Monday, September 16, 2013
Saracens achieved a comfortable 44-12 victory over Gloucester at Allianz Park on Sunday after prop Nick Wood was sent off for stamping with just 73 seconds on the clock. It was the second fastest sending off in the history of the Premiership.
The home side went top of the table after the game was played with 15 against 14, and Gloucester struggled to cope with what would have been a big challenge even with a full side.
It came about after Wood, eager to get Jacques Burger clear at a ruck, made contact with the Namibian flanker's head, giving referee Wayne Barnes no option but to send him from the park.
It was not only one of the quickest dismissals ever, but one of the fastest decisions, as Barnes had the card out before the players could even react, with a push and shove, to what had happened.
Wood was clearly distraught at what he'd done, going over to apologise to Burger before taking his place on the bench, head in hands thinking about the position he'd put his team in.
"It is very difficult for Nick - he's in bits in the changing-room," said Gloucester's director of rugby Nigel Davies post match. "He's apologised for what happened.
"I saw it on the big screen and it didn't look great. But he is not a dirty player. He's a good technician and a good player. Everyone makes mistakes. He will come back stronger from this."
Wood and Burger could be seen shaking hands and chatting on the field after the match.
Incidentally, the fastest ever Premiership sending off was by Mike Watson of London Scottish in 1999, when he lasted just 42 seconds against Bath.
With Wood off the field, Saracens went on to score five tries and take a comfortable victory. Following the win, Saracens are now 2/1 with Betfair to win the Premiership.
Note: Perform Group removed the original video. Below are match highlights, including the stamp
UPDATE Wed 18 Sep: Nick Wood has been banned for 8 weeks.
Posted at 8:21 am | 19 comments
Saturday, September 14, 2013
The All Blacks beat the Springboks 29-15 in Auckland earlier after the visitors had one of their key players, Bismarck Du Plessis, sent off following a second yellow card. The first however, is what infuriated the majority of rugby fans around the globe.
Du Plessis, who had already shown his value with at least two breakdown turnovers and some strong carries, flew into flyhalf Dan Carter, smashing him to the ground in a massive tackle.
A fight broke out after Ma' Nonu and Willem Alberts got in a bit of a tussle, then the rest of both packs joined in while Carter was crouched over with an apparent AC Joint shoulder injury.
Referee Romain Poite asked TMO George Ayoub to check for foul play, to which Ayoub responded (after having a look) that there was no foul play.
Poite then yellow carded Du Plessis, saying that it was a high tackle. Respected members of the rugby fraternity, and players both past and present, took to twitter to share their surprise and dismay at a decision that had the potential to alter the outcome of a classic content.
In the studio at halftime, former All Black captain Sean Fitpatrick said "The worst performance of the day was from the referee. He got that one wrong".
Justin Marshall, co-commentator on the day for Sky NZ, was outspoken in his view of it. "That's rubbish. It's just a big tackle," he said when seeing the replays. "Get real. Come on... Absolutely okay and to say no arms is ridiculous".
Du Plessis came back on and scored a try, but early in the second half he led with his elbow as Liam Messam went in for an upright tackle, and it was deemed to be dangerous, resulting in his second yellow card and of course, a red card sending off.
Adriaan Strauss was brought on as a hooker replacement so Alberts had to be sacrificed. The Springboks couldn't cope a man down, and despite Kieran Read and Ma'a Nonu also being yellow carded in the last seven minutes, the home side chalked up yet another win at Eden Park.
Springbok captain Jean De Villiers chose not to directly discuss the officials' decisions. "It was as hard as always when you play the All Blacks, but I guess the fact that we played with 14 men for 50 minutes did not make it any easier for us," De Villiers said.
UPDATE: The IRB have acknowledged that the decision by Poite to yellow card Du Plessis for the tackle on Carter was incorrect. Consequently, a SANZAR hearing has ruled that the red card be struck from the record as the decision was wrong and the tackle was within the laws of the game.
Posted at 9:29 am | 191 comments
Friday, September 13, 2013
On Saturday the All Blacks host the Springboks for one of the biggest games of the year, as the visitors are in confident mood and looking to knock the number one side in the world off their perch. After that Argentina take on the Wallabies, looking for their first win in the tournament.
Michael Lynagh and Sean Fitzpatrick discuss how they see their respective sides doing, with Fitzpatrick, who was captain when New Zealand last lost at fortress Eden Park in 1994, suggesting that he thinks that their proud record might just be in a bit of danger.
We've also included an All Blacks vs Boks preview from Rugby HQ on page two of this post, where Dan Carter says that the only way to beat the Sprinboks' physical game is to match them.
Pickup free bets, follow the odds and make predictions here
All Blacks vs Springboks kicks off at 19:35 local time, 7:35am (GMT), and 9:35am South African time. Australia vs Argentina kicks off in Perth at 18:05, 10:05am (GMT), and 7:05am in Argentina.
