Friday, October 18, 2013
Throughout the year we've archived Rugby HQ's highly popular Plays of the Week features, and as the show is about to take a break over in Australia, they've now come up with their Plays of the Year, featuring the very best in tries, tackles, funnies and more.
From an Australian point of view, hosting the British & Irish Lions series was the biggest event of the year, but things didn't go to plan for the home side as the men from up north pulled off the upset.
Since then, the Wallabies have been in disarray. They ended the Rugby Championship on a high with a big win over Argentina, but their performance against the All Blacks in the final Bledisloe Cup Test tomorrow will determine where they are and where they'll want to be come the end of the year.
They did score some great tries this year though, as featured in this video, but the winner of Try of the Year - according to Rugby HQ - went to Beauden Barrett and the All Blacks.
Biggest tackle of the year was quite easy to pick. It was also the most controversial tackle of the year, which could have been a category on it's own as refereeing came under the spotlight following more than a handful of questionable decisions this year.
The Lions got the nod for Moment of the Year, but after a classic Test match in Johannesburg, and with the End of Year tours still to come, the moment of this year could still be up for debate.
All in all, it's just a bit of fun and another chance for us to enjoy some great moments in 2013.
Thanks and credit as always to Fox Sports Australia and Sean Maloney, both of whom have done a great job bringing us these, and the Top 5, clips in 2013. Long may it continue.
Posted at 10:24 am | 12 comments
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Toulon beat Glasgow Warriors 51-28 in an entertaining match at the Stade Felix Mayol, taking a comfortable halftime lead before the visitors launched a comeback. Ten tries were scored, but this one finished by Delon Armitage was the pick of the bunch.
Star studded Toulon blew the Warriors away in the first half with four converted tries, powering away to a 34-0 halftime lead. But Glasgow came back in the second, showing why they are a force in the PRO12, something that key man Jonny Wilkinson said the home side fully expected.
"I wasn't surprised by the way Glasgow played in the second half," he said afterwards. "We had watched a lot of video and it had been hugely impressive. They look to me to be a very fit team with a great deal of understanding as well."
They claimed a four-try bonus point in the second half, showing great character to limit the damage and even looked possibly on track for a come from behind victory. The experience and might of Toulon told though, and the Heineken Cup champions were comfortable with the win in the end.
"We worked hard, built pressure and were able to get easy tries," said star centre Matt Giteau.
Giteau played a major role in Toulon's first try, as did Wilkinson, who caught a high ball excellently before a string of quality offloads set fullback Armitage up for a sprint to the corner. It was the try of the match but you can also view other highlights on page two of this post.
In other news, former Springbok and Bath scrumhalf Michael Claassens broke a bone in his hand and will be out for the next six weeks, meaning he will miss the upcoming Heineken Cup second round match against Cardiff, as well as a Top 14 clash with heavyweight's Toulouse.
View Toulon vs Glasgow Warriors highlights
Posted at 1:06 pm | 24 comments
Rene Ranger played his final game for Northland at the weekend, captaining the side to a 20-19 victory over Bay of Plenty in Whangarei. Ranger leaves to join Montpellier in France later this month. His team followed up the win by giving him this memorable post match send off Haka.
Ahead of the game Ranger said: "Sad that I'm leaving but excited that I'm leaving too."
Ranger turned down the opportunity to play for the All Blacks due to his overseas contract, but was proud to represent the Taniwha in the ITM Cup.
"I'm pretty happy, the boys dug deep at the end there and we got the win," said Ranger afterwards.
"I'm a proud Northlander, to turn that [black] jersey down was one of the toughest calls I've made, but I love playing for this province. I'd like to come back and finish my career off for Northland.
"So it's not quite goodbye, more like 'see ya later'," he added.
NOTE: the audio on the video is very loud. Thanks to the Toll Stadium facebook page for the clip.
Posted at 9:51 am | 10 comments
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Sean O'Brien has forged a reputation for being one of the strongest ball carriers in world rugby, and showed why against the Ospreys as he got rid of Dan Biggar in no uncertain terms. Unfortunately he did lose the ball, but it was great to watch. From far.
