Monday, October 14, 2013
Toulouse got their Heineken Cup campaign off to a solid start with a convincing 38-5 bonus point victory over Zebre at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Friday night. They scored six tries but the most memorable finish of the night went to Zebre's Dion Berryman.
The French giants put the game out of reach in the first half despite Berryman's stunning superman effort early in the second. Three tries in nine minutes got them underway as Zebre looked like they would continue to struggle in Europe, continuing with their poor form from the Pro12.
Yoann Huget finished a stunning effort for the home side after Maxime Medard and Clement Poitrenaud combined to put him away. It was a contender for try of the match, and perhaps the round, but Berryman then produced a piece of magic to get Zebre's only try of the night.
From turnover ball he stepped Medard then shot for the corner and somehow managed to float through the air long enough to get the ball down, while the rest of his body was up and out of play.
We've seen this type of thing in the NRL in Australia before, but this was without a doubt one of the tries of a thoroughly enjoyable opening Heineken Cup weekend.
Yannick Nyanga scored for Toulouse later in the game, but Zebre did well to restrict the hosts from really running away with things. You can view all the match highlights on page two of this post, which includes that great Huget try that is mentioned above.
Posted at 6:14 am | 18 comments
Friday, October 11, 2013
It wasn't a happy afternoon for Nick Easter as Harlequins tasted an 18-13 defeat at the hands of London Irish, away last weekend. To make matters worse Easter took a tumble over a badly positioned drinks cooler.
The look on his face suggests a few medics will be off his Christmas cards list.
Although the ball did pop out of his hands at the end Easter deserves some credit, for a big man he showed impressive athleticism and good technique, never taking his eyes off the ball. Thankfully he didn't suffer an injury from the fall.
Anticipation is building for the first round of this year's Heineken Cup which kicks off this weeekend with the first twelve matches. Harlequins have been drawn in Pool 4 and will start their campaign tomorrow night against the Scarlets at the Twickenham Stoop.
"It's a tough group, along with Quins we also have big spenders Racing Metro and Clermont Auvergne and I don't think many people are giving us much of a chance" said Scarlets and Wales centre Jonathan Davies.
With both teams coming off the back of recent defeats, there will be plenty to prove in this Anglo-Welsh battle. Hopefully the drinks coolers will be placed a little further away from the action so that the biggest hits we'll be talking about are from the players.
View more amusing videos in our funnies section
Posted at 9:25 am | 4 comments
Thursday, October 10, 2013
This week's Top 5 video comes in the lead up to the Gold Coast Sevens, the first leg of the 2013/2014 IRB World Sevens Series. With that in mind, it's an expanded Top 7, celebrating the shortened form of the game, in the unique Rugby HQ style.
Earlier today Sevens fans got the great news that the IRB have decided to live stream the entire series on their website. If you are living in a country that doesn't have a broadcast partner, what that means is you will no longer be in the dark as you can keep up online.
You can take a look at the listings to see if live streaming of each tournament, starting with the Gold Coast, will be available in your country via the broadcast details page on the IRB website.
In Australia, where the opening tournament is being held, the guys at Fox Sports are getting in the swing of things by promoting the fancy dress aspect of the tournament, and of course the better or more entertaining bits of play we've seen in recent years.
Some of the items featured in this Top 7 compilation can be found in our Related Posts below, where you can view longer videos of the memorable moments. For now though, here is a hilarious edition of the Top 5's, with Anchorman Sean 'Burgundy' Maloney making an appearance.
Posted at 3:25 pm | 3 comments
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
The guys from BBC's Earth Unplugged went down to Bath Rugby recently to film a training session in high definition slow motion, giving us a different perspective on the sport we all love.
Rugby Impacts in Slow Motion features clips of the Bath guys training at Farleigh House, with Sam and Simon capturing the full force of the scrum, physics of the grubber kick and perhaps the bit that came out best on camera, the impact on the ball when Gavin Henson kicked it.
