Thursday, July 25, 2013
This week's Top 5 from Rugby HQ features some of the most 'ridiculous' passes ever attempted on a rugby field, by some of the most flamboyant players. Quade Cooper was in studio to watch first hand, and unsurprisingly, he made it onto the list.
When you think of high risk passes, Cooper certainly comes to mind. One pass in particular in fact. So it's no big surprise that he's made it onto this list of the Top 5 Ridiculous Passes of all time.
Incidentally, he is expected to be named in the Wallabies 40-man squad for the Rugby Championship on Friday. His relationship with former coach Robbie Deans clearly wasn't working out, to the point that he was left out of the squad for the British & Irish Lions tour, but now with former Reds coach Ewen McKenzie at the helm we can expect things to be back to normal.
"Hopefully my name will be up there with the rest of the boys," Cooper said. "It will be exciting to be involved with the Wallabies again. But I'm not taking anything for granted.
"I've learnt a fair bit about myself, especially about hard work and attitude. Those things go a long way on and off the field. The harder you work off the field, the more it shows on the field."
Sonny Bill Williams is another notable selection. The man that took the one handed offload and made it his own is now plying his trade in the NRL, but don't be surprised to see him back in Super Rugby next season, with the aim of joining up with the All Blacks for the 2015 RWC.
Legend Carlos Spencer makes the cut with his through the legs effort against the Springboks at the World Cup in 2003, and Tamati Ellisson's stunner from a few weeks back is there too.
At number one Campo's no look effort to Tim Horan, way back in 1991, comes out trumps.
They're all from the Southern Hemisphere, being that Rugby HQ on Fox Sports is an Australian show, so if there's any others you can think of feel free to mention or link to them in the comments below. Linked Youtube videos can now be viewed within the comments board, so try it out.
Which other famous or ridiculously good passes would you have included?
Posted at 6:38 pm | 30 comments
The Brumbies survived a late scare to beat the Cheetahs 15-13 in Canberra in their Super Rugby playoff game at the weekend. They face another big challenge this coming weekend as they take on the Bulls in Pretoria for a place in the final.
The Cheetahs scored two tries but weren't able to come away with the win after flyhalf Riaan Smit hit the upright from a conversion that would have pushed the game into extra time.
The hosts scored through five penalties from Christian Lealiifano and Nic White, and relieved coach Jake White said he was surprised that his side allowed the visitors to get so close.
"With four minutes left to go we got the scrum and I didn't see [the Cheetahs] scoring," White said.
"I thought: 'That's it, we'll just defend and make sure we don't put numbers into the breakdown. Then they go and score with a minute left. That's finals footy. We got lucky with that kick at the end," added White, who will return to his native South Africa for the semi final.
"We're flying to the other side of the world and playing in a country where rugby is No 1, No 2 and No 3 as their code. They're a South African side and we know what they’re like. They’ll play with their forwards and use Morné Steyn to add the extras."
It's a meeting of two sides that have a rich history in the tournament. The Brumbies won Super 12 titles in 2001 and 2004, and were runners up in 1997, while the Bulls won all three of their titles between 2007 and 2010, including a record 61-17 demolishing of the Chiefs in the 2009 final.
They are aiming to use their homeground advantage to outgun the well drilled visitors.
"We certainly respect the Brumbies as an opponent, but this match will be about us and our ability and drive to make them play the game at our tempo and to our game plan. For that we will need to be accurate and execute the big plays well," said coach Frans Ludeke.
Bulls: Zane Kirchner, Akona Ndungane, JJ Engelbrecht, Jan Serfontein, Bjorn Basson, Morné Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Dewald Potgieter (captain), Jacques Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Grant Hattingh, Flip van der Merwe, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling. Replacements: Callie Visagie, Frik Kirsten, Morné Mellett, Paul Willemse, Jono Ross, Jano Vermaak, Jürgen Visser.
Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Clyde Rathbone, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ben Mowen (captain), George Smith, Peter Kimlin, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Replacements: Siliva Siliva, Ruan Smith, Fotu Auelua, Colby Faingaa, Ian Prior, Andrew Smith, Joseph Tomane.
