Thursday, July 18, 2013
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
The Blues bid farewell to three key players at the weekend but it wasn't the fairytale they'd planned as they lost 26-16 to the Chiefs. In the first half Rene Ranger was on the receiving end of a high shot that wasn't carded, and showed his disgust at the decision.
The game was meant to be a great send off for Ranger, Ali Williams and Anthony Boric, but the red card changed things and instead the Blues had to dig deep just to stay in the contest.
Earlier in the week you saw the Kane Barrett incidents, but just three minutes after the red card tempers frayed again as tryscorer on the night Bundee Aki high tackled danger Ranger.
There wasn't too much in it although it looked bad on first viewing, and Ranger clearly wasn't happy, hoping for more than just a penalty. While it's not totally clear, it looked as though he then gave the assistant ref or one of the players (maybe Aki, but he walked the other way), the finger.
Rather than state that as fact, we've instead got the video for you so you can judge for yourself. If it is the case, it's surprising that there hasn't been further action taken, as it's surely not something that can not be tolerated on the field, especially when it's seen on camera.
Either way, dynamic back Ranger has now finished with the Blues in Super Rugby and while it was a frustrating night for him, he'll look forward to a good season in the ITM Cup, and then a move to France where he will join Montpellier next season.
Fans in Europe are in for a treat as Ranger is arguably at the height of his game and posseses all the flair, power and x-factor to make a real impact in the Top 14.
Until then, there's no doubt we'll see more great bits of play from him in the NPC, and hopefully add more to the archive of Ranger classics, some of which can be seen in the related posts below.
Was that the middle finger, and if so, should a rap over the knuckles be in order, or even a ban?
Posted at 8:08 am | 20 comments
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Here's a clip from the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow that we've been meaning to post and add to the archive for a while. So rather late than never, if you haven't seen this collision yet, it's well worth watching but not for the faint hearted.
While a lot of male fans may have preconceived ideas about Women's Rugby in general, there's no doubt that the commitment levels displayed at the highest level are quite incredible.
The game is growing rapidly and after a successful first ever IRB Sevens World Series, and the recent RWC Sevens, we're sure to see more and more girls picking up the odd shaped ball and having a crack at this wonderful sport. With the simplicity of Sevens, it's in a good place.
At the World Cup we saw an example of the aforementioned commitment in the plate final, as Australian Women's star Sharni Williams showed that despite being the fairer species, there was nothing lacking in terms of physicality.
In wet and miserable conditions she'd just been treated for a bad knock to the nose, which needed to be 'plugged' after bleeding a lot, but managed to play on. From the restart, you guessed it, she threw herself at a loose ball, and collected the knee of England's Heather Fisher, right in the face.
It was horrible to watch as unbelievably, Williams' knee actually smashed into Fisher's face too, stunning both girls. Tough as nails Williams played on though, as did Fisher, and the Australian was later rewarded with a try for her efforts, as well as the Plate victory.
Posted at 2:17 pm | 15 comments
Sunday, July 14, 2013
A week is a long time in world sport, as British & Irish Lions fans might already feel like the historic Test series win happened ages ago. Since then, Andy Murray has won Wimbledon, and this afternoon England won the first Test in the Ashes series.
So today we relive some of the magic of what was a fascinating Test series Down Under, one that is sure to be talked about for many years to come. We're also giving away an official Lions jersey for your collection and to help you keep the celebrations going, as well as two supporters balls.
HSBC, official sponsor of the tour, did a great job throughout with a massive digital presence that brought fans closer to the action than ever before. The Lions Weekly slots and regular update videos proved popular as those that weren't fortunate enough to get to Australia got to experience some of the vibe through the ambassadors that were down there.
Through our social media channels and the British & Irish Lions section here on RD, we hope that everything was covered, and you enjoyed the past month, no matter who you support.
Thanks to the help of talented Tim Freudenthal, we've got this montage to let you relive some of the emotion and great moments from three highly memorable Test matches. Enjoy!
