Friday, September 27, 2013
Montpellier's impressive 43-3 win over Clermont last week propelled scrumhalf Jonathan Pelissie into the headlines after he scored two tries and notched up 31 points. This follows on from his great performance against Toulouse.
Pelissie has shown the kind of form and dynamism that is sure to excite not only his own club's fans, but those across the country. The 25-year-old former Grenoble player scored a fantastic try against Toulouse, then followed up in Round 7 with two against Clermont.
He was up against France scrumhalf Morgan Parra, who scored the first points of the game with a penalty in the second minute, but that was all Clermont could muster despite coming into the match with five straight victories.
Pelissie crossed the tryline twice, then kicked 21 points as his team ran in four tries in total and went top of the table, albeit temporarily. They will take great heart from the performance, which naturally stands them in good stead when they meet Stade Francais in Paris tonight.
"He is clever, goes fast, tackles well - he is capable of doing great things, great things for now. The hardest part is to come, but he has his head on his shoulders." said coach Fabien Galthié, who himself knows a thing or two about scrumhalf play having been capped 64 times for France.
Pelissie has been a revelation this season, but it is still early days and he has said that he's staying focussed solely on the season with Montpellier. You can be sure that with the talent and raw acceleration he has, we'll see a lot more of him in the weeks to come.
Posted at 7:07 am | 4 comments
Thursday, September 26, 2013
This is a quick look at a crazy fight involving just about all of the players in the semifinals of the Polish League, which took place at the National Rugby Stadium in Gdynia.
The match was between Arka Gdynia (yellow), and one of the best Polish teams, Budowlani Lodz.
Some kind of altercation between the Budowni Lodz scrumhalf and the Arka Gdynia lock sparked the unsavoury scenes, but after the game they apparently all got together for a beer.
Posted at 7:49 am | 26 comments
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
London Irish flyer Marland Yarde has been in great form so far this season, with many touting him to be an England regular in the not too distant future. He's scored some good tries in the past few weeks, and one that has to be seen to be believed.
Yarde, who hails from the Caribbean, is a genuine Test rugby prospect and has his eyes set on the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He hopes to become the first St Lucia born player to represent England.
Having moved to the UK aged nine with his family, he recently spoke of how the 2003 World Cup Final in Australia inspired him to take up rugby, despite not knowing much about it.
"To be honest I didn't even know who Jonny Wilkinson was, or any of the players. It was just the sport, enjoying the whole atmosphere and how the sport was played. I found it was really exciting. That really sparked my vision to want to be part of this sport and play," Yarde said.
Having made his international debut against Argentina earlier this year, the 21-year-old hopes to add to the two tries he scored in their 51-26 second Test win. "Having just tasted international rugby I'm really hungry for more," he says. "I know the World Cup is going to be massive and being in the squad is definitely something I'd love to achieve.
"In no way do I feel like the finished article but Stuart Lancaster has made a point that age doesn't really matter. I want to do whatever I can for London Irish to put myself in the best position towards that World Cup."
If that means running in tries when suffering from injury, so be it. We saw exactly that a few weeks ago in the Aviva Premiership, as Yarde was down getting treatment for cramp but spotted an opportunity, so promptly hopped up and got into a great position in support.
It's not the first time we've seen this type of thing happen. Both Brian O'Driscoll and Kurtley Beale have done similar, which naturally brings up the question of legality, as while it's funny to see, it probably a little unfair, especially when the doctor or physio is already on the field.
Do you have any thoughts on whether a law should be in place to prevent this type of thing from happening, or is it just a freak occurence that shouldn't really be taken very seriously? Also, do you think Yarde should be an England regular by the time the Six Nations rolls around?
Posted at 12:03 pm | 43 comments
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Northampton Saints fans were left seething following a controversial ending to one of the most talked about matches of round 3 in the Aviva Premiership, as Gloucester snatched a 26-24 victory with a late penalty goal at Kingsholm.