View highlights of the Brumbies vs Cheetahs qualifier below
Posted at 9:32 am | 6 comments
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
The Crusaders finished the Super Rugby regular season on a high with a dominant 38-9 victory over the Reds, sealing their place in the semi finals, where they will face the Chiefs. It is their 12th straight semi final appearance, aiming for their 8th title.
In what was effectively a quarter final, the Crusaders vs the Reds was set to be an classic contest but it was the home side that played all the rugby and outmuscled the would be challengers, scoring four tries to nil mainly due to their urgency and physical dominance.
They put huge pressure on the Reds up front, which ultimately cancelled out the attacking threats of Will Genia and Quade Cooper. On a sour note, the latter, who hasn't been a popular man in New Zealand since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, was booed each time he touched the ball.
Richie McCaw made his comeback, a 15 minute cameo, but the forward effort was led by outstanding performances from Sam and George Whitelock, Wyatt Crockett and Kieran Read.
"We've got to pat the big boys up front on the back tonight for the effort they put in," said Carter, who along with Ryan Crotty, Tom Marshall and Israel Dagg, had the platform to run riot.
"They really dominated the Reds forward pack and made it a pretty joyful game for myself and the backline. I've been a part of a lot of successful Crusaders sides, but the last four years we've come close and haven't been able to get over the line. It's really motivating us this year.
"We want to be there at the end, we've given ourselves a chance now to play another week and that's all we'll be focusing on," added Carter.
It will be an all New Zealand semi final in Hamilton as the Chiefs host the Crusaders on Saturday.
Posted at 8:07 am | 33 comments
Saturday, July 20, 2013
A crazy game took place in France earlier in the week as Toulon hosted football club Olympique Marseille for a half football-half rugby match in aid of charity. Eric Cantona was on hand to ref and play as things got a bit strange in the second half.
Stade Mayol played host to this charity game with a difference, as the first half was played as football with goal posts in place, and then for the second half things switched as rugby posts were erected. The game was in aid of a local cancer charity, and had 12 000 fans in attendance.
The match was meant to be 11 Toulon vs 11 Marseille in the first half, refereed by Cantona, and 15 Toulon vs 15 Marseille in the second half, refereed by Marc Lièvremont.
That was the plan, but with rolling subs to give everyone a chance to play, soon players weren't leaving the field after being subbed, and at one stage it was 15 vs 11. Staff also took to the field, and teams became mixed. Toulon players wore Marseille shirts, and vice versa.
We saw some great goalkeeping from Chris Masoe and Steffon Armitage in the first half, as well as two well taken goals from brother Delon, who looked a natural out there.
In the second half it was time for rugby as the Marseille players got into the spirit of things, despite numerous forward passes and tries scored from in front of the kicker. Still, everyone had fun, including Manchester United legend Cantona, who stepped up for a conversion.
The 47-year-old, who retired from football in 1997, reportedly said to hat-trick tryscorer André-Pierre Gignac that he was going to try to hit the cross bar. And he did.
You can see that in the second part of the video, which is on page two and features the rugby half.
The first half, with football, is below and includes some subtitles for some of the commentary, including a great moment when Masoe picked up the ball and ran with it, as the commentator said: "They say rugby was born this way."
Marseille edged the hosts 5-4 in the first half, taking a 36-35 overall victory on a memorable day.
Posted at 9:49 am | 24 comments
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Another hugely successful rugby coaching mission in Africa has come to an end for Bhubesi Pride, as they now look ahead to the 2014 recruitment process. We caught up with founder Richard Bennett to learn more about this year's ground breaking trip.
The team have now completed the 15,000km trek through ten African countries. Starting in Ethiopia and ending in Cape Town, the aim is to coach rugby at schools level while simultaneously promoting its core values, and develop sustainable leagues and competitions.
The video below sees the team three quarters of the way through this year's mission, with another video update still to come. We caught up with Bennett to find out what it was like this time around.
Rugbydump: We have to ask the obvious question; have you guys made a change?
