Thursday, November 06, 2014
Guinness have struck a chord with rugby fans by releasing a series of beautifully made, emotive adverts that could possibly be described more accurately as short films. They tell the tale of the attitude and achievements of Shane Williams, Jonny Wilkinson, Bill McLaren and the Munster team of 1978. Here's a look at all four adverts.
Ahead of the Autumn Internationals that kick off this weekend, the videos focus on heros from the four home nations. The campaign first aired on TV in the Uk and Ireland this week, and online the videos have already gone viral, racking up thousands of views.
Rather than focussing on physical attributes, these four films look to inner qualities like humility, dedication, self-belief, and irrepressible spirit. The campaign celebrates the triumph of these qualities, which have helped the ads’ heroes leave a lasting mark on the game.
"It was tough being told that I wasn’t going to make it, just because of my size, but I always believed in myself," said former Wales star Shane Williams, reflecting on his career. "Every setback made me more determined to succeed. Hopefully my story can inspire other rugby players - it’s proof you don’t need to be built like George North or Alex Cuthbert to make it on the wing!"
Which is the best ad? It's tough to say, but we've chosen to post the Williams video first, and then you can view the other three on the next page, with a bit more info about each, and some quotes from those involved too (scroll down if arriving from our social media pages, or click page 2).
Posted at 6:43 pm | 13 comments
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
While the dust was still settling the thrilling Barbarians vs Wallabies game, the famous black and white hoops were at it again last night, against Leicester Tigers. The match wasn't televised, but the Tigers have put this great package together.
There was plenty of frustration yesterday as realisation struck that this mouth-watering fixture, featuring some serious world rugby talent, wasn't going to be aired by any TV stations, making it almost impossible for those unable to attend to know exactly what went on.
Up stepped Leicester Tigers though, and despite them actually losing the entertaining match 59-26, they put together highlights from their own, solo-manned camera, used for internal analysis.
As you'll see why when watching, we're all extremely grateful as there were not only some excellent tries, but a few hilarious moments, including an outrageously comical conversion attempt (Francis Saili), and one of the most perplexing tap penalty moves you're likely to see.
It was a midweek fixture and could easily have been overlooked, but with players such as Nick Cummins, Tevita Li, Fumiaki Tanaka, Juan de Jongh and Mahonri Schwalger playing (to name a few), it was deeply frustrating to not be able to watch the entire match live on TV.
It also happened to be a farewell match for Sharks stalwart Jacques Botes, who as some of you will know, has been well above average his entire career, and perhaps could have got a Test cap if it weren't for the kind of competition that exists amongst lose forwards in South Africa.
He can be seen taking two attempts at goal in the video, the first hopeless, and the second to end the match after De Jongh, who was already on a hat-trick after having scored twice before, unselfishly tossed him the ball in the in goal area for a try of his own.
The game ended with the BaaBaas, who had 17 international players from eight different countries, having scored nine tries to the four of the Tigers. De Jongh scored twice while Thomas du Toit, Francis Saili, Heinrich Brussow, Tom English, Michael Rhodes, Tevita Li and Botes also scored.
Thanks again to Leicester Tigers for putting this together for the fans
Posted at 7:47 pm | 21 comments
The USA's 74-6 defeat to New Zealand was emphatic to say the least, and while early on in the match they appeared to match them physically, it was men against boys by the end. Never was it more apparent than when Augustine Pulu smashed the USA hooker.
A rare opportunity to attack down the wing gave the Eagles a bit of hope of scoring that elusive first ever try against the All Blacks, but replacement hooker Tom Coolican was forced to put the ball to boot, and demolished by Pulu in the process.
The Counties Manukau halfback was playing his first Test for the men in black, and made quite an impression with this particular shot, executing it perfectly as he knocking Coolican off the park.
Pulu was first brought into the All Blacks squad when Tawera Kerr-Barlow picked up a bad knee injury during their loss to South Africa in Johannesburg last month.
The 24-year-old was on the radar after a good season with the Chiefs, and some impressive outings for Counties in the ITM Cup. Coach Steve Hansen said he was an 'obvious selection'.
"The selectors have been watching Augustine for awhile, he is an exciting young player and we think the next obvious choice at halfback. We would like to congratulate him on his selection and we are looking forward to working with him," Hansen said last month.
While he's probably fourth choice if everyone is fit, he'll do well to continue taking the chances afforded to him, and at some stage will no doubt get a start against a top flight side. Even if he doesn't, this tackle will be a nice memory to hang on to for some time to come.
Posted at 4:29 pm | 11 comments
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
The latest Barbarians have reinvigorated the brand by playing the type of rugby that fans have come to expect from the famous club. Against Australia they were inventive and fearless, as can be seen with this audacious long lineout throw by Steven Luatua.
