him is that sometimes when he is only average, we know that he has that kind of performance in him.
"I don't judge Ryan by normal standards, given the athlete that he is. He can do things that not a lot of other loose-head props can do. Gethin Jenkins could do magnificent stuff, but this kid can do it all. He can scrummage, he can tackle, he can run — he's outstanding."
Enjoy prop tries? Check out the Related Posts below the video for some classics
Posted at 3:47 pm | 11 comments