Thursday, July 04, 2013
Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara scored a try as part of a losing effort against the Chiefs, but one of the more memorable moments of the game came a few minutes later, as he showed great courage to make a tackle despite receiving a nasty knock.
The battle of the number nines, between Perenara and Chiefs counterpart Tawera Kerr-Barlow, was tipped as one to watch in terms of who could impress and push for higher honours.
While Perenara did score a try, he made a few errors too so perhaps didn't put in the performance he'd hoped for, with the Rugby Championship coming up for the All Blacks.
Ironically it was Kerr-Barlow that was involved in the injury he suffered, albeit unintentionally.
His legs swung around as he made a tackle on Julian Savea, catching Perenara who getting in position to clear the ball. He dropped immediately and it looked quite painful, but when the turnover occurred, he made a courageous effort to get up and not only chase back half way across the field, but make an important tackle.
He ran it off for a while but was later replaced so they could treat the ankle with an icepack.
Yes, some cynics may say that the story would have been better if the injury was more severe, but thankfully it wasn't, and regardless of the long term seriousness, it was brilliant to see that level of dedication in the moment, and it was one of our highlights of the weekend.
Posted at 5:19 am | 16 comments
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Warren Gatland has made six changes to the side that faced the Wallabies last weekend, shocking fans by dropping Brian O'Driscoll, who had been widely tipped to captain the team in his last ever British & Irish Lions game.
With the omission of captain Sam Warburton through injury, O'Driscoll appeared to be the front runner to take over on his fourth Lions tour. Instead, a midfield change has meant he's not even on the bench, and Alun Wyn Jones will skipper the side.
"Picking this team was not easy and ultimately with several players available after recovering from injury the head overruled the heart in many selection decisions," said coach Gatland.
There are a record equalling 10 Welshmen in the team, the first time since 1950.
"It has been a challenging tour and we have had our fair share of injuries but we always knew that would be the case. Brian O'Driscoll is a great player and has had a wonderful career but for the final Test in Sydney we just felt Jamie Roberts' presence offered us something more."
It's a decision that has dismayed fans as the deciding Test was set up perfectly - should the Lions win it - for a famous send off for one of the greatest rugby players of his generation.
O'Driscoll was reportedly told before the team was announced, which he appreciated.
Elsewhere, Mike Phillips returns to start instead of Ben Youngs, and Sean O'Brien gets a start, along with Toby Faletau. Alex Corbisiero also returns from injury, and Richard Hibbard will start at hooker.
"Mike Phillips and Alex Corbisiero were 1st Test selections and would probably have played in the 2nd Test if not for injury. Richard Hibbard, Toby Faletau and Sean O'Brien have also earned their starting places.
"It all comes down to Saturday. Winner takes all. We know we can leave nothing in the tank and that only a complete performance will get us across the line," said Gatland.
British & Irish Lions
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 1 Alex Corbisiero, 2 Richard Hibbard, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Sean O’Brien, 8 Toby Faletau
Replacements 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Makovina Vunipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Manu Tuilagi
Posted at 9:50 am | 103 comments
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
South African and New Zealand sides played their rounds of Super Rugby at the weekend, with the Sharks narrowly defeating the Blues in Durban. One of the funnier moments was when forward Jean Deysel lost his shirt, but continued playing.
Deysel, a powerhouse loose forward who at one stage looked destined for regular senior honours, made his Springbok debut in 2009 and has played in four Tests.
Known for his big carries in particular, Deysel added a new move to his repertoire against the Blues. He had his jersey torn by a Rene Ranger tackle so rather than run around with it in tatters, he did what any good Hulkamania fan would do, and ripped it off.
Once that was taken care of, it was back to business as he simply carried on playing.
Unfortunately for him the passage of play actually went on for quite a while, and he was required to carry the ball and pick and go from a ruck, which he did so dutifully.
The crowd loved it, and when play finally ended after a few minutes, normality resumed.
Posted at 2:36 pm | 7 comments
Wallaby skipper James Horwill has been cleared after an appeal from the IRB against the decision that found that he did not intentionally stamp on Lions lock Alun-Wyn Jones. Horwill has said that he feels vindicated following the lengthy legal process.
Horwill was originally exonerated by judicial officer Nigel Hampton after being cited for stamping in the opening 23-21 loss to the Lions in Brisbane. Despite a lengthy hearing and up to nine different camera angles being used to reach the not guilty verdict, the IRB appealed the decision.
