Sunday, October 05, 2014
Argentina beat the Wallabies for the first time since 1997, and in the process picked up their first ever win in the Rugby Championship since joining three years ago. The 21-17 victory was sealed with a Nicolas Sanchez penalty with five minutes to spare.
After a week that included off field drama with the Kurtley Beale in-flight incident, the Wallabies failed to capitalise on their strong start, after having scored within minutes of kickoff. Powerful centre Tevita Kuridrani crossed, before Scott Higginbotham slipped through for another.
They squandered the 14-0 lead however and a spirited Los Pumas side came back into the match following yellow cards to both Nick Phipps and skipper Michael Cooper.
A try to Number 8 Leonardo Senatore brought the home side back into it, along with a Sanchez penalty as they trailed 14-8 at the break. Winger Juan Imhoff then scored when Phipps was in the sinbin, and Sanchez’s sideline conversion set up a tense final 20 minutes.
Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley missed two kicks at goal in the last ten minutes, including one that hit the posts. Unfortunately the visitors had to contend with the now infamous green lasers in their eyes when taking kicks, something that is sadly becoming synonymous with matches there.
Michael Hooper was yellow carded in the 73rd minute for taking out a player in the air, so Sanchez sealed the win with the penalty kick, and the Pumas players and fans celebrated the historic victory.
Full highlights will follow soon. Let us know your thoughts on the match in the comments below
Posted at 11:54 am | 23 comments
Saturday, October 04, 2014
The battle between the top two teams in the world lived up to it's billing yet again, but this time it was the Springboks that beat the All Blacks 27-25, after another epic Test match. A long range penalty by Pat Lambie secured the win at the death.
The Springboks lived up to their intentions of playing a more expansive game, as both sides played positive rugby in a highly entertaining first half. The home side scored three times, including a brace for young Handre Pollard who not long ago was named the IRB Junior Player of the Year.
Before that Francois Hougaard got on the end of an excellent length of the field effort, with the attacking mindset under coach Heyneke Meyer paying dividends.
For the visitors Julian Savea was lethal, beating tackles on a number of occasions. When he isn't bumping them off, he kicks well, as seen with the first half try he set up for Malakai Fekitoa.
This was a bruising, epic battle and while the Boks led 24-13 at the break, the World Champions wrestled their way back into the match in the second half, scoring two tries to take a 25-24 lead with ten minutes left.
A Schalk Burger carry prompted a no arms tackle by Liam Messam, who appeared to have no malicious intent but did make contact with Burger's sizable head as he ducked into the tackle. The footage was missed by the officials but it was beamed onto the big screen, and around the world, and the crowd soon got referee Wayne Barnes' attention.
As with protocol, he opted to take a look at it, and after speaking to the TMO, made the call to penalise Messam, bringing the play back to 55m out, from which then replacement Lambie had an opportunity to slot three points.
He did so on the Highveld with relative ease, keeping his head down beautifully and taking the lead for the home side, sending 61000 fans at Ellis Park into raptures.
"Pat never answered me on how far he could kick when I asked him at the captain’s run, so I was not sure if he could kick those long ones," said coach Heyneke Meyer of the flyhalf.
"I am very pleased with Pat, he really worked hard. Handre was awesome as well and we now have great depth at flyhalf, considering we have Morne Steyn and Johan Goosen as well.
He also spoke about the incredible support in Johannesburg, and the respect between the teams.
"I have been involved in rugby for almost 30 years and this support was unbelievable. We saw the crowd support on the way into the stadium and the national anthem was awesome.
"It was an unbelievable test match. At home you have to pull these close matches through. We are relieved that this is done now. The win was due. We appreciate the compliments the All Blacks gave us afterwards, we do respect each other," he added.
Duane Vermeulen was all over the park, despite being out injured for the entire week. He played with broken ribs, only being passed fit on the morning of the Test. He earned Man of the Match.
Posted at 7:17 pm | 89 comments
Thursday, October 02, 2014
While Rugby World Cup 2015 ticket applications have now closed, there are two teams that are still unsure if they'll even be there though. Russia and Uruguay played their first leg play-off at the weekend, hoping for a sport in Pool A.
Russia narrowly beat Uruguay 22-21 in the first of two legs to determine who will qualify as the 20th and final team at next year's World Cup. One of the two sides will be part of Pool A, to take on England, Australia, Wales and Fiji.
Going into the second leg, Russia have a tiny lead, following a try from prop Grigory Tsobiladze and an excellent kicking display by flyhalf Yuri Kushnarev.
Seven Felipe Berchesi penalties kept the South Americans in contention until the very end, but they couldn't sneak past Russia, who will need to lift themselves again for the away leg in a fortnight.
"We need to improve our discipline. We had two yellow cards today that cost us a lot," said Russia's coach Raphael Saint-Andre.
"In the second half we had too many penalties against. It is why they came back into the game. So with a bit more discipline, we have got a chance in Montevideo. Today their kicker was on fire and maybe it won't be the same in two weeks."
The return leg in Montevideo on 11th October will be streamed live on Rugbyworldcup.com
Below is a short recap from the IRB's Total Rugby on the game, played in Krasnoyarsk.
Posted at 11:36 am | 0 comments
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Ulster prop Declan Fitzpatrick appeared before an independent PRO12 Rugby Disciplinary Committee today, following his sending off for striking Zebre hooker Andrea Manici in the Guinness PRO12 match between Zebre and Ulster on Saturday.
