Matt Giteau chats Wallaby return

Awkward interview with 'Honey Bear'

Maori All Blacks edge Fiji in Suva

Recap from Highlanders' historic win

Ruck Clean Out to dominate breakdowns

Referee admits Boks scored try in '95

Scotland unveil striking new RWC kit

Alesana Tuilagi crunches big winger!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Inside the Pride - Rugby in Africa 2015 - Part 3

Bhubesi Pride Foundation has been running projects in Africa for the last four years. The latest video showcases these very goals. Featuring Malawi, Botswana and Zambia, a new team member with a great back story has had his life changed through the charity.

Back in 2011, Wordsworth Rashid emailed Bhubesi Pride Foundation from Malawi, hoping the charity would bring rugby to one of the Lilongwe-based schools where he supports children with special educational needs. Today, four years on, Wordsworth is actively using rugby as a tool for life-skills education in four local schools the charity now links with.

To help Wordsworth, 43, develop his project management skills, the charity arranged for him to join the Pride in May, travelling into Zambia and Botswana on a life-changing trip. Until this year, he'd never left Malawi.

In this latest update you can see his story and the charity's ongoing work contributing to rugby and education development in these particular regions. Also in this feature, the team visits three schools in Zambia; and G4S Botswana launch a valuable legacy project in Gaborone, where the business significantly improves the facilities and security of a local school.

"It's exciting to already be signing up team members for our 2016 project, knowing that they have a solid foundation to build on and the opportunity to experience rugby in Africa," says Operations Director Oliver Munns, referring to the ongoing application process.

Apply today to Coach Rugby in Africa in 2016

Posted by Rugbydump at 8:02 am | View Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Michael Hooper cited for off the ball punch against Argentina

Wallaby Michael Hooper has been cited for striking following an off the ball incident during Australia's 34-9 Rugby Championship second round victory over Argentina in Mendoza. Hooper will appear before a SANZAR disciplinary hearing on Wednesday this week.

Hooper played provider as lock Dean Mumm went in for a try in the second half, but while in support he was held back by flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez.

As you can see in the footage, Hooper lashed out, making contact with Sanchez, who dropped and needed to be treated for a few minutes after the try.

It wasn't spotted by referee Jaco Peyper or the other officials, so the try stood and Hooper played on. Post match, following initial consideration by the SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Chris Morris, Hooper was cited and will appear at a SANZAR Judicial Hearing, charged with commiting foul play.

Hooper is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking: A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).

The Judicial Officer will be Nigel Hampton QC which will be held by video conference on Wednesday 29 July at 5:00pm AEST, 7:00pm NZST, 4:00am ART and 9:00am SAST.

While some may feel that street justice is permitted when players get held back illegally, taking the law into your own hands is not allowed. Hooper is likely to receive a significant ban.

UPDATE: The hearing has been adjourned until Thursday 30 July 2015

Michael Hooper strikes Nicolas Sanchez off the ball

Michael Hooper strike on Nicolas Sanchez

Posted by Great Rugby Videos on Monday, July 27, 2015

Note: If the above video doesn't work for you, you can see another version here, with comments from Phil Waugh

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Posted by Rugbydump at 8:48 am | View Comments (46)

Wallabies set up crunch clash with All Blacks following win in Mendoza

The Wallabies defeated Argentina 34-9 in Mendoza on Saturday evening, ensuring a blockbuster Rugby Championship showdown against New Zealand in Sydney on Saturday 8 August, following the All Blacks' victory over South Africa.

In a physical and sometimes heated encounter, the Wallabies remained patient and surged home with three second-half tries after leading 8-6 at half time.

Australia will return home equal with New Zealand on nine points on top of The Rugby Championship ladder, with both the Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship trophies to go on the line as the trans-Tasman rivals prepare for back-to-back clashes.

"We're very happy with the win. It's always hard to come over here and win. Obviously we slipped up last year over, here so tonight was very good and I’m very proud of the performance," said Wallabies captain Stephen Moore.

"It's going to be a massive game in Sydney at our home ground. We're really looking forward to that, we know that they are a quality side but we have two weeks to prepare.

The Wallabies could be without Michael Hooper following his off the ball indiscretion as Dean Mumm went over for a try. View the details of his citing for striking here.

Posted by Rugbydump at 8:19 am | View Comments (1)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

All Blacks score late to deny Springboks in another Ellis Park classic

Richie McCaw scored the winning try in his last ever international on South African soil, as New Zealand came from behind to claim a 27-20 victory in another classic, dramatic Test between the two great rivals at Ellis Park. 

As with a week ago against Australia, the Springboks led for most of the match and looked on track for victory, but couldn't close out the game, thus ruining their chances of a Rugby Championship title. 

They had the All Blacks on the ropes for a large portion of the match though, with Kiwi coach Steve Hansen commenting that he felt his side was lucky to have things square at 10-10 at the break. "We were very lucky to not be down 30 points, that's how well the Boks played," he said.

