Monday, September 22, 2014
Aaron Cruden has said he's deeply embarrassed after a drunken night out has resulted in him missing the All Blacks' team flight to Argentina. He has been suspended for two matches, so will miss Tests against Los Pumas and the Springboks.
A few members of the New Zealand squad were at a bar for a meal and drinks ahead of the flight to Argentina for the next round of the Rugby Championship. As Cruden explained in his statement:
"On Saturday night, whilst out for an informal dinner in Auckland, I made a poor decision regarding the limits of my alcohol intake," the talented number ten said.
"This has resulted in the unacceptable action of me being absent from the All Blacks assembly on Sunday morning and thus missing the team flight to Argentina.
"I am deeply embarrassed by this lack of judgement and have never been more disappointed in myself. I have not only let myself down, but most importantly, I have let the team down. I carry the burden of shame and disappointment and I am deeply apologetic to my team, to my family, and also the New Zealand rugby public.
"I have no excuses. I have been working really hard over the past few years at gaining the respect on the field as well as off the field and am devastated I have dropped my own high personal standards, as well as the standards set by New Zealand rugby.
"I accept full responsibility for my actions and the penalty of missing the next two games, and will work with New Zealand rugby to undertake any other disciplinary action to work through this situation."
As well as missing the matches and the fees that he would have received, he'll no doubt face a disciplinary hearing of some sort in a few week's time. Unlike other past cases of high profile rugby players with drinking problems, this appears to be a once off, and to his credit, he's handled it well.
"It's certainly out of character for him and he's extremely disappointed, as are we," said coach Steve Hansen. "It's not what we stand for and it's not what he stands for. I guess we all make mistakes. Like our children, we love our children but sometimes we don't like their behaviour."
video: Allblackstv | photo: Zookeepers bar
Posted at 7:10 am | 10 comments
Friday, September 19, 2014
With the Rugby World Cup now exactly a year out, and ticket sales taking place this month, the IRB are aiming to encourage fans to make sure that they 'buy official', and don't get caught out by the apparent droves of illegal ticketing sources available. This video, just released, is part of that effort.
By visiting www.rugbyworldcup.com/buyofficial fans can access a dedicated official checker that will enable them to verify whether their Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets, supporter tours or hospitality source are official, a first for Rugby World Cup.
Posted at 3:19 pm | 1 comments
Schoolboy rugby regularly produces hugely entertaining clashes, as well as youngsters that make a name for themselves early on. There have been some great talents that first get noticed when they are just teenagers, so here's a look at just five of them.
Sean Maloney trawled through footage of some of today's biggest stars, coming up with a Top 5 that include players who have gone on to be stars at the highest level.
Johan Goosen of South Africa famously kicked a huge penalty when still at junior level. It wasn't that long ago, and the video went viral at the time as it was quite hard to believe. Since then he's played for the Cheetahs in Super Rugby, and been capped by the Springboks.
Injury problems have hampered his chances of being a regular fixture, so for now he's plying his trade where another big-booted Freestate boy played for a while, with Racing Metro in France.
Manu Tuilagi's story is well known. The Samoan with famous rugby playing brothers, he's the youngest son and also the only to have played for another country, England. He visited the UK, stayed, and went on to become a beast of a player at schoolboy level. Higher honours followed and today he remains one of England's most lethal attacking weapons.
A mesmeric talent who could turn on a sixpence, Kurtley Beale's path is also fairly well known. He was an absolute stand out at St Joseph College, playing 1st XV from a young age after arriving there with his brother on an indigenous scholarship.
He was a Waratah when he was still a teenager, and despite some way too public troubles, Beale has gone on to represent the Wallabies 46 times. And he's still just 25 years old.
The Ella Brothers, Mark, Glenn and Gary, are probably lesser known for younger fans, but at their peak were a dominant force for Matraville High, Randwick Rugby Club and later, the Wallabies. They loved free flowing rugby, and delighted fans with their sublime skills for many years.
All Black Julian Savea, the latest of a long line of massive New Zealand wingers, has cemented his place in the World Champion side not only through prolific try-scoring, but clearly due to the way that he has worked on his game.