Yesterday another hearing took place, this time with Independent Appeal Officer Graeme Mew.
He noted that for the IRB appeal to succeed he would have had to establish that there was a misapprehension of law by Hampton, or a manifestly unreasonable decision.
"There was sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable judicial officer could have reached the decision that was made," Mew said. "Accordingly, it could not be said that (he) was manifestly wrong or that the interests of justice otherwise required his decision be overturned."
Mew also stated the IRB appeal had been properly taken as part of its responsibilities to protect the image of the game and ensure player welfare.
Horwill will be free to play in the deciding third Test, and said he feels vindicated by the result.
"It's huge. I love what I do and it means a hell of a lot to me to represent my country and not only to represent it but to lead it in what is arguably the biggest game in this country since the Rugby World Cup final in 2003," the 37 times capped Wallaby said.
"I'm excited at that opportunity and now we can focus on the game, which is important. I feel very vindicated by the way it's gone.
The Wallabies host the Lions in the final Test in Sydney on Saturday at 20:00 (10:00 GMT)
The guys at RugbyHQ in Australia, never shy to stir things up with Lions fans, had a #JusticeForHorwill hashtag running on Twitter before the verdict was announced. It fueled the 'banter', some of which was even directed Rugbydump's way for some reason, so here is their follow up, with Sean Maloney reading one of the lovely tweets we received.
Posted at 10:34 am | 23 comments
Monday, July 01, 2013
It's Monday so time for the weekly British and Irish Lions warap-up as we look back on the second Test with HSBC Lions Weekly, featuring exclusive interviews and thoughts from legends past and present, in the build up to and following the second Test.
Featuring an exclusive chat between Jonathan Davies and Brian O'Driscoll the morning after the Test, we also get to hear from the Wallaby side with views from former winger Joe Roff, former Wallaby captain George Gregan, and then former Lions star Jason Robinson.
Some of the points discussed:
Brian O’Driscoll on Test 3: "I think we can win, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever."
Robinson on Folau: "He’ll be one of the Wallaby greats"
Davies on Folau: "I don't think the pressure will affect him"
Posted at 3:58 pm | 9 comments
Despite going down 40-12 to the Crusaders in Dunedin, the Highlanders scored first through a piece of individual brilliance from Tamati Ellison, that resulted in a try for Ben Smith. It was just one of many great moments in an eventful Super Rugby game.
The Highlanders took the lead through Smith early in the game and when Hosea Gear scored later, they seemed in with a shout. However the red card sending off of Ma'a Nonu, for a spear tackle, didn't do them any favours and the Crusaders ran away with things.
Early on it was all about that Ellison pass though, as he got the ball under pressure, fended with one hand in the tackle then spun around to pull off one of the greatest passes of the season, if not ever.
"I don't care what you call it, that's the greatest pass I think I've ever seen," said commentator Scotty Sumo Stevenson live on air.
The former All Black was humble when reacting to it on Twitter, giving credit to Smith.
"You can throw anything at @bensmithotago and he will score!" said the centre.
Obviously it was all about the Crusaders on the night, who were outstanding and scored some great tries of their own, but this Ellison pass really was a thing of beauty.
While the Lions tour of Australia is obviously big news right now, if there was any action you spotted in Super Rugby or at the RWC Sevens that you think should be shared on here, please get in touch by dropping us an email, tweeting, or leaving a request on the forum.
Posted at 9:07 am | 13 comments
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Earlier in Melbourne George North did something that we've probably never seen on the rugby field at this level. Winger Israel Folau went in to tackle him, but North decided he'd counter that by simply picking up the big Wallaby and running with him. As you do.
North, a man mountain himself, lifted 6'4 Folau, stuck him on his shoulder, and with the ball in one hand he literally carried him back towards his own tryline.
As spectacular as it was, North actually ended up coming off worse for wear as he was dumped to the floor when the two players went to ground.
His head was driven into the turf WWE style, something followers on Twitter didn't miss. In fact the term DDT, which is an old wrestling move that looks pretty similar, was practically trending.
The good news for Lions fans is that North continued playing after a quick checkup, but he'll probably have a bit of a headache tomorrow, and might not try that move again in a hurry.
Highlights of the game are now up and you can share your thoughts on the overall result, and the predictions for next week's decider, here.
Posted at 2:14 pm | 27 comments