Monday, April 14, 2014
Saturday's dramatic West Country derby between Gloucester and Bath is set to be investigated after ugly scenes followed a late penalty try, awarded by referee Tim Wigglesworth, who showed two red cards and five yellows as Bath won the game 18-17.
Bath won at Kingsholm in the Premiership for the first time in eight years, but it came late in the contest as Gloucester, who ended the match with just 11 players, pulled down a driving maul and gave the referee little choice but to award the penalty try below the posts.
What followed was threatening to happen all match, as Tavis Knoyle boiled over and lashed out at Leroy Houston, striking him in the face. Houston retaliated, as did Nick Abendanon and a few others, but order was restored swiftly and Wigglesworth red carded Knoyle for being the instigator.
"What happened at the end with Tavis Knoyle, there is no place for that in the game. He just assaulted one of our players and we had to defend ourselves," said Bath head coach Mike Ford.
Earlier Gloucester replacement Sila Puafisi was also red carded, that time for an awful looking high tackle on Abendanon. Those were the two red cards, but there were also five yellow cards in total, ranging from professional fouls to high tackles.
"The one person Wigglesworth hasn't yellow carded today is himself.. that's the mistake he's made," said commentator Austin Healey, reacting to some of the decisions that were viewed as harsh.
It was a scrappy affair and the rugby wasn't pretty, with things only really hotting up in the last ten minutes. Bath's penalty try came after a series of attempts at the line, one of which was halted courageously by Jonny May when he threw his body between the tryline and Anthony Perenise.
In the end George Ford's conversion gave Bath the lead, and while Gloucester had hoped to control the restart, the visitors were awarded a penalty on the half way line for Knoyle's indiscretion.
"Well the rugby's been absolutely rubbish but everything else has been fascinating," added Healey.
Gloucester became only the second team in Premiership history to get two red cards in one match. The first was Bath, although one of those (to Francois Louw) was later rescinded.
Referee Wigglesworth reportedly had a bottle thrown at him as he left the field, just one element of a tumultuous affair that will be investigated by the RFU, while both teams - frustrated by the consistency of the officials - will submit reports.
UPDATE: Tavis Knoyle and Sila Puafisi will appear before a RFU Disciplinary Panel on Wednesday, for striking and committing a dangerous tackle respectively. Nick Abendanon and Paul James have been given post-match Level One citings – the equivalent of a foul play yellow card – for striking Knoyle and a stamp on Shaun Knight respectively. No hearings will be held for these citings.
Below is the penalty try and fight, with official highlights (including all cards) on page two
Posted at 1:47 pm | 20 comments
Sunday, April 13, 2014
The Western Force have done it again, this time upsetting the Waratahs 28-16 in Perth to claim their fifth consecutive win. Winger Nick Cummins, aka the Honey Badger, scored a hat-trick as the in form 'Tahs came off second best in the Aussie derby.
Before the match there were a few calls for Cummins to back up his off-field chat by scoring a few tries, and score tries he did, becoming only the third Force player to ever grab three in a match.
His first was a brilliant intercept and 90m sprint after an incredible passage of play saw the Waratahs work their way up field - with some big hits in the process - before Cummins snatched a long pass and sped off. His handshake with a fan in the front row was a nice touch.
The atmosphere in Perth, where there was a crowd of 14,281, was outstanding, and the players fed off that as both teams smashed into one another, with the Honey Badger picking up the scraps.
His second came from a sniping break by Alby Mathewson, before he collected a loose ball for his third, forcing his way over the line despite a good chase back by Cam Crawford.
The Waratahs scored through Kurtley Beale but the Force had this one wrapped up, jumping to second place on the Australian conference ahead of next weekend's meeting with the Rebels.
"Dane Haylett-Petty played 60 minutes of club football today and arrived an hour before the game, and then played 75 minutes of Super Rugby. Nathan Charles plays himself into a standstill and collapses on the sidelines," said Force coach Michael Foley.