Richard Bennett: Absolutely. We've coached close to 3,000 pupils in 29 schools and communities in ten countries this year. More significantly we empowered 105 local staff in the ten countries we worked in. This contributes massively to ensuring rugby can and does have the ability to continue and grow. But we need to get back next year to monitor progress and up-skill more coaches.
Rugbydump: How did the coaching clinics go in each country?
RB: They were nothing short of phenomenal. During our team training, I asked the coaching team to brainstorm various ways they believe their skill-sets and experience could add value in the schools we worked in Africa.
We have 3 core values: To unite children through the game, to empower locals, and to inspire leadership and expanded relationships. The lads took these sentiments and made them their own, applying immense sensitivity and pride when coaching the youngsters and giving local support staff real confidence when coaching and reffing themselves.
Rugbydump: What did this year's coaching team gain from the experience?
RB: Coaching in Africa is a challenge, but I'm convinced this year's team relished every moment. Whether Ryan was negotiating session times with a head teacher, or Juan Pablo and Ben were managing up to 50 staff at a tournament, or Jon was running referee seminars, the rugby side offered a wealth of opportunities that really develops your character!
Then there's the beautifully scenic drives taking you from country to country past sights like Mount Kilimanjaro, through Mikumi National Park or the Fish River Canyon. The guys also did activities like rafting on the Nile and bungee jumping in Zambia and South Africa.
Applications for 2014
To build on this year's work, Bhubesi Pride are looking for exceptional candidates. Coaches, male and female, can submit an application form online. Successful applicants will receive personalised teamwear, extensive training, as well as travel related expenses, food and acommodation covered. They will also have pride of place on the team, and the trip of a lifetime.
Posted at 5:24 pm | 0 comments
A lot has already been said about USA Sevens speedstar Carlin Isles, but thanks to an excellent new short feature by Grantland, we get to learn a bit more about the former track athlete, including a first hand account of his humble upbringing.
Rio 2016 isn't too far off and Olympic hopeful Isles still has his eyes firmly on the prize, despite having had to change the path some time back. After realising that to be the very best of the best in US sprinting was a mammoth challenge, Isles looked at his options.
"As I got closer to almost Olympic trials, there was a point where I felt like if I didn't go to the Olympics, then what? I was being real with myself," Isles said.
What happened next and how he came into rugby is quite a well known story, and since then he has enjoyed time on the IRB Sevens World Series circuit, learning and developing in the process.
He has been thrown in at the deep end however, and as USA Sevens captain Matt Hawkins explained, it's not the ideal way to learn all the ins and outs of rugby.
"If we get guys like Carlin that can absolutely torch people on the field, we'd be stupid not to invite them into our family," said Hawkins, who believes that some grassroots, lower grade rugby may well help to develop Isles' overall game better.
"Carlin is trying to develop on the national team, and for a guy like him, that really doesn't make sense. He's not going to get the basics he really needs to learn and grow.
"I've seen the guys from football come and go. I've seen six or seven guys. They've got great talent, and rugby requires athletic talent. But it also requires intellectual talent. If I tell you tomorrow you're going to speak Spanish, you can't do that," Hawkins added.
For now, it's an uplifting story and an exciting one for US rugby fans, who take great pride in the plaudits Isles has garnered. Fans are realistic however, and while the emergence of a star is a wonderful thing, it'll take time before he reaches his full potential as a well rounded player.
As can be seen in this great documentary short, he has the tenacity and raw talent to get there.
Posted at 12:07 pm | 25 comments
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
There's nothing better than seeing a 137kg+ prop in full flight, and we were treated to it by Ben Tameifuna against the Blues at the weekend. He took on a few smaller backs but it was his acceleration that was probably the most impressive thing.
Big Ben weighed in at 144kg's at the start of the season, but has shed a few after some hard work, and has since been more mobile than ever, even scoring two tries against the Blues.
Look out for him in the Super Rugby Semi Final next weekend.
This was first shared on the Rugbydump Facebook page, then later updated and archived on the site. To view users' reactions and comments, follow the link, and please LIKE the page too!
Posted at 5:41 pm | 0 comments