Friday, May 08, 2015
The Crusaders gave the likes of Dan Carter and Richie McCaw a fitting farewell in their last ever home game as they thrashed the Reds 58-17 in Christchurch. They scored eight tries in the process, with none better than this sensational solo effort from lock, Sam Whitelock.
Huge winger Nemani Nadolo was one of the stars on the night, as he scored two tries and set up a few others, as the Reds looked disinterested in tackling him. Understandable to an extent.
The 14 000 fans on hand made the most noise when Whitelock scored his wonder try though. His run started at 60m and after beating at least five tacklers - and gassing a few others - he slammed the ball down over the tryline, perhaps amazed at how the not so Reds sea parted.
The last time a lock wearing red ran that far without being tackled was in 2005 as Simon Shaw tore through the Manawatu defence on the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand. He didn't score on that occasion, so Whitelock's try is one for the second row club.
In fact in 2009 Whitelock scored a similar try in the NPC (Air New Zealand Cup at the time), also against Manawatu, as he collected a pass on the 60m line and sprinted down field, dummying the cover defence on that occasion to score. You can see it in our best tries mix here.
Below is an updated look at the try in full, and you can see match highlights on page two.
In Gloucester's defeat of Edinburgh in the European Challenge Cup final, the flying winger for the Cherry & Whites almost scored a sensational try midway through the first half. His effort was halted by a fantastic chase and ankle-tap, the second of which in the game.
With three international tries and 13 caps to his name, Jonny May has become recognised by defences as a world class finisher who can score from almost anywhere on the pitch.
May's incredible try against New Zealand in 2014, in which he started from the halfway line before ghosting around Kiwi centre Conrad Smith, and fullback Israel Dagg before touching down, was so impressive it received a nomination for the IRPA Try of the Year.
On this occasion, it was an Edinburgh player fumbling the ball just outside the Gloucester 22 that gifted May his opportunity to prove just how lethal he can be.
Going from standing to top gear in a matter of seconds, the England flyer came within inches of scoring a memorable try, stopped only by the desperate tap-tackle of South African back rower, Cornell du Preez - and his covering efforts to catch May must be commended.
The Gloucester star was dropped from the England setup during this year's RBS Six Nations, replaced by Exeter youngster, Jack Nowell. May will hope that his performances for the new European Challenge Cup champions will be enough to warrant selection for the World Cup.
Earlier in the match Du Preez, who had just returned from a horrific ankle injury, also pulled off an impressive tap tackle on Gloucester's fullback, Charlie Sharples, who had dangerously broken the Edinburgh defence. That clip can be seen on page two of this post.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
The Wraparound for Week 13 is a cracker, as the guys at Fox Sports have found some clips that can only be seen to be believed. Sean Maloney is at the helm as we delve into the weird, wonderful and occasionally worrying sights from the world of rugby.
Ex-England internationals, Ollie Phillips and Tim Stimpson, top the bill with their incredible efforts as they took part in almost certainly the coldest game of rugby ever.
Along with support, they have completed the Arctic Rugby Challenge, in which they hiked 100 miles to the North Pole in order to play a full 7s match, all to raise money for the Wooden Spoon charity which funds life-changing projects for disadvantaged and disabled children.
Ma'a Nonu's crunching tackle on New Zealand teammate, Dan Carter, is worth another look, as the midfield monster appeared to be out to prove a point against the Crusaders last weekend. At least Nonu managed to tackle Carter slightly more legally this time, unlike in 2011.
After Toulon achieved a record-breaking third consecutive European Champions title this weekend, there's a complimentary nod to Australian winger, Drew Mitchell, and his powerful play against Clermont as he bumped off defenders, put in big hits, and scored a sublime try.
With recent changes to the Australian selection policy, Mitchell is now eligible for the upcoming World Cup, and performances like that certainly won't harm his chances of selection.
After the impressive trick conversion efforts from James Stannard and Horacio Agulla in previous Wraparounds, Western Force players Brad Lacey and Albert Nikoro have tried to go one better, as they team up to create a synchronised double trick conversion - not bad!
Finally, keep an eye out for Seanny losing his flow slightly when he reminisces on previous Cheerleader of the Year winner, Bex Pye of the Hurricanes.
For more from the Fox Sports team head to our Plays of the Week archives.
credit: Fox Sports Australia
Anyone who has watched Super Rugby this season will have sat up and taken notice of the Chiefs' backline, and in particular a young winger named James Lowe.
Lowe, 22, has scored five tries so far this season and there are some calls in New Zealand, albeit small but growing with every match, that he has an outside chance of being included in the Kiwi World Cup squad.
Not bad for someone who is in their second season of Super Rugby, but more importantly, was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at just 14 years old. Like most arthritis's, juvenile rheumatoid swells the joint area and limits the afflicted's range of motion.
