Thursday, March 28, 2013
Saracens winger Chris Ashton was yellow carded for a dangerous high tackle he made on Harlequins forward Maurie Fa'asavalu in the Aviva Premiership last weekend. A suspension looked likely, but he has been cleared and faces no further punishment.
On his Premiership return following a disappointing Six Nations with England, Ashton stuck out a swinging arm as Quins upped the tempo after a Mike Brown break.
His hand seemed to connect with big Fa'asavalu and floored him. Ashton's remorse was clear to see but referee Greg Garner refereed to the TMO, who then recommended a sin-binning.
It was Ashton's fifth yellow card of the season and after a careful video review from RFU citing officer Bruce Reece-Russel, it was concluded that the appropriate action was taken by the officials.
"He mistimed the challenge, there was no intent to cause any harm it was just one of those things," said Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall. "He's been brilliant all week for a guy who's taken some criticism over the last few weeks so it is disappointing."
Ashton turns 26 tomorrow so will no doubt be pleased to be free to play against Wasps on Saturday.
You can view a highlights wrap of the Saracens vs Harlequins game here
Posted at 8:10 pm | 64 comments
Young flyhalf Ian Madigan starred at the RDS as Leinster beat Glasgow Warriors 22-17 in last weekend's RaboDirect PRO12 game. In the second half he pulled off a risky chip kick from behind his own try line, and he also scored a nicely taken try.
Leinster fans have been crowing at the performance of 23-year-old Madigan, seen as the natural successor to star Jonny Sexton, who is leaving for Racing Metro at the end of the season.
Madigan picked up the Man of the Match for his showing against the Warriors, which included scoring all of Leinster's points and threatening in open play on regular occasion.
Glasgow scored two first half tries but Madigan's late converted try, and his five from five penalty kicks, proved the difference as Leinster cemented their place at the top of the PRO12 table.
"Ian is growing as a player all the time. He has an ability to change up and exploit gaps, particularly a soft shoulder on a forward if he sees an opportunity, coach Joe Schmidt told The Score.
"I know Ian well, he knows me well. I would be inclined to take the pressure off him and say, play what you see in front of you, play your natural game. Otherwise, you get players trying to force things and that's not a good mental state to approach a game," he added.
You can view a highlights wrap of the match here
Below is his Quade Cooper-esque chip from behind his tryline, and the try he scored later on
Posted at 6:07 pm | 14 comments
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Fiji came back from 19-0 down to win the Hong Kong Sevens Final 26-19 last weekend, but in fairly controversial circumstances after star Ilai Tinai received a yellow card for what could have been a red. He has since been suspended.
An awkward looking first half tackle on Lee Williams was deemed to have been worthy of only a yellow card, despite the dangerous nature of the landing.
Williams wasn't injured and Tinai was sin-binned only, which in Sevens equates to just two minutes off the field. A red card sending off could have possibly given Wales the advantage needed to hang on and claim their first ever Hong Kong Sevens title.
It's scant consolation for the runners up now, but Fiji will be without Tinai for the upcoming Tokyo Sevens leg as he was banned for five weeks by an IRB disciplinary committee.
Fiji have called up Japan based Josefa Lilidamu as a replacement.
It's not often that we see big suspensions in Sevens, but in this case it can be said that the tackle, and lack of on-field punishment, might have affected the outcome of the result. Your thoughts?
Posted at 10:13 pm | 29 comments
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
This is a quick look at a pretty amazing try scored by replacement prop Dean Irvine in last year's Oxford vs Cambridge Under 21 match at Twickenham. Oxford won 31-17.
Two week's ago we posted Rugby HQ's Top Five Intercepts Of All Time and some of you left comments linking to other great tries. One such comment mentioned an incredible intercept try scored last year by a prop of all people, so after a bit of a discussion and some digging, here it is.
The try was scored by Oxford's Dean Irvine, who admittedly looks as though he's yet to fill out, but showed serious toe after intercepting, snuffing out Cambridge's three-man overlap.
Irvine ran the full length of the pitch and maintained his impressive speed before diving in under the sticks for what was not only a fantastic intercept, but a brilliant sprint and finish by a front rower.
Thanks to Will who first brought this classic moment up in the comments
Posted at 5:33 pm | 18 comments
Former All Blacks hardman Jerry Collins has been held by Japanese police since March 17th following his arrest for carrying knives into a department store in Hamamatsu, Japan. It has since emerged that he felt he was under threat from a Brazilian gang.