"We had a lot of heroes out there and we have now gone past what we did last year, which is nice, and we have a really big challenge in six days against the Rebels. That's a significant challenge on the back of what was Test match intensity out there."
You can view two post match chats with Hat-trick Honey Badger on pages two and three of this post
Posted at 5:55 pm | 12 comments
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Sebastien Chabal is in his final season of rugby but as we saw in December when he knocked out a player with one punch, the he is still very much in the thick of things. Here is a short clip from last weekend of a dominant tackle he made that led to a try.
Not long ago we saw 36-year-old Chabal as a fairy in a new TV advert that went viral online, but a month prior Chabal hit headlines after he struck Agen number eight Marc Giraud and knocked him out cold. He was suspended for three weeks for the punch.
Chabal and teammate Lionel Nallet recently said that they will probably retire at the end of the season, despite their ProD2 team Lyon topping the table and heading for promotion to the Top 14.
"I haven't taken a final decision yet," Chabal told a French newspaper recently. "There is a job to finish first, but quite honestly the chances are 99% that I will retire at the end of the season."
As you can see in this short clip, Chabal is still giving his all and making his physical presence felt. Here he picks up and drives back Bourg-en-Bresse flanker Josselin Grange, before former Springbok scrumhalf Enrico Januarie snatches the ball and speeds away for a sneaky try.
It would have been great to see exactly how Januarie stole the ball, but unfortunately there were no other camera angles available. If you watch Chabal's technique closely though it was a great tackle as he got down low then drove into the flanker, before dumping him to the ground legally.
This was only the second of the match, but Lyon scored ten tries in total, winning the match 64-3.
Posted at 1:38 pm | 8 comments
Friday, April 11, 2014
On Monday night South Africa's Varsity Cup Final produced one of the most thrilling late comebacks ever seen as UCT Ikeys (University of Cape Town) scored three tries in five minutes to beat Pukke (North-West University ) 39-33 after trailing 33-15.
Potchefstroom played host to a historic Varsity Cup Final as the home fans witnessed an incredible comeback from visiting UCT, who scored a dramatic late try after a missed dropgoal.
Varsity Cup has traditionally been used to experiment with the laws of the game, and as you'll note in the footage, there are a few unique elements on show. For example, there are two referees. The points scoring is also slightly different - 3 points for a conversion, 2 points for a penalty/drop goal.
The latter is there to encourage running rugby, with a converted try being worth 8 rather than 7.
The pink shorts that you may notice are there to indicate the best player from the previous match. The colour is part of Varsity Cup's drive to raise awareness for domestic abuse.
Pukke looked comfortable with five minutes left but Ikeys fought back, leading to a home mistake with time up, and a snatched try by Nathan Nel after some excellent play up the left wing.
"We are a family and we knew that we would have to dig deep to get the victory," said skipper Liam Slatem. The character of this team is indescribable and that was evident last night. It is a very special team and I've said it since we began this road."
Supersport's coverage takes us through the final seven minutes in full, with commentators Owen Nkumane and Warren Brosnihan calling the final moments as the stunned home crowd watched on.
You can also watch a shorter highlights package with all other tries on page two of this post.
On a side note, there was an unfortunate incident post match, where some players from the two sides got in a fight in a fast food restaurant, and a female fan joined in and was hit in the face. You can view the CCTV footage and read more details about the story by jumping to page three.
Posted at 7:00 am | 26 comments
Thursday, April 10, 2014
We're well into April but last week the Fox Sports guys released their Plays of the Month for March, which features top tries, bloopers, biggest hits and a whole more.
So here you go - March Madness from Rugby HQ in Australia, mainly focussed on Super Rugby but also featuring a few must-see clips from the Sevens world series. Enjoy.
Posted at 8:47 am | 2 comments
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Today Jared Payne was suspended for two weeks for the dangerous challenge he was red carded for against Saracens. Payne was sent off by referee Jerome Garces after just four minutes of the Heineken Cup Quarter Final.