Lowe takes prescribed drugs and a weekly injection to keep his arthritis at bay and he has been an official ambassador for Arthritis New Zealand for four years. In November he received its Young Achiever Award.
The winger toured Japan with New Zealand Maori in November, and his battle with illness can be compared to Wallaby hooker Nathan Charles, who is thought to be the only professional sportsman in the world with cystic fibrosis.
Learn more about Lowe's fight with arthritis in the video. If you'd like to see more interesting profiles on rugby stars from around the world, see our Player Features section
credit: skysport nz
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Hard hitting London Welsh number eight Chris Hala'ufia today faces a discplinary hearing for the straight red card he was shown when his side took on Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership recently. It was the same match in which he tackled a streaker.
*UPDATE: Hala'ufia has been suspended for 5 weeks after pleading guilty
Tongan born Hala'ufia has a bit of history with big tackles, and his disciplinary record will no doubt work against him when it comes to sanctioning in front of the RFU hearing.
Despite the big hit appearing to have caused most of the damage, he has actually been charged with striking an opponent, contrary to Law 10.4 (a).
The massive tackle knocked Tigers number eight Laurence Pearce to the floor, legally or not. Hala'ufia then took it upon himself to shove Pearce's head into the turf, possibly displeased with his view that he stayed down for too long. Or, it was just a big 'f*** you'.
The referee checked the incident to look at the tackle, which in itself ran the risk of being penalised, but was alerted to the shove to the head, so was given little choice but to red card Hala'ufia. It's the type of thing that you really just don't want to see on a rugby field.
Earlier in the match a streaker took to the field, so Hala'ufia delivered a huge hit on him too.
*UPDATE: Chris Hala'ufia was today suspended for five weeks after pleading guilty to striking an opponent, contrary to Law 10.4 (a). Antony Davies, sitting as a Sole Judicial Officer at the London Bloomsbury Holiday Inn, imposed the sanction which will encompass the remaining two rounds of the Aviva Premiership and the start of the 2015-16 season.
You can view official highlights from the match on page two of this post, and more of Hala'ufia's big tackles in the Related Posts, listed below the video.
Tuesday, May 05, 2015
With another exciting weekend of Super Rugby behind us, the Fox Sports team have put together a great Shortball highlights wrap. Relax and enjoy as Sean Maloney introduces all the greatest tries, biggest tackles and most embarrassing bloopers from Round 12.
Before leaving the pitch with a twisted knee, Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett proved again why defences shouldn't give him an inch, with another impressive individual score, this time against the Crusaders - as he helped his side to a 29-23 victory in a thrilling encounter.
Get another glimpse of JJ Engelbrecht's side-stepping score, as the Bulls ended the Lions' winning streak, with a tense 35-33 win in Pretoria. The Bulls have moved up to second in the Super XV table, leapfrogging the Brumbies who went down 13-10 at home to the Waratahs.
Clearly unsatisfied with their Try of the Week accolades from Round 8, Round 10 and Round 11, the Hurricanes have added the title for Round 12 to their expanding collection. It's another offloading masterclass from the Wellington wizards, this time finished by Blade Thomson.
The Highlanders' faithful get their own feature in this week's video, as they had a cross-dressing themed crowd for their match against the Sharks, in which the home side's prop, Brendon Edmonds, completed a sensational length of the field try in their emphatic 48-15 win.
With numerous surprise results from the past few weeks, this coming weekend of Super Rugby action promises to be as unpredictable and enthralling as ever.
For more Shortball highlights head to our Plays of the Week archives.
credit: Fox Sports Australia
The Highlanders ran in seven tries to add further misery to the Sharks' poor Super Rugby season so far. The home side won 48-15 in Dunedin, and scored some sensational tries in the process. This one, finished off by prop Brendon Edmonds, was one of the best.
The Highlanders scored three tries in the first half, going into the break with a comfortable 24-10 lead as the visitors struggled to get into the match. They scored another four tries after the break, as things went from bad to worse for the Durban based side.
As the Sharks attacked with fifteen minutes left, they came within meters of crossing but threw a loose ball. Great passing and big tackling featured prominently as the Highlanders counter attacked to set up one of the most entertaining passages of play in the match.
They kept it alive through multiple phases with some quality offload play, before Patrick Osborne ran a great angle, knowing he had impressive flanker Dan Pryor there in support. Pryor was tackled but had replacement prop Edmonds in the support line, and a sensational team try was scored.
Edmonds' celebration, for those wondering, is apparently something to do with wild boar hunting, which is apt seeing as close to the line with a try in sight, props are probably as tough to stop. He got the finishing touches, but it was a beautifully constructed team try.