Following an altercation on the floor, Fitzpatrick was shown red after a TMO recommendation. It wasn't clear to see what started it, but the Ulsterman clearly took contact himself.
A committee, chaired by Simon Thomas, along with Terry Vaux and Robert Williams (all Wales), viewed TV footage of the incident and listened to representations made by and on behalf of the player. They found that the incident was at the low end of the IRB sanctions for the type of offence, carrying a 2 week sanction. [Law 10.4(a): Striking another player with a hand, arm or fist]
In the absence of any aggravating factors and in light of several compelling mitigating factors, including the player's exemplary previous playing record, the Committee applied a one week reduction from the entry point and suspended the player from playing for one week.
Fitzpatrick is free to resume playing from Monday 6 October 2014 and has the right of appeal.
The incident can be viewed at the beginning of the official highlights video below
Posted at 3:11 pm | 19 comments
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The IRB have launched a new concussion education drive, led by the video below, featuring stars of the game. The goal is to educate players, coaches and parents around the world to Recognise and Remove when it comes to knocks to the head.
In recent years, particularly since the George Smith incident on the Lions tour of Australia, concussion management has become a real concern, and an area that has demanded attention.
This video is hoped to be central to a game-wide education programme aimed at informing those involved in the sport about the symptoms and dangers of concussion on the rugby field.
Delivering the Recognise and Remove message are Wales' Dr Jamie Roberts, England's Women's Rugby World Cup winner Maggie Alphonsi, Australia Sevens star Emilee Cherry, All Black Keven Mealamu and Italy captain Sergio Parisse.
Education sits at the top of the IRB and its Unions commitment to changing culture when it comes to taking concussion seriously at all levels of the Game.
The video will feature alongside player, coach and medic education at IRB tournaments and supplements education programmes delivered by individual Unions on an on-going basis.
Research-based advances in on-field assessment of head injuries and graduated return to play protocols are benefiting the elite game, while at community level promotion of correct playing techniques and longer rest periods for youths is also supporting players.
All of this is underpinned by research and guidance by a panel of field-leading independent experts.
An enhanced concussion education website featuring public guidance and key information on the Recognise and Remove programme in English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese has also been launched. Learn more at www.irbplayerwelfare.com
Posted at 1:23 pm | 7 comments
Monday, September 29, 2014
The All Blacks retained the Rugby Championship with a game to spare after claiming a 34-13 bonus point victory over Argentina on Saturday. Next weekend's fixture against South Africa shifts to a matter of pride, rather than the title being on the line.
The win in La Plata secured a third successive Rugby Championship title for the World Champions, who scored tries through Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Julian Savea and TJ Perenara.
Despite there being one match left to play between the All Blacks and the Springboks in Johannesburg, even a bonus-point victory for the hosts will leave them a point behind the leaders, and now winners, of the the 2014 edition of the southern hemisphere quadrangular tournament.
Richie McCaw said post match that finding motivation certainly won't be a problem when it comes to facing their arch rivals at Ellis Park this coming Saturday.
"It won't take much. When the All Blacks play South Africa, especially in South Africa, that's one of the games you live for so the boys will enjoy tonight and then look forward to next week."
The skipper acknowledged Argentina's part in what was a good contest, despite the final scoreline.
"The Pumas came to play and it was a pretty good match to watch because both teams came to play, I'm just proud the guys took their chances. We defended really well and didn't let them across the line until the end and I'm really proud of the guys because it really showed their backbone."
View quick highlights below (better will be updated if possible), and on page two you can get a look inside the sheds with the New Zealand team after the match, and hear their thoughts on the victory
Posted at 5:19 pm | 7 comments
A late flurry of tries gave the Springboks a convincing 28-10 victory over the Wallabies in Cape Town, but the final score doesn't reflect what happened for the majority of what was an extremely tight Rugby Championship Test match.
The Wallabies led 10-5 at halftime before the Springboks edged ahead with a Pat Lambie dropgoal in the 69th minute. What followed was an unbelievable ten minutes of rugby, with the home side scoring three tries, to add to the one in the first half, and claim a bonus point victory.
"I feel sorry for the players, they set the game up for the win and that won't be reflected in the final score, it will probably be forgotten," said Wallabies coach Ewan McKenzie post match.
"There was some really good stuff from our guys, we were in a good position to win it. We will have to look at the video and see why we didn't."
With the match finally poised, a string of well timed substitutions, including that of former IRB Player of the Year Schalk Burger, seemed to up the momentum and tempo for South Africa. Lambie took control, and despite missing kicks at goal, slotted the dropgoal and scored a great try of his own.
Captain Jean De Villiers scored twice, including after the final hooter, to cap what was a memorable day for Springbok rugby, as they gave themselves a chance of snatching the Rugby Championship title, if it were not for the All Blacks' victory over Argentina a few hours later.
"Australia's defence was awesome in the first 60 minutes and we were frustrated at times," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. "But the players that came off the bench upped the tempo and were brilliant. Last year we scored the most tries in the competition, I know we can score when we keep the ball in hand."
De Villiers said he is looking forward to the clash with rivals New Zealand next weekend.
"We will take all the good from this match into next week. We came so close to beating New Zealand in Wellington and I think we can be very competitive next weekend at Ellis Park."
Below are quick highlights (longer up soon if possible) and the press conference chat with shell-shocked McKenzie and Wallaby skipper Michael Hooper is on the next page.
Posted at 11:34 am | 4 comments