Tuesday, June 03, 2014
If you missed it on what was a jam-packed day, here is a quick wrap-up of the Aviva Premiership final between Saracens and Northampton Saints. Saints won the game 24-20 in dramatic fashion, and coach Jim Mallinder has since had his contract extended.
While Saracens were aiming for a unique double of the Heineken Cup and the Premiership titles, they ended up with runner-up tags in both, while Saints achieved a double of their own, winning the Amlin Challenge Cup final a week earlier, then the Premiership title 24-20 at the death.
Jim Mallinder said this week that Saints are a 'superb club' and coaching them is 'a brilliant job'.
"There are not many positions like this in world rugby and I've loved every minute of being here. We've had a few ups and downs, but generally we've been on the up since being in the first division that first year. We're getting better and better – not just as a team and a squad, but as a club, and it's something I want to be a part of.
"I'm more motivated now than when I first came here. The challenges are huge. There are plenty of ambitious clubs in the Aviva Premiership and we want to be better than them," he said.
The focus now turns to the England side, with Waller one of those players added to the squad to take on the All Blacks in New Zealand. Other Saints players to join the tour party include Luther Burrell, Lee Dickson, Ben Foden, Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, and Stephen Myler.
From Saracens, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, Owen Farrell, Alex Goode, Billy Vunipola and Richard Wigglesworth have all flown over to New Zealand too. The first Test is this coming Saturday.
Posted at 11:31 am | 31 comments
Monday, June 02, 2014
The Junior World Championship kicked off in Auckland today with Wales, South Africa and England topping the pools after day one. In Pool B we saw one of the fastest tries from a kick-off ever, as Wales got off to a flyer vs Fiji, scoring after just 7 seconds.
The opening day included big wins for South Africa, who beat Scotland 61-5, England who beat Italy 63-3, Australia who beat Argentina 36-17 and hosts New Zealand, who beat Samoa 48-12. In the tightest contest of the day, France beat Ireland 19-13.
"We saw some real tough battles out there on the opening day of #JWC2014," said Jonah Lomu, acting as IRB Junior World Championship 2014 Tournament Ambassador.
"It's still too early to call it, but some of the performances were really exciting. There was some real physicality and skill on display today. Now that all the teams have a game under their belt, I'd expect the competition to step up even further on Friday."
Wales scored five tries in total as they put Fiji away with a 48-19 thumping in Pukekohe. Winger Dafydd Howells chased the kickoff well and got a lucky bounce, allowing him to run away with what is arguably one of the fastest tries ever scored in international rugby.
We've posted various clips over the years highlighting some of the fastest tries scored from the kickoff in both domestic and Test rugby, with John Leslie's try for Scotland in 1999 widely acknowledged as the quickest in Tests. This from Howells however appears to top the list overall.
We'll get official highlights from all the games posted here throughout the week
Posted at 6:52 pm | 8 comments
A talented Barbarians outfit scored five tries to beat an experimental England XV 39-29 in front of 50 000 fans at Twickenham on Sunday. Hosea Gear scored twice for the invitational side in a match that at times had a real Test match feel to it.
It was anything but the free-flowing, run at every opportunity type of game that we've come to expect from a Barbarians fixture, but there seemed to be a real determination in the effort, following on from the disappointing 59-8 hiding against the British & Irish Lions last year.
Henry Slade was impressive for England, as was Ollie Devoto in the midfield but with the likes of Rene Ranger and Gear running freely for the Barbarians, it was always going to be a challenge.
"The game was won because people kindly kicked to Hosea Gear," said pleased Babarians coach Dean Ryan. "I'm pleased we represented the Barbarians in a way that allows us to see the talents of a Hosea Gear but also sees us really work hard to win a game at the end."
England's main squad are already in New Zealand preparing for the three-Test series with the All Blacks, and then there is also the group of players that weren't available for selection due to Saturday's Aviva Premiership Final. That said, the Barbarians were made to work hard for the win.
It was great to see Georgian Mamuka Gorgodze in the famous strip, and another great achievement is that of French referee Mathieu Raynal, who you may remember had that horrific leg and collarbone break in a Top 14 match last year. It was great to see him out there again.
Posted at 1:47 pm | 22 comments
Sunday, June 01, 2014
Leinster retained the Pro12 title with a 34-12 final win over a spirited Glasgow Warriors side in Dublin on Saturday. The win meant that Brian O'Driscoll and Leo Cullen ended their Leinster careers on a high, although O'Driscoll's match didn't quite go to plan.
