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Monday, September 08, 2014

Samu Manoa Huge Hit on Billy Twelvetrees in Premiership opening weekend

The Aviva Premiership is up and running and that means Northampton Saints' bone-collector Samu Manoa is on the loose. He made this crunching hit on Gloucester's Billy Twelvetrees in the 53-6 thumping at Franklin's Gardens at the weekend.

We've seen lesser tackles penalised recently, so even if he started low and slid up, with the way things are sometimes viewed these days, he was probably quite lucky to get away with this one.

View more huge hits in the Big Hits section and more Manoa tackles in the Related Posts

Posted at 3:25 pm | 14 comments

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Springboks snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as Wallabies win in Perth

The Springboks suffered a heartbreaking defeat in Perth as a dubious yellow card to Test centurion Bryan Habana turned the match on it's head, as the Wallabies fought back brilliantly to score late in the game and win 24-23 in the rain.

The Wallabies struck first through magic man Israel Folau, who crossed with just a minute on the clock for a dream start. The Boks bounced back though, scoring an excellent try through Cornal Hendricks after some lovely hands from star fullback Willie Le Roux.

The Springboks shot out to a 23-14 lead in the second half but as the Wallabies attacked, Habana's desperation tackle was deemed high by Irish referee George Clancy. While reaching for the pocket he was told by the assistant ref to take another look, which he did, but still chose to card Habana.

Australia threw everything into attack and while some impressive defence held them out, a poor Morne Steyn error - not finding touch from a turnover penalty - gave them another crack with time almost up. Some brilliance from Kurtley Beale and Folau allowed Horne to finish well in the corner.

Waratah Foley stepped up and converted, giving them a 24-23 victory. Steyn's poor few minutes were capped off by him failing to kick the ball 10m from the restart, handing possession back to the home side, who hung on and celebrated a famous come from behind win.

It was the first Springbok in 11 months, but coach Heyneke Meyer chose not to comment on the Habana incident, or the puzzling high tackle penalty on Duane Vermeulen in the first half.

"What happened is done and it can’t be changed. We're very disappointed with the defeat because we played very well. I thought we controlled the second half very well, playing against the wind, and the yellow card disrupted our plans on how we wanted to use the bench.

"No excuses though, it's a defeat and it really hurts. We now need to set our sights on our next match, which is our third away from home on the trot, and rectify matters against New Zealand in Wellington. It will take a monumental effort and we’ve got a lot of respect for New Zealand, but I believe we can beat them there," he added ahead of next weekend's match. 

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Posted at 3:43 pm | 20 comments

Julian Savea scores a brace as All Blacks win comfortably vs Argentina

Julian Savea scored a brace of tries to take his tally to 26 in just 25 matches as the All Blacks beat Argentina 28-9 in Napier on Saturday. Los Pumas were highly competitive but a few key turning points allowed the home side to get a comfortable win.

Refereeing was a source of contention again this weekend, as the first Rugby Championship match of the day featured two key moments that had commentators, fans and pundits questioning how the officials managed to get them so wrong.

The first was early in the match, when powerful wing Savea was held back without the ball, and then later on with the score still close, Argentina's Leonardo Senatore charged down a kick, regathered and scored the try, but it was disallowed.

"There are things that happen in a game unfortunately," said captain Agustin Creevy post match.

You have to feel for the Pumas in particular, who were playing well away from home and could have been in with a chane in wet weather conditions if that try was given.

As it was, the All Blacks continued their dominance with a four-try victory and despite a poor kicking performance by Beauden Barrett, who was starting at number 10 for the first time in a Test, they scored through Liam Messam and Aaron Smith, as well as a try to Savea in each half.

"From a scrummaging point of view we should be very proud." said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. "We sometimes get underestimated at scrum time by others and tonight we scored a try right on half-time from their ball."

Injuries to flanker Messam and lock Sam Whitelock, and perhaps Barrett's kicking at goal, will be the only real concerns ahead of next weekend's Wellington Test against South Africa.

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Posted at 12:33 pm | 32 comments

Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday Funnies - James Haskell's wasp related banter with Chris Ashton

James Haskell and Chris Ashton will be on this weekend's Clare Balding Show, so here is a quick preview of a funny moment during one of the chats. Clare asked purveyor of all things banterish, London Wasps flanker Haskell, a peculiar question from a user on twitter.

England team mate Ashton chirps, but Haskell's trademark wit very quickly puts an end to that.

Viewers in the UK can watch the full Clare Balding Show on Saturday at 7pm on BT Sport 1

Posted at 1:45 pm | 3 comments

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Brian O'Driscoll Masterclass - Defensive play at the breakdown

Rugby Tonight have come up with another top quality masterclass video as we get a chance to learn from a legend, with Brian O'Driscoll talking Austin Healey through the best way to defend the breakdown in the midfield, or indeed in any tackle situation.

It's roughly seven minutes that are well worth watching, as the recently retired Ireland and Leinster legend uses his extensive playing experience at the highest level to go through exactly what takes place in various situations, and how to deal with it.

"It's a matter of trying to bend your legs, use the player as leverage to try and get down into a good position, tuck the head, and wait for those impacts to come," explains O'Driscoll.

He's also quick to point out that referees these days aren't too happy about players simply placing their hands on the ball to try and get the turnover. You need to actually make an effort to grab it. 

"Referees a lot of the time now aren't happy with you just going for the ball and kind of pretending to hold it in. You have to have an effort to try and pull it away from the opposition. Once they see the attacker holding on, they'll give you a penalty," he added.

When watching, you get the feeling that you could listen to him for hours and never get bored, as with all rugby legends. This is definitely one to share with your friends, kids and coaches.

Posted at 1:10 pm | 20 comments

Compilation of the Biggest Hits in World Rugby in August

There have been some fantastic big tackles lately, so here is a look at the best of August from around the world. Featured are massive tackles from the Currie Cup in South Africa, the ITM Cup in New Zealand, the Top 14 in France, and of course the Rugby Championship.

With the Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro12 kicking off this weekend, we're sure to see another impressive compilation at the end of September. Thanks to Sky Sports for putting this together.

View more crunching hits and quality tackles in our Big Hits section

Posted at 12:00 pm | 8 comments

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Catch up with MND sufferering Bok legend Joost Van Der Westhuizen

Motor Neuron Disease has been in the spotlight of late as the ALS Ice Bucket challenge has taken over social media, with celebrities and indeed rugby players taking part to raise money and awareness. One man who knows about it first hand is Springbok legend, Joost Van Der Westhuizen.

Van Der Westhuizen, who played for South Africa 89 times between 1993 and 2003, has been diagnosed with ALS, and has made it his personal mission to improve conditions, support and facilities for other sufferers out there. He does this through awareness, and his J9 foundation.

In a fascinating and harrowing 10 minute interview with Carte Blanche, he has spoken about how this has become his life's mission, and rugby was perhaps only there to get him to this point.

The video is hosted on DSTV's website - click the image above or watch the interview here

Posted at 3:29 pm | 5 comments