There is of course a scientific element to it, and it would have been great to see some big hits and collisions slowed down, but as it was filmed at the start of the season they weren't smashing one another, on that particular day anyway.
Posted at 4:51 pm | 14 comments
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Puma's scrumhalf Martin Landajo has been banned for a week for stamping during Argentina's 54-17 Rugby Championship final round loss to the Wallabies in Rosario on Saturday. He was cautioned by referee Wayne Barnes at the time, but was later cited.
Landajo appeared to be frustrated with the Australian players slowing the ball down, so took his frustrations out on the hands of both Saia Fainga'a and Adam Ashley-Cooper.
The latter confronted him angrily, clearly in a bit of pain after receiving some studs on the knuckles.
Referee Wayne Barnes had a good view of it, but upon referall to the TMO and seeing some TV replays, he was happy that a talking to and the penalty for the Wallabies should stand.
The citing commisioner however deemed it to be a red cad worthy offence, and it was referred to a discplinary hearing, where judicial officer Nigel Hampton said that it was a reckless attempt to free the ball at the back of the ruck.
"This was a lower end offence and, given the early guilty plea, Landajo's contrition and his good playing record, appropriately could be dealt with by a one week suspension," he explained.
Landajo has been suspended from all forms of the game, up to and including 14th October 2013.
The other incident of foul play in this match was when Rob Simmons hit Felipe Contepomi off the ball, knocking him to the turf. Simmons received a yellow card for it.
Posted at 5:07 pm | 37 comments
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen was pleased with the way his side handled the pressure of Ellis Park, beating the Springboks 38-27 in a classic encounter between the old rivals on Saturday. He said he was proud of what they have achieved.
Revered as one of the best games of rugby seen in recent times, the Springboks and All Blacks went toe to toe before the visitors grabbed the ascendancy midway through the second half.
As a result they claimed their second Rugby Championship title in as many years, and are fully deserving of their number one in the world status. They face the Wallabies next, before an end of year tour that sees them play against Japan, France, England and Ireland.
For now, Hansen was simply enjoying the win over South Africa, who threatened to snatch the title away from them after having lifted a notch themselves this season. "To come here, after all the travel, and have a performance like that you can only be proud," he said.
"Both teams really played well and you couldn't have asked for a better game of footy. To be able to come out on top is the icing on the cake.
"When we go back and look at it clearly there were a lot of special moments, and some great tries from both teams and some great play, so it was a pretty special Test," he added.
Posted at 10:23 am | 11 comments
Monday, October 07, 2013
The Wallabies surprised everyone by running riot in Rosario, beating Argentina 54-17 to keep Los Pumas winless in the Rugby Championship. Israel Folau scored a hat-trick as Ewen McKenzie's chargers restored some pride after a disappointing few months.
Australia would have dropped to sixth on the IRB World Rankings if they'd lost this one, but an impressive performance away from home helped McKenzie avoid becoming the first Wallabies coach to pick up a Rugby Championship wooden spoon.
It was their biggest victory over Argentina in 21 Tests, since they first met in 1979.
Fullback Folau picked up three tries and contributed to a few others as the visitors found gaps in the hosts' defence, with Joe Tomane also looking good with ball in hand.
"It's a real confidence booster for us. We're very, very happy with the result," said captain James Horwill. "We've been working very hard and it's good to see some of the things we've been working on come off. We're really pleased to get the result, especially over here in Rosario."
Felipe Contepomi made his farewell after a record 87 Test caps and 651 points, but it wasn't a game he will remember fondly after being hit off the ball by Rob Simmons, who was yellow carded.
"Congratulations to Australia, they came here against the wall and they played great rugby,'' said Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.
The Wallabies have one more big challenge before their overseas tour, as they travel to Dunedin to take on the All Blacks in the final Bledisloe Cup Test in two weeks time.
Posted at 6:31 am | 13 comments