Zane Kirchner scored twice for in what turned out to be a great day for him, as he was also selected in the Springbok squad for their upcoming home Test series. Shane Jennings and Gordon D'Arcy crossed for tries of their own, while all of the Warriors' points came from the boot of Finn Russell.
O'Driscoll limped off after just nine minutes with a calf/hamstring/doesn't matter any more injury, putting an end to what was meant to be his final eighty minutes of rugby. He was given a rousing send off by the RDS crowd however, and enjoyed the festivities come the final whistle.
Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend said that the more experienced side pulled through in the end. "It was a great occasion, but we were just not good enough on the day. Experience, better play from Leinster and we didn't take our opportunities in the first half when we had the wind behind us," he told BBC Radio Scotland.
"We have made real progress to get to a final. The players have played really well and this group is going to be here for the future. We have just got to make sure we win it next time."
Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor spoke about the team's inspiration.
"Brian O'Driscoll has been immense. They don't make them like that any more and we are just privileged to have him in the environment. It's not all about one guy but there's no doubt everyone wanted to make sure he, Leo and the other guys who are leaving us went out in the right way."
As for O'Driscoll, he tweeted: "Not the way I'd hoped to play it out but sh*t happens!"
View a great video of the post match celebrations over on the next page
Posted at 5:44 pm | 5 comments
Force wing Nick Cummins made one of the try-saving tackles of the season on Friday against the Crusaders, chasing back to prevent a try despite already being part of a losing cause. The Crusaders won the match 30-7 in the end, but Cummins showed great heart with this effort.
A Kieran Read break set up Johnny McNicholl, who as you can see above ginned it for the corner, only to be outdone by a sensational chase and tackle by the Honey Badger.
It was an incredible effort considering that with only three minutes left, the game was already lost.
On a related note, for those of you wondering what has happened to the Honey Badger shirt we released in the RD Store last week, we've been asked to take it down by Cummins agent.
Posted at 9:01 am | 9 comments
Saturday, May 31, 2014
Ben Temeifuna made this cracking tackle in this morning's Super Rugby round 16 match between the Chiefs and the Waratahs. The 'Tahs won the game 33-17 in convincing fashion, but earlier in the match Big Ben made his mark with one of the biggest hits of the season.
In recent season's Tameifuna - weighing in at around 140kg's - has been known to throw that formidable weight around, either with ball in hand or on defence. In this case he had Michael Hooper served to him on a plate, so he made no mistake in executing what was a crunching tackle.
Tough as nails Hooper took it well though, hanging on to the ball as well as recycling possession. Both players hopped up, and the game continued. Fair play to both of them.
View more of Tameifuna's big hits in the Related Posts below
credit: fox sports
Posted at 10:46 am | 5 comments
Friday, May 30, 2014
This week's Top 5 from Rugby HQ was inspired by Nick Cummins' howler of a clearance kick in last weekend's Super Rugby match vs the Lions. That got the Fox crew thinking about some of the biggest 'You're Kidding Me!' moments, so here they are.
Streakers always seem to get a bit of a laugh, and that was the case in Dunedin last year when a guy took to the field, only to be tackled by the Highlanders mascot, a giant cock. During the Super Rugby game against the Blues, AJ the chicken took matters into his own feathery hands.
"I noticed a streaker on the field and thought immediately, 'This is no good, It's our stadium and we've got to protect it'," he explained after the match. "So I gave it my all, gunned it for the streaker and managed to chase him down."
In 2011 the Wallabies thumped the Barbarians but as James O'Connor made a movement towards taking a conversion, Peter Stringer spotted the opportunity and swooped in. The ref allowed it, so off he trotted with the ball. Ireland weren't as lucky against the All Blacks a few years later.
Next up on the list was that bizarre moment when the wind blew the ball all the way back over the tryline, and then there's a look at Toby Flood charging straight into the uprights. Luckily he wasn't seriously injured, and it's a good thing those bits of padding hold so much sponsorship these days.
The number one clip is one that we've referred back to many a time over the years, including a few weeks ago when we featured a very funny chat with Munster legend, Donncha O'Callaghan. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth a watch, as is the classic moment featured here as number one.
Most of these incidents, plus a few more crazy bits, and included in the Related Posts below
Posted at 1:40 pm | 4 comments