Wednesday, February 19, 2014
This week's O2 Inside Line takes us into the England camp as they prepare for their Six Nations match against Ireland at Twickenham this coming weekend. Despite dominating Scotland two weeks ago, this will be a far tougher challenge for the home side.
England coach Stuart Lancaster has opted to include youngster George Ford in his matchday squad, saying that the time is right after experiencing a full three weeks of training.
"We have successfully integrated and included many young players over the last two years and George is the next exciting talent to make his mark in the senior squad and we are a looking forward to see him develop over the next few months," said Lancaster.
In the front row, prop Dan Cole saw a specialist and has since been ruled out for three months with a neck injury. Cole has a bulging disc and will be replaced by David Wilson.
In this week's O2 Inside Line some of the England players go through Player Analysis, looking at both Ireland and England. Team Mates features Jack Nowell and Billy Vunipola, and Player Cam is given to Billy Twelvetrees and Mako Vunipola, who gives us a guided tour of the weights room.
RFU's Ticket Officer, Hannah Collins, then talks us through the typical build up to a home Test.
15 Mike Brown, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 David Wilson, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Billy Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 George Ford, 23 Alex Goode
15. Rob Kearney, 14. Andrew Trimble, 13. Brian O’Driscoll, 12. Gordon D’Arcy, 11. Dave Kearney, 10. Jonathan Sexton, 9. Conor Murray, 8. Jamie Heaslip, 7. Chris Henry, 6. Peter O’Mahony, 5. Paul O’Connell, 4. Devin Toner, 3. Mike Ross, 2. Rory Best, 1. Cian Healy
Replacements: 16. Sean Cronin, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Martin Moore, 19. Iain Henderson, 20. Jordi Murphy, 21. Isaac Boss, 22. Paddy Jackson, 23. Fergus McFadden
Posted at 7:31 pm | 12 comments
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Newport Gwent Dragons replacement prop Francisco Chaparro has been suspended for ten weeks following his red card for a dangerous tackle in the RaboDirect PRO12 match between Leinster and the Dragons on Friday evening. He has the right to appeal.
Chaparro cleared through the ruck by lifting Leinster replacement scrumhalf Isaac Boss, turning him past horizontal and then dumping him on his back with a fair amount of force. The Ireland number nine was clearly winded, and the referee sent the Argentine off after a TMO consultation.
Earlier today an independant PRO12 disciplinary committee, chaired by Pamela Woodman with Iain Goodall and Douglas Hunter, viewed video footage of the incident and listened to submissions by and on behalf of the player.
They determined that the offence committed, contrary to Law 10.4 (j), was at the top end of the IRB's scale of seriousness. In reaching their decision they took into account aggravating factors, including the need for a deterrent for that type of tackle, along with mitigating factors such as the player's previous good record, and conduct at the hearing.
Law 10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player's feet are still off the ground such that the player's head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.
Chaparro is suspended for ten weeks, which runs until midnight, Sunday 27th April 2014.
Posted at 6:44 pm | 66 comments
Monday, February 17, 2014
Pat Lambie scored a try after the hooter to give the Sharks a 31-16 bonus point victory over the Bulls in Durban on Saturday evening. There was controversy surrounding one of the tries though, and it has since been confirmed that it shouldn't have been allowed.
Impressive centre Paul Jordaan scored the Sharks' first try after an excellent break by winger Lwazi Mvovo. Ten minutes later Jaco Reinach crossed following a lineout and the intervention of the TMO.
It was ruled that lock Anton Bresler had not knocked the ball forward, or played his opponent in the air, but SANZAR referees boss Lyndon Bray has admitted that the try shouldn't have been awarded.
"We unfortunately got the TMO decision wrong," said Bray. "The Sharks forward did knock the ball forward out of the Bulls player's hands. Also, there was consideration to the fact that the Sharks player obstructed the Bulls player in the air."
Reinach was involved again on the stroke of halftime as he ripped the ball from number eight Pierre Spies before Francois Steyn's crosskick set up Odwa Ndungane for a great try in the corner.
