Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Following a great Super Rugby final at the weekend, here is a look at five other big games and the moments that made them memorable. Featuring clips from not just the final itself, Sean Maloney and co. have put together a great collection of footage.
Starting with a game that was remembered - or forgotten about - for all the wrong reasons, the 2006 Super 14 final was played in horrendous conditions. Fans couldn't see what was going on when watching on TV, and it's safe to say visibility wasn't all that great out there either.
In 2009 we featured the Heineken Cup penalty shootout, a first for the sport at such a level. It was filled with drama, intrigue an disappointment as Martyn Williams missed a kick for Cardiff Blues, and Jordan Crane slotted his. Bizarre.
A year later in Durban bees caused chaos on the Currie Cup semi final, with the kickoff being delayed for 40 minutes, until they could get rid of them. The referee was stung, as were a few innocent bystanders, but eventually play got under way and the Sharks progressed to the final
In 1999 France famously beat New Zealand in the World Cup Semi Final, but by the time they got to the final they were no match for the Wallabies, who easily won, scoring a nice try through big Owen Finnegan in the process.
The 1995 Rugby World Cup final goes down as one of the greatest ever, for more than just rugby reasons. A country was united after a troubled past, and the Springboks beat the almighty All Blacks, who had the seemingly unstoppable Jonah Lomu in their ranks. Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar together will live long as one of the greatest moments in not just rugby, but sport.
Can you think of any other great finals moments that could have also been slotted in to this video?
Posted at 10:25 am | 19 comments
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Toulon's Chris Masoe found himself in an unfamiliar role in the final ten minutes against Racing Metro in their preseason friendly after the touchjudge took a bad knock as Toulon almost went over for a try in the corner.
Former Castres stalwart Masoe, who has had a long and fruitful career, no doubt relished the opportunity to try something new, even if it was under strange circumstances.
As Toulon put together a sweeping attacking move that would have extended their lead, replacement back Vincent Martin nearly went over in the corner if it were not for an incredible covering tackle by Bernard Le Roux.
Unfortuntaely the force of Le Roux's tackle knocked Martin into touch, and into hapless touchjudge Herve Gilard's knee, which bent backwards awkwardly, and that was the end of his game.
With no replacements to be seen and only a few minutes left in the match, 34-year-old Masoe stepped up, stuck on the yellow shirt, and dutifully performed the required role.
We saw him in action in the football vs rugby game against Olympique Marseille recently, playing goal keeper at one stage, so it's been an interesting few weeks for the former All Black.
Toulon won 14-6 and Masoe didn't have too much involvement after that, sticking the flag up once for a Racing Metro lineout. It's good to see the amateur spirit of rugby is alive and well.
Posted at 4:00 am | 7 comments
Monday, August 05, 2013
One of the lasting memories from last year's Super Rugby final was when the Chiefs celebrated with a unique Haka, paying tribute to the fans after they beat the Sharks to take their first ever title. On Saturday they did it again, and it was just as moving.
As with last year, they laid down the trophy and let rip, along with Maori warriors on either side, as they celebrated their second successive title victory. Led by Hika Elliot, it was spine-tingling stuff, and it yet again showed what a tight knit unit this Chiefs outfit is.
Family is an integral part of their success, as could be seen after the final whistle when the majority of players were seen with their children and loved ones on the field.
Liam Messam said that it is their way of thanking the fans, friends and family. "It's part of our culture and who we are as a team. It's just pretty much giving thanks to our friends and family, they sit in front of us, so, just all the sacrifices they've done for us over the years.. That's for them"
Injured players, such as Richard Kahui and Mo Schwalger - crutches and all - even joined in.
"You can see the emotion there of eight months of hard work in that Haka. Very proud moment for them," said former All Black lock Ian Jones.
Big Ben Tameifuna, who had another good game, was a prominent figure at the front of the pack.
"I had my family right there in the front row, so it's for them. It's for them, thanking them for the support the whole season and hopefully they'll turn up next season and do it again," he said.
Posted at 7:40 am | 5 comments
Sunday, August 04, 2013
The Chiefs successfully defended their Super Rugby title by beating the Brumbies 27-22 in an exciting final in Hamilton on Saturday night. They become one of just a handful of teams that have won the tournament back-to-back.
The Chiefs came from 10 points down to turn things around in the second half and join the likes of the Auckland Blues, Crusaders and Bulls in becoming just the fourth team to defend their title.
Two quick tries and a penalty in a short period of time fired the hosts into the lead, despite the visitors at one stage looking in control and on the way to their first title since 2004. The Chiefs then withheld a late onslaught to take the win.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie dismissed talk of becoming the next Super Rugby dynasty.
"I don't care to be honest. It's more about what happens within our group and we're really satisfied," he said. "It's a tough tournament. You've got to be good and consistent for long periods and that gave us the opportunity to play at home and that probably made a difference.
"Dynasty is the sort of thing you reflect back on. We've won a couple of titles and next year it will be about realising how hard we've had to work to achieve what we have done and trying to replicate that."
Sticking to an attacking gameplan, the Chiefs played attractive rugby and ended the tournament with more points and tries than any other side.
"They showed why they are a championship team," said disappointed Brumbies coach Jake White.
"They showed why they won last year and they showed why they came first in the whole competition by getting a home final."