Gloucester claimed their first win of the season despite looking dead and buried after George North sparked a brilliant Saints counter-attack that ended in a Jamie Elliot sprint for the line. The try of the season candidate seemed to be the match winner, but controversy followed.
A number of players appeared to be in front of the kicker at the restart, but it wasn't picked up and Saints knocked on. With the clock well into injury time, referee Martin Fox awarded a scrum penalty to the hosts, which Billy Twelvetrees duly slotted.
"It is a shame when games are decided by the referee in the last couple of minutes," said Northampton Saints coach Jim Mallinder. "We were disappointed when we had the change of referee at short notice, but sometimes that happens.
"What we have got to make sure of is that we control what we can control. The refs are out of our hands. My reading of the scrum at the end, particularly the second scrum, was that we had control of the ball, so the reset should have been our put-in. I don't want to say any more, really.
"I have taken my frustration out - I kicked whatever was at the side of the pitch. We came close, we will win some and we will lose some. Clearly, the penalty count didn't go in our favour."
Controversy aside, we saw a fantastic try by Saints as Elliot crossed, and a brilliant bit of play from James Simpson-Daniel to set up young Gloucester lock Elliot Stooke.
Posted at 5:46 pm | 15 comments
Monday, September 23, 2013
Young Matthew Morgan scored an outstanding try for Ospreys as they maintained their RaboDirect Pro12 unbeaten record by beating Edinburgh 44-10 at the Liberty Stadium. His step, acceleration then all out gas added to the spectacle for the home crowd.
Morgan, still just 21-years-old, came on as a replacement and didn't take long to make his mark, breaking from deep by getting the better of a one-on-one with a trademark jink.
"It was classic Matthew Morgan," said Ospreys assistant coach Gruff Rees.
"I was pleased Ashley Beck was looking for the shift in possession from deep, showing he wants to play from that area. It gave Matthew the opportunity to have a look, drop his shoulder and exploit that one on one. We knew that good is in Matthew's game."
Nikki Walker came close to making a great try-saving tackle, but the TMO ruled that Morgan grounded the ball on or over the line, so the try stood, and Morgan went on to slot the conversion.
Posted at 7:54 pm | 26 comments
Last week Manu Tuilagi was the subject of a little bit of controversy after his bunny ears prank on David Cameron at Downing Street, but this past weekend a young Leicester Tigers fan got one back for the PM, and it was caught on video.
Tuilagi got a taste of his own medicine, totally oblivious to what was going on behind his head, before the Tigers' Aviva Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road.
And here is the photo of the cheeky fan with Tuilagi.
Posted at 12:26 pm | 5 comments
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Taranaki beat Bay of Plenty 21-3 in New Plymouth on Saturday evening, scoring two well taken tries in wet conditions. Here's a look at one of the tries and one of the moments of the match, a massive tackle by Taranaki centre Isaia Tuifua.
There was a big shot in the lead up to the Kurt Baker try - which has now been added on page two of this post - but this hit by Tuifua was the biggest of the match, and perhaps even the season.
Opposite number 12 Nick Evemy was rocked in the powerful hit by Tuifua, who got in position early and dominated in the tackle. It looked brutal in real time, so questions were asked.
The referee requested that it be checked by the TMO, just to make sure there was use of the arms, but as everyone at home could see, that wasn't a problem and the game carried on, with the big tackler being congratulated by his team mates and cheered by the crowd.
Earlier in the game Sevens star Baker had scored a very well taken try after he was put away down the wing from a pass that could well have been forward. It was also checked by the TMO, but they seemed to give the benefit of the doubt to Baker after a great chip and chase then finish.
The big tackle that caused the turnover, by Blade Thomson on Joe Tupe, didn't really get the credit or focus it deserved because of the pass and finish, but it was a beauty. You can view a video of that on page two, and below is Tuifua's huge tackle.
Posted at 6:35 pm | 17 comments