Monday, March 09, 2015
Hawick beat league leaders Heroits 6-3 in the mud of Mansfield Park on Saturday to go through to the Scottish Cup final in a match that had it's fair share of controversy. There was a red card, and the end to the match was something seldom seen on a rugby field.
The second half was scoreless despite Heriots dominating, even when down to 14 men following a red card to flyhalf Stuart Edwards for a dangerous tackle.
With time up and trailing by 3, Heriots launched an assault on the line that lasted all of an unbelievable 10 minutes and 38 seconds, with no less than a whopping 66 phases of play.
Hawick, with former Scotland winger Nikki Walker in their ranks, defended manfully for an incredible period of play that included not only excellent discipline, but some great tackling to boot. The handling and ball retention by Heriots in such conditions was equally impressive.
With the referee in the hotseat for all of ten minutes, it came down to the 66th phase for him to make the biggest call of the match, ruling that Max Learmonth's attempt at a try was held up by Greg Cottrell, so the final whistle was blown on an extraordinary ending to a club rugby match.
"Just sheer blood and guts in that second half," said skipper Rory Hutton, who was spear tackled earlier in the match. "The boys dug deep. There were some massive hits going in with the Heriots boys running at full pelt. I imagine there will be some sore bodies tomorrow."
Hawick will take on Boroughmuir, who won at Glasgow Hawks, in the final at Murrayfield on April 18th.
All phases below, plus view a quick round up from the match, including the red card, on page two
Credits: Audio courtesy Radio Borders. Commentary by Stuart McFarlane and Dale Clancy.
Filmed by Stuart Cameron for BordersRugby.net
Sunday, March 08, 2015
The Highlanders snatched a 20-17 last ditch victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday, as a late penalty gave magic man Marty Banks a shot at goal, which he duly slotted. The visitors were in that position due to a shocker of a call however, which you can see below.
If you watched the game on Friday, and had half an eye on twitter at the same time, you will have noted the gobsmasked, mostly outraged reaction from those watching on. This was a tense New Zealand derby that certainly deserved a better finish than what we saw transpire.
At 17-17 with just two minutes left, All Black centre Malakai Fekitoa drew the opposition before feeding out wide. The defender in question was Chiefs winger James Lowe, who had had another top quality match, until it was brought to an abrupt end by a highly contentious referee decision.
Lowe's tackle, knee high and wrapping with both arms, ended up flipping Fekitoa over the top of him, with an akward looking faceplant the result. Cleary the Highlanders back jumped in the tackle, so Lowe couldn't grasp him and he flew over the top. This was deemed to be dangerous play.
Lowe was perplexed, and the lipreaders amongst us knew exactly what he was saying. While respecting the referee is what makes rugby great, on this occasion he was fully entitled to feel aggrieved, as this will go down as one of the worst calls of the season.
Following that, as you can see in the video, the Highlanders made their way down field before being awarded another penalty, one that is also up for discussion. Marty 'Screech' Banks stepped up and slotted the 41m kick with ease, resulting in the Chiefs' first loss of the season.
"It's disappointing to finish the game like that," said captain Liam Messam post match, opting to avoid any talk about the referee calls. "There were too many errors, basic handling errors and showing them too much pill (ball) and they punished us."
While player safety is key and we all know there are reasons for clamping down on genuine dangerous tackles, this did not fit into that category. It's also a great example of how inaccurate refereeing, perhaps sometimes prompted by directives from above, can cost a team a match.
Take a look below and let us know what you think of the final few minutes
Friday, March 06, 2015
The Wraparound from Fox Sports is back for week 3 with Sean Maloney and the gang featuring all of the wildness and wackiness we love it for. This week has everything from frustrated coaches to lip-syncing to crowd invasions to brilliant commentating.
If you don't want to watch it all you have to at least make sure that you see the brilliant 'Dubsmash' from Sergio Parisse and Martin Castrogiovanni, who was attacked by a dog recently.
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, but a few things you can guarantee are death, taxes and chuckling at this great video from the boys over at Rugby HQ.
Thursday, March 05, 2015
With all the shocks and big clashes of last weekends Six Nations matches it is easy to forget the Aviva Premiership, however this week's tries of the week showed up some real doozies. A perfect mixture of tries containing pace, power, offloading and most important of all, quality finishing.