Extended highlights of the match are below, with more to come shortly
Posted at 9:34 am | 15 comments
Thursday, August 01, 2013
The Chiefs will host the Brumbies in this year's Super Rugby final this Saturday, so as part of the build up, here is a look at some of the more memorable finals from previous years of the tournament, dating back to 1998.
Featuring a run down of the pick of the finals, Fox Sports go through some of what in their view are the best, treating us to some great footage and fantastic memories.
1998 - Blues vs Crusaders - Auckland
The Blues were the powerhouse side in the early years, winning the first two tournaments with players such as Zinzan Brooke, Sean Fitzpatrick and Carlos Spencer. The Crusaders got the better of them in a classic 1998 final though, claiming the first of their seven titles.
2004 - Brumbies vs Crusaders - Canberra
This was an incredible game of rugby with some lovely tries, including vintage pieces of play from big Radike Samo and long haired George Smith. Lookout for the brilliant chip ahead by him, and of course keep an eye on him this coming weekend vs the Chiefs.
2007 - Sharks vs Bulls - Durban
A match that started and ended with Bryan Habana infuriating the Sharks faithful, this one will be remembered for that last minute winning try from the speedy winger. Jaco Van Der Westhuizen's shirt, and climbing up to the crossbar in celebration is right up there too.
2009 - Bulls vs Chiefs - Pretoria
While they spent a few years near the bottom of the table in Super Rugby, the Chiefs came into their own in recent years, reaching the final for the first time in 2009. Unfortunately they found themselves up against a rampant Bulls side, who ran riot and put 61 points on the visitors.
2011 - Reds vs Crusaders - Brisbane
Remembered as a coming of age for the Reds, in 2011 the Queensland team played some sensational rugby, with Quade Cooper and Will Genia in particular pulling off all the tricks. In the final they faced a massive challenge in the Crusaders, but thanks in large part to a brilliant solo effort from Genia, Brisbane erupted with well earned celebrations they'll not soon forget.
You can view longer clips from all the matches featured by browsing through the Related Posts below. Enjoy the walk down memory lane that hopefully gets you excited for this weekend.
Posted at 4:38 pm | 1 comments
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Ahead of this year's Bledisloe Cup, that forms part of the Rugby Championship, the Australian Rugby Union have produced a series of videos that look back at classic matches against the All Blacks from years gone by.
Today we look at the meeting of the two sides in 1994, and that tackle that saved the match.
We first posted the famous George Gregan tackle on Jeff Wilson almost six years ago to the day. It's one of the most iconic moments in Bledisloe Cup history, so it's no surprise that it was featured in this insightful video from the ARU.
In it Gregan himself speaks about the build up to that moment, as does Wallaby coach Bob Dwyer, who describes the now legendary scrumhalf as having come out of nowhere.
'He (Jeff Wilson) beat a couple of tackles with a lot of room to move, and then veered out towards touch and a try looked pretty well certain. And then out of the clouds came George Gregan of course," said Dwyer.
In the video some of the other tries are also featured, making it a great clip that gives a good feeling for the importance of such a try-saving tackle. Australia were just one point ahead after all.
Nineteen years later, the Wallabies have a bit of a Gregan clone in Will Genia, a player that will no doubt play a massive part in their Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship campaigns. The first match kicks off on August 17th in Sydney, followed by South Africa vs Argentina later that day.
Posted at 2:01 pm | 8 comments
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Last month Fiji won the Pacific Nations Cup for the first time with a 34-21 victory over Tonga in the final match. They scored some great tries on the way to the title, but none better than these too in their opening rain-soaked match against Japan.
The IRB Pacific Nations Cup took place during a busy period of Test match rugby that included the Lions tour of Australia, France's tour of New Zealand and the Quad Series in South Africa. For those reasons it was unfortunately overshadowed a little, but still offered plenty of value.
Some great rugby was played and in the opening match at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Fiji scored four great tries against Japan, despite a heavy downpour, to pick up a 22-8 victory.
Two of the best are featured below for different reasons, and both are well worth watching.
The first was scored just 31 seconds after kickoff as veteran Sireli Bobo, now 37-years-old believe it or not, made a break before getting back in support to take the final pass and trot over. The Japanese tackling left a bit to be desired but it was a sensational start to the game.
Things were a bit tighter for the rest of the contest, until late in the second half when replacement Nikola Matawalu sparked an incredible try.
Glasgow Warriors fans will be familiar with the skill of the speedy scrumhalf. He pulled off the impossible a few times in the last season, scoring nine tries in 22 appearances and being named Player of the Season. He also signed a contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2015.
Matawalu teamed up with winger Aisea Natoga and despite the weather, showed his flair as he accelerated away down field then produced a superb no-look flick pass to put Natoga in.
Fiji went on to claim the overall title. Their victory means that there have now been three different winners of the IRB Pacific Nations Cup in the last three years. Fiji finished with 16 points total after three wins and one defeat. Canada were second on 13 points and Tonga third on 10.
While Bobo's try was impressive because of when it was scored, the main reason for this post is to share the incredible bit of play by Matawalu and Natoga for the second try. The nice bit of sportsmanship and camaraderie that took place after the match is a nice bonus too.
Posted at 8:33 am | 9 comments