In a bizarre and unfortunate turn of events, Collins walked into an upmarket department store, laid two 17cm knives down on the counter, and waited for police to arrest him. Over twenty arrived after the first police officer reportedly saw how big Collins was, and called for backup.
"They just walked him out of the shop normally, but there were 30 police surrounding him so it created a big scene," said the store manager, who added that Collins went peacefully.
The 32 year-old All Black star, who has been playing rugby for Yamaha Jubilo club, has been detained at the local police station. A few days back he was visited by New Zealand TV show Campbell Live, who were able to get inside and have a brief chat with him.
He told the show that he feared for his life after he was being chased by a gang that reportedly disliked foreign rugby players being in their city, dating back to before Collins even arrived. He also said that he was extremely relieved to have been arrested.
While there has been speculation that his behaviour resembled that of someone dabbling in drug usage, he denied that claim and said that he has been tested and came out clean.
In Japan it is illegal to carry knives bigger than 15cm without police permission, so he could face up to two years in prison and a fine, or if classified as a sword/s, he could face up to three years.
His lawyer aims to dispute all potential charges and arrived in Japan with letters and character references from the New Zealand Rugby Union, family, friends, churches, and community leaders.
"Just to identify for the authorities that this man, who is of course so well known as an All Black, also has so many other qualities, has provided so much to the community, to young people," lawyer Tim Castle, who aims to have Collins freed from custody this week, said "It's important that the authorities who may not know these things receive that kind of information."
In Japan police can hold suspects for up to 23 days without charge. Collins' contract with his club is due to expire on March 31, and they have said that they know nothing of his fears or mental state.
Below is the complete video report from Cambell Live on 3 News New Zealand
UPDATE: Collins has been released and fined Y150,000 (NZ$1900)
"The authorities in Japan have accepted that this was a minor indiscretion, and that there were extenuating circumstances for the possession, and that there was neither sinister nor threatening purpose," said his lawyer, Tim Castle, who flew to Japan to oversee his release.
Credit: 3 News NZ
Posted at 2:06 pm | 26 comments
Monday, March 25, 2013
Fiji came from 19-0 down to win a dramatic Hong Kong Sevens Cup Final 26-19, beating Wales who were in their first ever Hong Kong final. Flyer Osea Kolinisau changed the game with a sensational hat-trick after coming on as a second half substitute.
An action packed few days in Hong Kong culminated in a fitting final as Wales took it to the Fijians, but couldn't hold on for the win three great tries blitzed them in the second period.
Wales reached the final with knockout stage victories over Canada and Kenya.
"We just said that we need not to lose hope and we just need to keep the faith and keep on working because ten minutes is a lot of time in sevens," said Fiji star Kolinisau.
"It's really a good feeling to go back to back and especially to be the first team in this season to win two cup titles. It's really important because you see there is four different winners from the first four legs so we hope to continue this in Japan," he added.
In the other finals, Samoa beat Canada in the Plate, England beat Hong Kong in the Bowl, and France beat Argentina for the Shield. New Zealand came third and extend their overall series lead to 25 points, with Fiji and Samoa trailing, followed by South Africa and Kenya.
After all the festivities of Hong Kong, the World Series moves to Tokyo next, March 30-31.
Hong Kong Sevens Day One Highlights | Day One Pre-Qualifier Highlights
Hong Kong Sevens Day Two Highlights | Day Two Pre-Qualifier Highlights
Day Three Pre-Qualifier Highlights | Seven of the Best Tries
Below are the final day's highlights, including the cup finals
Posted at 10:08 am | 9 comments
Friday, March 22, 2013
The Top Five features we've been posting lately have proven to be quite popular so with the love and blessing of the guys at Fox Sports, here is another, featuring the biggest fends, or Don't Argues, we've seen in recent times.
There have been a few big bumps in Super Rugby of late, which no doubt sparked the idea of compiling some of the more enjoyable hand-offs, fends, or impressive charges of late.
We've also added a whole lot in the Related Posts below, including those featured in the above, so have a browse through and enjoy some great memories and brutal physicality.
Thanks as always to Sean Maloney and the guys at Rugby HQ in Australia
Posted at 4:23 pm | 18 comments