Posted at 4:13 pm | 0 comments
With rugby being the contact sport that it is, things don't always go quite to plan and tackles often get misjudged, sometimes resulting in malicious looking consequences. Timing is everything. Here's Rugby HQ's take on the Top 5 tackles gone wrong.
We've featured each one of these over the years, the most recent being George North's epic tackle and self-headslam with Israel Folau in the recent Wallabies vs British & Irish Lions series.
Lions captain Sam Warburton made an equally high profile tackle in the Rugby World Cup semi final in 2011. His ended in a red card, and somewhat tainted Wales' chances of progressing to a final.
It was a big call by Alain Roland, but these days, as was seen with Michael Hooper last weekend, you simply can't lift or tip a player like that.
A while back we featured a clip of Sitiveni Sivivatu flipping Cheetahs back JW Jonker over his head. It remains one of the wildest tackles in the archive, and although Jonker was fine, it was incredibly dangerous. Sivivatu disagreed.
In 2009 there was a nasty incident in Sydney club rugby as winger Leon Bott completely mistimed a tackle under a high ball, smashing Randwick's David Dillon early, putting him in intensive care with a ruptured spleen. Surgery followed, but Dillon recovered well.
The final tackle here is one of the worst high shots in recent years, as Fritz Lee almost decapitated Luke Hamilton in the ITM Cup. Lee was shown a straight red for what was an incredibly dangerous shot, and thankfully Hamilton was fine, showing his mettle by playing on.
View all the Top 5's from Rugby HQ that we've posted over the last few months, and you can take a longer look at each one of these incidents in the related posts below
Posted at 8:35 am | 2 comments
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Leinster flyhalf Ian Madigan was recently asked to take part in a promo video for Impact Gumshields. The intention was to show how much protection they offer, but it turned out to be one of the most painful gumshield tests you're likely to see.
Last week James Murphy, co-founder of the company and seen here taking one for the team, popped up on Skype to explain that he was still aching from a video they'd just shot with Madigan.
He said that Madigan was told to go for his face, but was of course, welcome to aim wherever he wanted to. The young Leinsterman didn't need a second invitation.
His bullet pass, shot on the first take, was perfectly aimed, and that was the end of filming for the day. In fact, that was all they needed to create this great promo video, which since going live has already spread virally across Ireland and now further afield too.
Madigan's cheeky grin after says it all, and he can be heard saying "I think it was a small bit low".
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Posted at 10:34 am | 25 comments
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Biarritz scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvili was yellow carded for dangerous high tackle against Toulon in the Top 14 this past weekend. Delon Armitage, who we have seen dish out a few of his own in the last few years, was unlucky to be on the receiving end.
Armitage wasn't badly injured by it but he did stay down for a while, clearly shaken by the swinging forearm to the face. Yachvilli received his marching orders, even though he didn't look too pleased.
Both are highly competitive characters, so when Armitage broke and was only just caught by Zee Ngwenya, Yachvili made sure he was there to put in a hit. Unfortunately it was in the face.
Armitage hasn't been too popular with fans in France, particularly after the hand gesture incident with Brock James in the Heineken Cup final. You can actually hear a bit of a boo and some whistles when he set off with the ball at the start of this clip.
Some in the crowd also probably felt he was milking it, but after seeing the replays of Yachvili's tackle, it's no surprise that the former England fullback stayed down.
View the Related Posts for more videos featuring the two colourful charters over the years
Posted at 5:04 pm | 33 comments
Two New Zealand props have been suspended following stamping and raking incidents in the ITM Cup fourth round match between Southland and Waikato in Invercargill. Ben Tameifuna and Jamie Mackintosh have both been suspended for one week.
Judicial hearings took place for separate incidents after Tameifuna trod all over Mackintosh, then later in the game the big Southland captain rucked the back of replament Sam Christie.
In the first of the two incidents, Waikato giant Tameifuna saw Mackintosh on the floor and in an attempt to clear him out, he jumped on his legs, which in the view of judicial office Chris Morris was 'reckless but not intentional'. He stated that 'more care was needed in future'.
As for Mackintosh, he got his own back a little later in the match, although it was on a replacement back who had fallen on the wrong side of a tackle and was blocking quick ball.
The Southland skipper's rucking was lauded by the old school commentators, with former Otago flank and captain Kelvin Middleton saying that Christie got what he deserved.
The referee let it go and actually warned Waikato for slowing the ball down, but the citing officers disagreed, and Mackintosh was cited for stamping, a breach a breach of law 10.4(b).
Morris said that the stamping was forceful rucking and that the number of times the boot had made contact with Christie's back had put it into a more serious category. He did however say that it was at the low end of the offence, and a one week suspension was appropriate.
Mackintosh, who funnily enough went off with a foot injury, voiced his disappointment on Twitter.
"Watch out everybody if u ruck someone who lies on the ball it's a week suspension," he said.
Posted at 11:04 am | 32 comments