The All Black wasn't part of the squad over in Chicago, so he brought the USA to Twickenham, showing that he has a pretty decent quarterback throwing arm, even if it was a little skew.
"He's played a little bit of American Football at school, so he threw the ball like that at training and I said 'Ah, you better bring that out'," explained Barbarians coach John Kirwan.
It's his second outing for the BaaBaas, and after revealing that he's a big NFL fan in training, they thought they'd give this a shot. The Wallabies were quick to react and the ball was dropped, but kudos to the side for trying something new. With an accurate throw and a bit of luck, who knows.
Posted at 8:26 am | 25 comments
Monday, November 03, 2014
Nick Cummins crossed for a well deserved try against his teammates on Saturday, and as expected, he commanded a lot of media attention all week. Post match he was great value once again as he chatted to Sky Sports about the game, and a few other things.
As brutally honest as ever, Cummins spoke about getting a shot with the Wallabies, how the English are alright (despite what they say), and how losing the game still felt like a win.
Sky Sports' Alex Payne enjoyed getting to know the Japanese based Aussie winger.
"It was bloody enjoyable rugby mate" said the Honey Badger, summing up the thoughts of everyone watching the thoroughly entertaining game.
You can watch the interview in the video below. It's refreshing to say the least. If you missed the game, you can also view the Barbarians vs Wallabies match highlights here.
[credit to the original uploader]
Posted at 1:12 pm | 1 comments
Sunday, November 02, 2014
A record crowd were on hand to watch a thrilling display of running rugby from the World Champion All Blacks, as they defeated the USA Eagles 74-6 in Chicago. As expected, it was one-way traffic, but great exposure for rugby in the the United States.
There was plenty of hype and fanfare before of the match, which was ultimately a marketing exercise and a gentle warm-up for New Zealand ahead of their tour of the UK.
While the Eagles looked good with ball in hand early on, once the All Blacks asserted their dominance up front, the missed tackles and lack of organisation showed, as the visitors ran riot. Twelve tries were scored in total as fans watched on in both horror and delight at what unfolded.
The NBC commentary team were amusing, and full of praise for the 'dreamteam', who despite what they said about there being no such thing as an All Blacks second team, fielded an experimental starting fifteen that was a mixture of youth and experience.
Sonny Bill Williams made his Test rugby return and scored two tries, while Dan Carter came off the bench in the second half. He threw a forward pass with his first touch, but then got into the swing of things and had a good thirty minutes, helping his side to a comfortable, one-sided victory.
''When the boys were dominating up front like they were, it was awesome to just run off the back of that,'' said Williams, who limped off with a hip injury but should recover for the rest of the tour.
''I've come back a bit raw but I'm just trying to improve each week.''
Ultimately the game was a success despite the result. Over 61 500 fans packed Soldier Field, in what was a capacity crowd and the largest ever attendance for rugby in the USA. Those fans would have been disappointed to see their side rolled over so easily, but they knew what they were in for, and it will have been a great experience to watch the AB's in such dominant mood.
You can watch a full match replay (certain territories) via the same live feed link. Details here
What are your thoughts on the occasion, the USA side and the All Blacks combinations? Let us know in the comments below
Posted at 2:38 pm | 30 comments
The Wallabies got their tour off to a solid start with a hard fought 40-36 victory over a Barbarians side that refused to give up, and played some attractive rugby. The entire match was played in the spirit of the club, and was one of the best in recent memory.
Former Wallaby Nick Cummins, now playing his rugby in Japan, got a chance to prove his worth to new Australian coach Michael Cheika, albeit while playing for the opposition Barbarians.
Cummins, or The Honey Badger these days, crossed for a try late in the game but also contributed where possible, also setting up one of the tries of the game for Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff.
The match featured 11 tries, as the Twickenham crowd of 54 000 were treated to a thrilling match that was easily one of the most enjoyable seen this year, and indeed in the recent history of Barbarians fixtures.
The Wallabies had the match tied up but a late fight back from the BaaBaas gave them hope, and left the crowd feeling that despite the loss for the famous club, rugby was the winner as everyone was thoroughly entertained and they didn't roll over, as has been the case in the past.
"I know Australia have gone through hard times and it's good way for them to start their tour," said Barbarians coach John Kirwan of the opposition.
New Australian coach Cheika was pleased, but felt there are some areas they can work on.
"I thought there were some really good patches and at other times guys looked a bit uncertain," Cheika said. "We need to practice and play together more at that level.
"Our defence was probably the part of the game we want to improve the most. We just need a little bit more clarity around things but that will come."
It was one of those matches that is difficult to describe, and even harder to sum up in highlights. We'll archive the full game soon though (if possible). It was a classic so well worth watching.
Who impressed you the most from either side, and are the Wallabies looking good for the rest of their tour? Let us know your thoughts on the match in the comments
Posted at 11:24 am | 11 comments