As a schoolboy he was untouchable, as he was at U20 level, but at times his hands left him down. He's put a lot of work into that since, and it shows, with him now looking very solid under the high ball. That's usually followed by a big thigh to the face of a would-be tackler.
There are other players that could have been included in this compilation but it's a Top 5 so these are the picks of the guys at Rugby HQ, who say that to make the video the player had to represent their country. Also, Jonah Lomu isn't included because he's been in many other Top 5's already.
Posted at 10:00 am | 11 comments
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Today mark's one year to go until Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off, so to celebrate the upcoming tournament, Land Rover caught up with a number of stars from the sporting and rugby worlds to find out what they plan to achieve in the next twelve months.
Players invovled were Mike Tindall, Andrea Masi, Clive Woodward, Jonny Wilkinson and George Gregan, to name a few. "This time next year" is the line they led with, and it produced some interesting answers, and a few that fans will be pleased to hear.
Wilkinson, renowned for the discipline that he put into his training regimes, declares he "will not be so obsessive", while former England teammate Mike Tindall "might have a straight nose."
Moody, already boasting a head of golden flowing locks, vows "to have grown one of the world's most horrendous mullets!" by the time the tournament kicks off on 18th September 2015.
Also featuring in the video are Olympic Gold medallist Denise Lewis, who wishes to learn a sentence of Mandarin, long distance runner Ashley Varley and George Gregan, himself a RWC winner with Australia in 1999, who simply vows to be in London for the tournament (while quoting Snatch).
As a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2015, Land Rover is building on its long term commitment to the Game both in the UK and around the world which includes Premiership Rugby in England, as well as sponsorship of the Super 14 in France, the ACT Brumbies in Australia and the Stormers and Western Province in South Africa.
Posted at 6:02 pm | 0 comments
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
New Zealand's ITM Cup regularly produces rugby of the highest quality, and Round 5 was no different, with a whole host of excellent tries and dramatic finishes taking place.
Here is a five minute round up of the best scores, with some of the tries again showing why the senior side are so good with ball in hand.
View more excellent tries in our Great Tries archive
Posted at 4:15 pm | 3 comments
We've been sharing some great short videos and pictures on our new Instagram account recently. So if you use it, please give us a follow and share our stuff with your friends on there. It's taken ages to get the official username sorted out, so now that we have it, we're keen to get numbers up.
This is a quick video we just shared from 2010, featuring Aironi back Ludovic Mercier and an outrageous, unnecessary pass. Video below, and you can follow us here.
If the video doesn't work, try to update your browser, or view via our instagram itself
Posted at 1:45 pm | 1 comments
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Last week it was announced that the All Blacks will play Samoa in Samoa for the first time ever. To mark the occasion, here is a quick video of a great moment between the two sides in 1999, featuring the Umaga brothers as they went head to head.
A week ago it was confirmed that the long overdue, historic meeting between New Zealand and Samoa will take place in Apia in July 2015. The match will serve as preparation for both sides for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, but more significantly it will be their first ever meeting on Samoan soil.
It's been a long time coming, with many of the strongest current and past New Zealand stars coming from Samoan heritage. The gesture will go a long way with the extremely talented nation.
"Many players in our team have strong ties to Samoa so this Test will be a great occasion for all of us. It will only enhance the links between our two countries," said All Black coach Steve Hansen.
"There is also a lot of respect for Manu Samoa and playing them at home will make this a great challenge - one we will all look forward to."
The match will take place on 8 July 2015, with broadcast details to be confirmed nearer the time.
In June of 1999 the two sides met at North Harbour Stadium in New Zealand and there was a great moment in the very first minute of the match, as Samoa's Mike Umaga failed to find touch, but instead found his younger brother, Tana.
The hard running winger zeroed in on him, showing that there's no room for sentiment on the rugby field. Mike is seven years his senior, so maybe Tana had a bit to prove. Umaga senior tackled him well, but it was a decent bit of contact, perhaps with neither player getting the upper hand.
Posted at 4:01 pm | 10 comments