Ulster stayed in the match despite being down to 14 men, and came within points of victory but will no doubt feel aggrieved to have been in that situation in the first place.
Referee Garces has come under harsh criticism for his decision to send off Payne, who along with captain Johann Muller, pleaded that he had his eyes on the ball in an attempt to compete for it.
Payne will faced a disciplinary hearing today, charged with the contravention of Law 10.4(g) and Law 10.4(i). The former is for Dangerous charging or knocking down an opponent with the ball, and the latter for Tackling, tapping, pushing or pulling an opponent jumping for the ball in open play.
Opinions have been mixed as to whether it was the correct decision to show red or not. Some say it should be treated like a tip tackle and that he was reckless, while others feel that his eyes were on the ball and Goode simply came off second best in what could be viewed as an unfortunate collision.
Players are however responsible for the well-being of the opposition both when tackling and when contesting a high ball. By not getting off the ground, Payne put Goode (as well as himself) in a dangerous situation, and this is clearly the way Garces viewed it.
You can view highlights from this match, as well as other quarter final highlights, here.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect the outcome of the disciplinary hearing in Dublin, where Payne was earlier suspended for two weeks.
Judicial Officer Simon Thomas (Wales) determined that Payne had committed a reckless act and concluded that the offence was at the low end of the IRB sanctions for offences of this nature and selected three weeks as the appropriate entry point.
As there were no aggravating factors, and taking into account the player's clean disciplinary record and his exemplary conduct at the hearing, the Judicial Officer reduced the sanction by the maximum of one (1) week and imposed a suspension of two (2) weeks.
He commented that the case had been a particularly challenging one and conveyed his thanks to the Ulster Rugby representatives for the quality of their defence during the hearing.
Posted at 8:14 am | 112 comments
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
The Heineken Cup Semi Finals are decided following a thrilling weekend of Quarter Finals. Today we catch up and archive the highlights from all the matches, all in one place for easy viewing. Other random clips from the matches will be posted separately.
Below are the relevant links, but you can also view everything on one page by clicking View All
|Munster vs Toulouse - View highlights|
|Munster scored six tries to beat Toulouse 47-23 at Thomond Park on Saturday. They channelled the energy of the home crowd as they scored through Keith Earls, Dave Kilcoyne, CJ Stander, Casey Laulala, Simon Zebo and Paul O'Connell.
Man of the Match was outstanding flanker CJ Stander.
|Clermont vs Leicester Tigers - View Highlights|
|Clermont maintained their fantastic home record as they beat Leicester Tigers 22-16 after shooting off to a 16-0 lead in the first half. The Tigers fought back with a try to Jordan Crane, but Morgan Parra held them off with the boot.
Clermont are now unbeaten 75 times at Stade Marcel Michelin.
|Ulster vs Saracens - View Highlights|
|Saracens beat 14-man Ulster 17-15 in a tense battle at Ravenhill in Belfast. Jared Payne was sent off in the fourth minute but Ulster refused to give up and actually led at half time, but two Chris Ashton tries proved too much.
Courageous stuff from Ulster but it was an uphill battle all day long.
|Toulon vs Leinster - View Highlights|
|Defending champions Toulon won this titanic battle 29-14 at Stade Felix Mayol as they put an end to Brian O'Driscoll's European season. It was ultimately a comfortable victory, with second half tries to Xavier Chiocci and Drew Mitchell.
Jordi Murphy scored late in the game but Toulon held on.
At this stage in the tournament Ian Keatley of Munster and Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon are joint top points scorers, each with 79 points. Chris Ashton leads the top tries, with a total of 9, followed by Clermont's Napolioni Nalaga on 5.
After the weekend's play, Saracens will host Clermont at Twickenham while Munster will take on champions Toulon in Marseille in the Heineken Cup semi finals on the weekend of 26-27 April.
Posted at 11:03 am | 34 comments