Victor Matfield made his return to rugby after retiring in 2011, but he didn't have much of an affect on the outcome. Coach Frans Ludeke believes that he is a classy player and he'll continue to improve as the tournament goes on.
On fulltime the Sharks were searching for a bonus-point try, and they got it following multiple phases after the hooter. Lambie took the try well, ending on a personal haul of 16 points.
Posted at 11:14 am | 10 comments
Debutant Marnitz Boshoff kicked six from six penalties as well as a dramatic last minute drop goal to help the Lions to a 21-20 upset victory over the Cheetahs in Super Rugby's opening game in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Springbok Willie Le Roux had a shaky start to the match but showed his class by setting up the opening try of the game for Cheetahs flyer Raymond Rhule. The home side led at halftime before scoring again in the second half through Sevens star Cornal Hendricks, on debut.
The game was scrappy at times as both sides showed attacking intent, resulting in some enjoyable play but plenty of errors. The Cheetahs dominated play, with the Lions fielding a whole host of newcomers to Super Rugby, after themselves being out of the tourmanent for a season.
They took every opportunity presented to them, making the most of Cheetahs ill-discipline.
Home team flyhalf Johan Goosen went off injured, after missing the whole of last season, and replacement Elgar Watts missed a sitter in front of goal that will give him nightmares.
The Lions pushed hard in the last few minutes and after seven phases of play, Boshoff cooley slotted the winning kick, taking his personal tally to 21 points on a dream Super Rugby debut.
Posted at 8:09 am | 2 comments
Saturday, February 15, 2014
This massive hit by flanker Maurie Fa'asavalu is from last weekend's match between Wasps and Harlequins, and features Italian back Andrea Masi on the receiving end of a big Samoan shoulder.
While some might question the legality of it, stills show that former rugby league player Fa'asavalu made an attempt to wrap, but his huge arm simply smashed Masi before he could.
Whether that's a correct assesment or not, the impact was absolutely brutal.
Posted at 5:03 pm | 17 comments
The Cheetahs host the Lions shortly in what is the start of the much anticipated 2014 Super Rugby season. The match takes place in Bloemfontein and sees the Lions return to Super Rugby after having lost their place to the Kings for a year.
The Johannesburg based side is back though after having won a promotion/relegation series against the Kings, who finished bottom of the South African conference. This is who they're up against today, a side with many top quality players who play an exciting brand of rugby.
This is Fox Sports' beginners guide. We'll feature more of these over the next week
Posted at 2:05 pm | 0 comments
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Wales centre Scott Williams will undergo surgery today on the injured shoulder that saw him leave the field during his team's 26-3 loss to Ireland on Saturday. Williams injured himself making a huge hit on Brian O'Driscoll, but came off second best.
You've probably seen it already, either watching live or when seeing the match highlights, but here it is again for archiving, and perhaps a bit of discussion about the tackle itself.
Williams timed and read things excellently, but it did appear as though he might have tucked his right arm in, which sometimes indicates there was more shoulder than an attempt to wrap. It was touch and go though, and if it indeed wasn't one hundred percent legal, he received his punishment.
While O'Driscoll took a few moments to recover, Williams left the field a few minutes later, and yesterday it was confirmed that he will miss the rest of the Six Nations. He might be out for even longer than that, according to Scarlets' Simon Easterby.
"He took a major blow to his A/C joint and is under review at the moment," he said. "He is clearly not going to be playing for a number of weeks and won't take any more part in the Six Nations."
Warren Gatland says that Jonathan Davies is still a bit sore after a pectoral injury suffered against South Africa in November. They're still unsure if he'll be able to play against France.
O'Driscoll is currently one cap behind the most capped Test rugby player of all time, George Gregan, who was capped 139 times by the Wallabies. O'Driscoll has only been capped 130 times by Ireland, but has played for the British & Irish Lions 8 times.
Posted at 11:27 am | 41 comments