Sunday, March 01, 2015
Wales are still in the running for a Six Nations title as they kept their hopes alive with a 20-13 victory over France in Paris on Saturday. Leigh Halfpenny kicked 15 points as Dan Biggar scored their only try, while France scored through Brice Dulin.
The win in Paris was Wales' fourth consecutive victory over France, giving them hope that they can end the tournament on a high and claim another title, despite losing to England in their first outing.
Coach Warren Gatland has praised his team's defence, particularly in the pack up front.
"We have a good record against France I thought the forwards were sensational. We scrummaged well, the line-out was good and I thought we deserved to win," he said.
Gatland also said that the French-based Welsh players made a big difference on the day.
"I think the advantage was that our French-based players were able to give an insight into a number of the French players, having been team-mates or played against certain players," he explained.
"I think for the Welsh players based over here in France it was probably as much them wanting to prove their worth and value and the reason why they are over here. In terms of that self-motivation, it was wanting to perform.
"I thought some of Jamie Roberts's carrying was excellent, the goal-kicking of Leigh Halfpenny was potentially the difference, and Luke Charteris was outstanding defensively in line-outs and rucks. I thought there was an edge about those players, and they did a good job for us.
"It is a massive game for us at home against Ireland in a couple of weeks. Ireland are clinical at what they do - they don't make a lot of mistakes," he added.
French coach Philippe Saint-Andre said that his team need to get the basics of rugby right.
"You cannot spend the whole match defending, and it is very difficult to win with 50 per cent goal-kicking. We really need to work on the basic skills.
"Teams like Wales and Ireland know exactly how to play these type of games. We made some really sloppy mistakes, and with a goal-kicker like Leigh Halfpenny it meant it made it very difficult for ourselves."
Italy's captain Sergio Parisse has praised his team's courage for hanging in and battling it out to a 22-19 away victory over Scotland on Saturday. It was their first win in the Six Nations since 2013, and just their second ever win away from home since joining.
A year ago Scotland came out on top with a last-gasp Duncan Weir drop goal in Rome, so Parisse, who played a big part in the driving maul that led to the winning penalty try, admitted that revenge was sweet this time around.
"It is special. It is fantastic for the team. We lost last time in Rome with a last-minute drop goal so we are really happy with the result and this victory will give some confidence for the team going into the next match in Rome," the skipper said.
"It was a great victory. We had a lot of young guys, especially in the backs and two uncapped boys in the group. We have done a lot of hard work in the week so I am really happy with the result."
Fullback Like McLean was named Man of the Match, but paid tribute to the forwards for their effort.
"It has been a long couple of years with Italy. We have had a couple of tough losses against Scotland in the last two years so it is good to get the other side of the result," McLean said.
"Our forwards really set the platform today, we scored a try off a really good maul in the first half and full credit to them they came out and really stood up for us. A win is tough enough but to win away it is a good thing and we will look to the next two games at home and try and push on from there."
Scotland coach Vern Cotter said that his side should be winning the tight matches.
"We've got two more games and there are things that we need to do to perhaps give us more composure and enable us to finish and close out games. I still think there's a lot of growth, things have gone forward," the New Zealander said.
"We've just got to address a couple of simple things that will have us change and control outcomes better and those are things we'll have a look at internally."
Quick highlights wrap below, with more clips and extended highlights to follow soon. Let us know your thoughts on the match in the comments below.
Friday, February 27, 2015
Late last year Rugby Union Team Manager 2015 was released, and we gave away a few copies here on RD. Now, in the height of the Six Nations, we're giving away another 6 copies, and letting you know a bit more about this highly comprehensive rugby union management game, which has since been released in a French language version.
The feedback has been great so far, as fans have longed for a Rugby Union manager game forever. This Alternative Software release fills that gap, so now you, the rugby guru, can manage your own team as your pick of players take on all before them.
Rugby Union Team Manager 2015 delivers the most comprehensive rugby simulation ever produced, with Key leagues from the Aviva Premiership, the Guinness PRO12 (including professional sides from Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Italy), and also both the French TOP14 and PROD2, all officially licensed.
The game also includes teams from the Southern Hemisphere, in fact there are over 14,500 players and over 320 playable teams featured in the game. Plus you can even create your very own team with your own created players. And now, the game is available to play in both English and French.
It's available via all good video game retailers, and as a digital download via Steam.
T&C's: The closing date for entries is midnight, Sunday 15th March 2015. Winners will be contacted via email. Entering above will subscribe you to the Rugbydump Insider. If you don't like hearing from us, you can unsubscribe at any time.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Many of you have been vocal about missing the Plays of the Week features that have pretty much been an institution at Fox Sports for the last however many years, so the good news is that today they've brought out a special Plays of the Month, featuring the best, worst and ugliest from February. Look out for massive hits, great tries and of course some random titbits.
After the jump, on the next page, you can view the latest weekly feature from Sean and the guys at Rugby HQ, The Wraparound, week two. It features the funniest and strangest moments from the world of rugby, so is also worth watching for a bit of a laugh.
You can still view the brilliant Plays of the Week archives
Before the Six Nations started we posted a Journalists preview piece that proved fairly popular, so here is a follow up, as some of the top UK and Ireland rugby writers discuss which teams have impressed, and how things are poised ahead of this coming weekend.