Debutant flyhalf Lima Sopoaga kicked three conversions and two penalties as Ben Smith and Dane Coles scored excellent tries for the visitors, before captain McCaw stepped up late in the game with a brilliant lineout variation. When asked about if they'd practiced it a lot during the week, McCaw confirmed it.

"We did. We actually had a debate whether it would be No 9 or myself. So I had to pull rank and say I will take that slot, so I was pretty happy it worked," McCaw said.

The home side have plenty to be positive about, with youngsters Jesse Kriel and Damian Da Allende both having top quality games, while Kriel scored his second try in two Tests, and acted as provider for Willie Le Roux's well taken try.

Injuries and replacements again proved problematic though, disrupting the flow of their game, while for New Zealand their players came on and slotted into the tempo of the match instantly, giving them the edge in the final ten, even after losing Sam Whitelock to the sinbin. 

With senior players set to return and talented youngsters having been blooded, this campaign is not all doom and gloom for the Springboks, who were again led valiantly by inspirational Schalk Burger, who played at number eight in the absence of Duane Vermeulen.

"We are doing something right because we are putting teams under pressure," said the stand in South African captain. "We created a lot of opportunities, but we couldn't put them away."

The highlights are down currently but you can view the full match on page two of this post, and reaction from the All Blacks below. Highlights will replace this soon if possible

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Posted by Rugbydump at 9:25 am | View Comments (43)

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Two Greatest Teams in the History of Rugby Face Off on Saturday

Tomorrow the Springboks host the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, in what has been described by Sky Sports UK as a clash between the greatest two teams in the history of the sport. It's top ranked vs second ranked in week two of the condensed Rugby Championship.

Above is the promo video for tomorrow's match, a game that sees the two rivals face one another for the 90th time in Test rugby history. The Springboks won their last encounter in Johannesburg, when Pat Lambie slotted a last minute, 50m penalty kick winner.

Kickoff: 17:05 local time, 16:05 GMT

South Africa | Preview
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar (vice-captain), 8 Schalk Burger (captain), 7 Francois Louw, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lionel Mapoe

New Zealand | Preview
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock   
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor 17 Wyatt Crockett,  18 Ben Franks,  19 Samuel Whitelock,  20 Victor Vito, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Malakai Fekitoa

Posted by Rugbydump at 2:39 pm | View Comments (3)

Friday Funnies - Sona Taumalolo fend looks like a right hook

Tongan prop Sona Taumalolo certainly stretched the boundaries of the law against Fiji last weekend. The former Chiefs prop, who now has grown out his hair and looks almost unrecognisable, attempted to fend a Fijian player, but appeared to do so with his fist.

The commentry team were shocked, as were onlookers in Suva, just minutes after Fiji had scored the sensational try that we saw here on RD yesterday. Taumalolo appeared frustrated, swinging out at the opposition from an almost standing start.

While hand-offs are legal and in fact a huge part of the game, this could easily have been called up for foul play, especially if he had connected. Law 10.4 (Dangerous Play and Misconduct) (a) states: Punching or striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).

Some might say that if you slow it down, it was actually an open hand, in which case Law 10.4 (m) could also be applicable: Acts contrary to good sportsmanship. A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure.

As it was, nobody got hurt and referee Chris Pollock missed it, or decided to let it go, so we'll categorise it as funny rather than dirty. Taumalolo was lucky though, so hopefully doesn't try that one again. View more of him in action in the Related Posts.

Posted by Rugbydump at 12:13 pm | View Comments (7)

André Watson looks back on 1999 RWC final in Referee Perspective feature

In the latest Referees Perspective feature from World Rugby, South African André Watson takes a look back at the 1999 Rugby World Cup final between Australia and France at the Millenium Stadium.

After their stunning semi-final victory over the All Blacks, where they fought back from 24-10 down at the break to triumph 43-31, France were full of confidence heading into their first final since the tournament's inception in 1987.

Australia, led by the mercurial John Eales, had just beaten South Africa in the second semi in a match notable for the first of only two drop goals of Stephen Larkham's career.

Watson admits that the responsibility of taking charge of his first and only World Cup final was a daunting prospect. "When the announcement came, I was as shocked and surprised as many of my colleagues. I only heard five days before that I was going to ref it."

"There are many clichés about it [refereeing the final], being nervousness, excitement. I just call it being bloody scared."

Australia went on to dominate the match in Cardiff, winning 35-12. Tries from Owen Finnegan and Ben Tune helped the Wallabies secure their second Rugby World Cup tournament victory, having tasted success in 1991.

Despite the commanding scoreline, Watson is adamant that the French played as hard as they had done against New Zealand, a match that was labelled by critics as 'their final'.

"People said that France played their final the weekend before when they beat the All Blacks. But I think the French gave it everything. They were going at each other hammer and tong."

On a side note, outspoken Watson was actually recently dismissed from his position as head of referees in South Africa, after 24 SARU (South African Rugby Union) officials signed a list of grievances against him, reported to be related to the way he interacted with colleagues.

His appeal against that dismissal was unsuccessful.

Posted by Stephen Brunsdon at 8:41 am | View Comments (7)