Monday, July 01, 2013
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
The Wallabies came from behind to score a late try and give Christian Leali'ifano a match winning shot at goal with just minutes left in the second Test against the Lions. The Brumbies playmaker calmly slotted the conversion, giving the hosts a 16-15 win.
Leai'ifano was knocked out just seconds into the first Test, but today he showed how valuable he may have been last weekend, handly the big game pressure with aplomb to seal the win.
In what was somewhat of a reverse of what happened last week, the Lions had a last minute opportunity to kick at goal to win the game, but it was just outside of Leigh Halfpenny's range.
Not quite up there with the thrilling nature of the Brisbane Test, the game was tense and tight with many errors from both sides, but the Lions edged it at halftime, leading 12-9.
Another Halfpenny penalty gave them a 15-9 lead and with less than ten minutes left and the Wallabies hot on attack, a penalty was awarded but James Horwill and Will Genia made the big call to go for a scrum close to the line, rather than take the three points.
What followed was a famous try for Adam Ashley-Cooper, as the Lions defence finally parted and the first and only try of the game was scored with just a few minutes left on the clock.
"It was really important to retain that belief we've been working on for so many years. Six points down, there was a lot of frustration out there because possession was letting us down in terms of ball security," said the Wallabies' Mr dependable, Ashley-Cooper.
"In the end, Test match football is about grinding it out and going to the 80th minute. Fortunately for us, we were able to get the points. The key messages were possession and ball security.
"We had to get in the Lions half, hold onto the ball and build pressure. We had to get over the gain line and we knew points would come through penalties or through space."
For neutrals, the series is set up perfectly as it's now 1-1 with the decider to come next week.
"It's really going to make for a cracking final next week in Sydney," added Ashley-Cooper.
What are your thoughts on the game, and after watching today, how do you see things panning out in Sydney next weekend?
Posted at 12:37 pm | 43 comments
Friday, June 28, 2013
To get you in the mood for the second Test that kicks off in the not too distant future, here's a look back to the the second Test the last time the Lions were in Australia, in 2001. Twelve years ago the visitors went one nil up to start the series too.
On that occasion the Wallabies bounced back well with a convincing 35-14 win in Melbourne.
The Lions took an early lead but Joe Roff's famous intercept swung things the way of the hosts, and set them on their way for a famous win that levelled the series 1-1. Matt Burke scored 25 points and until this weekend, it was the only previous occasion that the two sides had met at that venue.
Above is a mashup of the big moments from the game, but if you'd prefer more traditional, longer highlights, there is an excellent ten minute highlights package on page two of this post.
Posted at 6:00 pm | 10 comments
Young British & Irish Lions winger George North has apologised for the finger pointing taunt he made when scoring that incredible try in the first Test against the Wallabies. Coincidentally, we happen to be launching some new shirts featuring him today.
The big winger scored an amazing try in Brisbane but the excitement clearly got the better of him on the way to the tryline as he stuck his finger out to taunt the world's best scrumhalf, Will Genia.
The incident was largely overlooked by Lions fans, but in recent times we've seen players like Delon Armitage take an awful amount of abuse for doing something similar.
Twenty one year old North realised that it may have caused offence, and has opted to apologise, saying that he feels 'horrendous' for doing it. "I got caught up in the emotion of the try," he said.
Aside from that hiccup, North has been a star so far, with that try no doubt set to go down as one of the best ever scored on a Lions tour.
We've brought out new shirts for Lions hungry fans, celebrating the great effort from the young man, as well as supporting the team that we know so many of you feel extremely passionate about.
The message for the Lions now appears to be quite simple - get the ball to North.
We're also acknowledging flyhalf Jonny Sexton, who has been solid and will be key in the 2nd Test.
You can get the new shirts, as well as many others, in the Rugbydump store today
Posted at 11:23 am | 17 comments
Thursday, June 27, 2013
After a break, here's the latest Plays of the Week from the guys at Rugby HQ, featuring the Wallabies vs Lions first Test, a bit of ballsy play from Samoa vs South Africa, and some action from the New Zealand vs France third test. There's plenty more too.
We've also archived the last two week's editions of Plays, which you can view on page two. They include some of the June tour action, as well as some Super Rugby wrap-ups.
There are big hits, funnies, great tries and all the usual stuff from the Rugby HQ crew.
Today's latest Plays are above, and then the other two segments (also well worth seeing) are on the second page. You can also view everything at once by hitting the view all option below.
Remember that our Plays of the Week archive features all segments from the last few years
Catch Plays of the Week live every Thursday from 8.30pm on Fox Sports 1 in Australia
Posted at 2:44 pm | 2 comments
The Lions and Wallabies teams for the second Test of the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia have been announced. Both sides feature changes to those that played in the first game, some through injury and other's based on form.
The Lions starting XV comprises five changes to the side that won in Brisbane last Saturday.
Scrum-half Ben Youngs is promoted from the bench to replace Mike Phillips. He joins brother Tom, who plays his second Test at hooker, while flanker Dan Lydiate, who captained the Lions against the Rebels on Tuesday night, replaces Tom Croft and wing Tommy Bowe takes over from Alex Cuthbert on the right wing following his return to full fitness.
Geoff Parling replaces Paul O’Connell, who suffered a fracture to his right arm in the 1st Test while Makovina Vunipola takes over Alex Corbisiero, who strained a calf muscle in the same game.
On the bench there are five changes with Ryan Grant, Sean O’Brien, Conor Murray, Tom Croft and Alex Cuthbert earning spots alongside Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole and Owen Farrell.
"Several players have put their hands up this week and have forced their way into the Test side while several players have returned to fitness," said Head Coach Warren Gatland.
"That is typical of Lions tours. We want players to constantly push for selection, we then select who is on form and who is available. Based on that we have selected a squad that is capable of winning the Test and securing the series."
The Wallabies have had big boosts as Christian Leali'ifano and Adam Ashley-Cooper have both recovered from a head knock and shoulder problem respectively. That means that there are only two changes to the starting XV, with Kurtley Beale coming in at fullback for Berrick Barnes, and Joe Tomane on the wing for Digby Ioane.
On the bench dynamic Brumbies back Jesse Mogg replaces Beale, while Rob Horne comes in for Pat McCabe, who will be out for the rest of the year with a neck injury.
Second Test - Etihad Stadium, Saturday June 29, 8:05pm, (11:05am BST)
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Will Genia, 1 Benn Robinson, 2 Stephen Moore, 3 Ben Alexander, 4 Kane Douglas, 5 James Horwill (captain), 6 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 8 Wycliff Palu
Replacements 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Rob Horne, 23 Jesse Mogg
British & Irish Lions
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 George North, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Makovina Vunipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 8 Jamie Heaslip
Replacements 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Alex Cuthbert
Posted at 7:32 am | 40 comments