NOTE: If it's blocked in your country because of the music, you can try this link
WIN THE 2013 LIONS JERSEY! - ENTRIES ARE NOW CLOSED
To go with the video, we also have the giveaway, so to enter:
1 - Make sure you're a registered Rugbydump member (registration is free, quick and easy)
2 - Leave a comment below telling us your Top Three Moments of the tour
Alternatively, you can tweet us @rugbydump to enter, using the hashtag #topthreemoments.
Terms and conditions:
• This giveaway is open to UK residents only
• The giveaway will run from 14 July 2013 until 23 July 2013 0:00 GMT.
• Only one entry is allowed per person.
Full terms and conditions »
Posted at 6:10 pm | 146 comments
Blues flanker Kane Barrett was red carded against the Chiefs after appearing to have made contact with the head of lock Craig Clarke. Blues coach John Kirwan was incensed at the decision, but Barrett has since been cited for a separate incident.
The Chiefs booked themselves a home semi final with a 26-16 victory in what was a competitive game despite the red card, which affected what could have been an even greater contest.
Barrett, the older brother of Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett, was sent off after just 22 minutes for an alleged stamp around the head of Clarke, who sympathised with him post match.
"I felt a little bit on the shoulder. Personally I feel for the man. If that was a club game in Taranaki you wouldn't look twice at that thing. I know he's hurting about it," said Clarke.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said "They are pretty unforgiving with anything close to the head but it seemed pretty harsh," while Blues coach John Kirwan felt it should only have been a yellow.
He has called for referee Chris Pollock to be held accountable. "A yellow would have been sufficient and it ruined what I reckon would have been a great game. It was just trying to get him out of the way. There was no intent in it whatsoever," Kirwan said.
"This is a professional sport. We've got millions of viewers all around the world watching. I challenge Lyndon Bray to do what we do; being dropped from selection next week because you don't play well or losing your job because you don't coach well.
"All I'm saying is that please take a leaf out of the book of the NRL so we can at least challenge this stuff. It's time we started to mature and be a professional sport and everyone is held accountable."
Captain Ali Williams, playing in his final game for the Blues, could be heard making a comment similar to that of Tana Umaga's classic 'tiddly winks' quote as he reacted to the decision: "What do you mean? F*ck. What sort of game are we playing!"
In a strange twist however, Barrett has now been cited for a stamp that occured just two minutes earlier as the Blues attacked the tryline. It wasn't spotted by the officials at the time.
Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna created a turnover, but appeared to get a boot or two for his troubles.
"Upon further review of the match footage, the citing commissioner deemed in his opinion the incident had met the red card threshold for foul play," SANZAR said in a statement.
Barrett was recently named captain of Taranaki so a suspension could rule him out of an important first NPC game in the ITM Cup, when his side take on Canterbury away on August 16th.
You can view the red card incident in the video below, and the other alleged stamp over on page two. Click here to go straight there, or use the navigation below this video.
Posted at 2:22 pm | 34 comments
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Next weekend sees the 2013 Super Beach 5's hit stunning Lignano in Italy, as teams from around the world converge on a beautiful part of Europe to play the fastest version of the sport. This year we'll be live streaming direct from the tournament.
Officially recognised by the IRB since 2010, Beach 5's is growing rapidly with standards and popularity on the rise. Each year teams from the southern hemisphere also take part, and this year one from Tonga and one combined New Zealand, Samoa and Fiji team will be there.
Where is Lignano Sabbiadoro?
Situated approximately 40 minutes along the coast from Venice, it's a tourist hotspot and one of the most visited summer destinations in Europe. A perfect setting for a beach rugby tournament.
The format of Beach 5's is growing, with tournaments in France, Belgium, Portugal, Holland, Germany, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia. This year for the first time a USA Eagles beach 5's team is also attending.
The 12 teams taking place will be playing for two of the most prestigious trophies in world Beach 5's - the 13th Lignano International Cup, and the 2nd EBRA European Beach Rugby Club Cup.
It takes place next weekend, 20/21 July, so if you're able to attend, go for it. If not, we'll be live streaming it so look out for the notifications and check it out. Maybe next year we'll see you there. Find out more info at Beachrugby.eu, or via Twitter and Facebook.
Posted at 3:41 pm | 2 comments