There is a specific focus on each individual team as we approach the mid-point of the tournament, so if you're from one of the six nations, you may be interested to hear their thoughts. For the neutral, as said at the end of the video, it should be a fascinating weekend.
On Scotland's meeting with Italy at Murrayfield, the feeling is that the hosts should take it.
"They are going to be a really interesting team by the time the world cup comes around," said the Evening Standard's Chris Jones, while the Daily Mirror's Alex Spink felt Scotland should have beaten Wales, rather than narrowly lose 26-23. "The look on Vern Cotter's face at the final whistle suggested he won't put up with that again," he said.
On the big Ireland vs England clash, feelings were mixed but they all felt it would be a tight contest.
"I think we (Ireland) can outsmart them, but if it becomes a power-based game, we can't live with them unfortunately," said the Irish Times' Gavin Cummiskey.
On France and their potential, Chris Foy of the Daily Mail said: "They've got so much potential in there and it's just so sort of bizarre and unsettling for them that it's not coming out, and frankly, I'll be very surprised if they have a major say in how this title goes."
On Wales: "They've kept themselves in it with that win in Edinburgh, and they pulled that out late on, so that was impressive, but I think they're just short of Ireland and England this year," said Duncan Bech of the Press Association.
Your thoughts: How do you feel each team are placed going into the weekend, and at this midway point in the tournament? Let us know in the comments below
Thanks to RugbyMedia
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
It has been an eventful few days for Kiwi forwards, as three were suspended following striking and punching incidents in round two of Super Rugby. Owen Franks, Kane Hames and Hayden Triggs will all be out of action for a few weeks.
To start with, Crusaders and All Blacks prop Owen Franks has been banned for two weeks for striking after he targeted Josh Hohneck of the Highlanders twice in their clash on Saturday.
Replays were shown of the Franks incident but the referee didn't bother to check, so he stayed on the field. A citing followed however, and he was given what some may say is a fairly lenient sentence considering the intent he showed.
"The player submitted that he was attempting to remove the Highlanders player from the wrong side of maul," SANZAR Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner said. "His intention was to remove the player, who was quite bigger than him, by grabbing him around the chest which would require some force, then using his bodyweight to attempt to force his opponent down and away from the ball.
"The player conceded that in these attempts, he struck his opponent with his arm in a careless way, but there was no malice intended. After taking all relevant facts of the incident into consideration, I found the incident to have a lower end entry point for breaches of 10.4 (a) Punching or striking which stipulates a two week suspension," Stelzner noted.
In the same match prop Kane Hames of the Highlanders had a go at Crusaders lock Dominic Bird, clearly connecting with his cheek. It also wasn't picked up at the time, but he has since been suspended for 5 weeks.
"After taking all relevant facts of the incident into consideration, I found the incident to have a mid-range entry point which stipulates a five week suspension," Stelzner said.
"Several aggravating factors for the case included the injury to Mr Bird and a deterrent for this type of conduct occurring in the game, resulting in a two week increase to the sanction. This was then reduced by two weeks due to Hames' remorse and prompt guilty plea for the incident."
In the case of Blues lock Hayden Triggs, his incident was a bit different in that there wasn't much footage available. All we could really see was him having a swing (or two) at Duane Vermeulen, causing the burly number eight to fall to the floor.
Triggs received a straight red card, putting his team at a disadvantage, which the duty judicial officer took into account. He also noted that Triggs was acting in retaliation, although he didn't reveal what specifically provoked the punches.
"I found the incident to have a low-range entry point which stipulates a two-week suspension. This was then reduced by one week due to Triggs' prompt admission of guilt, remorse for his actions and excellent disciplinary record in over 10 years of playing professional rugby," Stelzner said.
Monday, February 23, 2015
Newport Gwent Dragon's skipper Rynard Landman is likely to receive a heavy ban after being red carded and cited for elbowing an opponent during his side's 30-25 Guinness Pro12 defeat to Connacht. Landman will face a disciplinary hearing this week.
The hefty South African lock was shown the straight red card for taking out Connacht flyhalf Jack Carty only 15 minutes into the match. Scottish referee Lloyd Linton, after looking at the big screen and chatting with his fellow officials, was left with little choice.
We saw Landman, sometimes referred to as 'Ligtoring' (Lighthouse) on RD two years back when he scored a try, did a great celebration but then was called back as it was disallowed.
Those were happier times (even if it was disallowed!), because now he's facing a significant ban that could be as long as 8 weeks after his foolish misdemeanour. He tweeted the following:
Taking to twitter to express one's remorse appears to be a good way to lessen a sentence these days. Not that this was in any way disingenuous, but every bit helps when it comes to the disciplinary hearing, where he will need to explain his actions and convince the panel that his actions were not only out of character, but he is genuinely remorseful for what he did.
As it was, his moment of madness left his team in the dirt and nobody will know that more than the man himself, as he watched from the sidelines while they manfully took on a talented Connacht side.
A Pro12 statement said that the hearing will take place later this week. For now, you can view the incident near the beginning of the highlights video below.