O'Brien also crossed for Leinster's only try of the match in their 19-9 victory at Liberty Stadium, and perhaps most importantly made a big difference at the breakdown, where he stole ball and counter-rucked to outplay fellow Lions tourist Justin Tipuric.
The Leinster flanker earned Man of the Match for his overall performance, and fans will be heartened by this improved aspect of his game. While the big ball carries and fends are impressive, the way he got to the breakdown ahead of Tipuric proved to be significant.
"We had a lot of possession but when you have that much possession and you turn it over as much as we did you don't deserve to win a game," said Ospreys captain Alun Wyn Jones.
Incidentally the top ball carriers in the match were Ospreys' Joe Bearman, followed closely by Jamie Heaslip, and to give poor Biggar some credit, he did make the most amount of tackles in the match with 17. Tipuric made 16, while the top Leinster tackler was Jamie Heaslip with 12.
Leinster and Castres sit at the top of Pool One. The two sides meet at the RDS next, in Round 2.
View highlights of Ospreys vs Leinster on page two of this post
Posted at 7:29 pm | 21 comments
This wild brawl took place in Georgia's top league recently when Ilia Uni Jikebi and Lelo met in Tbilissi. It started with a little push and shove, but soon every player from both sides was involved, with it spilling over to the sidelines, where it's possible others joined in.
Ugly scenes and hopefully not something we see again any time soon. Amongst all the chaos, there was a big tackle though, so that's kind of rugby, right? Who knows where the ball was though.
The quality of the video isn't amazing so if anyone knows of a better quality version, or has more info on the outcome or repercussions, get in touch and we'll get it posted.
Posted at 12:54 pm | 38 comments
Monday, October 14, 2013
New Zealand beat rivals and hosts Australia 40-19 to win the Gold Coast Sevens and take an early lead in the HSBC Sevens World Series at the weekend. Catch up on the highlights from the knockout stages, as well as everything from day one.
Ambrose Curtis scored twice as New Zealand came from behind to win the tournament and get their defence of the series title off to a great start.
The hosts started well with a 12-0 lead but their trans-tasman rivals scored twice through Curtis, then David Raikuna, Waisake Naholo and Joe Webber.
England, under a new coach this season, won the third place playoff by thrashing South Africa, following their 14-5 defeat to the overall winners in the semi-final.
Australia reached the final after a narrow 24-19 win against South Africa, thanks to a late Jesse Parahi try deep into sudden-death extra time.
Ben Ryan's Fiji claimed the Plate, while France beat Canada to capture the Bowl and the USA beat Portugal to claim the Shield. After round one New Zealand have 22 Series points and a three-point lead over Australia (19) with England (17), South Africa (15) and Fiji (13) not far behind.
View the knockout stage highlights below, and highlights from Day One on the next page
Posted at 11:18 am | 1 comments
Toulouse got their Heineken Cup campaign off to a solid start with a convincing 38-5 bonus point victory over Zebre at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Friday night. They scored six tries but the most memorable finish of the night went to Zebre's Dion Berryman.
The French giants put the game out of reach in the first half despite Berryman's stunning superman effort early in the second. Three tries in nine minutes got them underway as Zebre looked like they would continue to struggle in Europe, continuing with their poor form from the Pro12.
Yoann Huget finished a stunning effort for the home side after Maxime Medard and Clement Poitrenaud combined to put him away. It was a contender for try of the match, and perhaps the round, but Berryman then produced a piece of magic to get Zebre's only try of the night.
From turnover ball he stepped Medard then shot for the corner and somehow managed to float through the air long enough to get the ball down, while the rest of his body was up and out of play.
We've seen this type of thing in the NRL in Australia before, but this was without a doubt one of the tries of a thoroughly enjoyable opening Heineken Cup weekend.
Yannick Nyanga scored for Toulouse later in the game, but Zebre did well to restrict the hosts from really running away with things. You can view all the match highlights on page two of this post, which includes that great Huget try that is mentioned above.
Posted at 6:14 am | 18 comments