This weeks top 5 tries feature the likes of Marlon Yarde, Tom Arscott, David Strettle, Ross Moriaty and Thomas Young. There's also a massive hit in there, so see if you can spot it - it's hard to miss.
BONUS TRY: A fan favourite for many a year has been Alesana Tuilagi, formerly of the Leicester Tigers but now back in the UK with Newcastle Falcons after his stint in Japan. He scored a trademark Tuilagi type of try against Saracens, so take a look on page two for that one. Runaway train!
Your thoughts on the best try of the five (or six) on show here? Let us know in the comments below
There is no doubt that when you're 6ft tall and weigh 18 stone, you are going to make an impression on the midfield. French centre Mathieu Bastareaud has done just that during this year's Championship, so here is a quick look at some of his best moments.
Despite France not doing too well so far this Six Nations, one thing is for certain - if you are going to try and tackle Bastareaud, you might want to bring a friend as well.
The big, 26-year-old Toulon centre has made it known in recent weeks that he isn't happy with France's performances as of late, saying recently:
"I have been through that before and it is not nice, but we have to put ourselves in the fans' shoes. We arrive every time with plenty of promise but then we are not winning matches."
France lost last weeks game to Wales 20-13, leaving them 4th in this year's table so far, with their only victory coming against Scotland, who they beat 15-8 at home.
France themselves know they have a big game facing them in a few weeks time against Italy, a team who will be brimming with confidence following their victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.
Whilst we can't call who will win in Rome, one thing is certain - Bastareaud will be there to punch holes in the midfield! See some of his better carries, tackles and turnovers in this quick compilation.
View more of bruising Bastareaud in action in the Related Posts below the video
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
There was some outstanding tackling taking place in the Six Nations over the weekend. Here is a look at six of the best, as put together by the official RBS 6 Nations youtube channel. Note that the music, while taste is subjective, is pretty horrific, so you might want to mute it.
Look out for great tackling from Italy's Simone Favaro in particular, and from Ireland's Johnny Sexton on George Ford during Sunday's big clash with England in Dublin.
Tuesday, March 03, 2015
The wrecking ball Rene Ranger is all set to return to New Zealand rugby later this year after he was granted an early release from his contract at Montpellier. He has played in France for two seasons, but wants to return home to spend more time with his family.
The explosive Ranger will return to the Blues and Super Rugby in 2016, but will be available for North Harbour in the ITM Cup this year. The dynamic 28-year-old back has scored 25 tries in 65 Super Rugby appearances for the Blues. He has also been capped six times by the All Blacks, an indication of the kind of talent they've had in the backs in recent years.
For Montpellier he's scored six tries in 15 Top 14 matches, but feels it's not time to return to New Zealand, with family being the primary reason for the early release request.
"Family comes first and that is the big motivator to return. I want to be able to help my Mum more," Ranger said, and added that chosing the Blues as a destination was an easy decision to make.
"I started my Super career with them and they have always been close to me. JK (Blues coach Sir John Kirwan) has always backed me and motivated me to be my best," he said.
He was excited about the prospect of returning to a team he believed was on the improve.
"They are a quality side, but execution is letting them down so far. Hopefully I can play a positive role because backs get excited with the sort of front-foot ball the Blues are getting.
"I will come home a better rugby player. I am mentally stronger and I’ve learned a lot that I can bring back into the Blues environment."
Kirwan said Ranger's return would bolster the team with star-quality on the field and a fan-favourite off it. "Rene made his mark on the game in this country as a remarkable attacking player, always able to break tackles, often when there was nothing on.
"His experience in Europe will have helped further round his skills and add to his experience. With the likes of Charles Piutau, it will give us a potent attacking unit," Kirwan said.
North Harbour gains Ranger
Ranger will return to New Zealand after his commitments in Europe, and will join North Harbour for the ITM Cup. While Ranger said he remained a Northlander at heart, the key to his decision was the desire for his family to be based in one place.
"Last time I travelled from Northland and lived on my own. Our family wants to be together in one place and from that point, I have decided to play for North Harbour.
"They are a young team trying to build and that is something new and challenging for me."
Ranger will return midyear to ready himself for the ITM Cup with North Harbour.
Ranger has been a favourite here on RD for some time now. View some of his finer moments in the Related Posts below this post, featuring some huge hits, charges, naughty moments and a funny celebration. Directly below, view a video featuring some of his highlights while with Montpellier.