Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Canada A's Aaron Flagg made not one but two bone crunching hits in the same passage of play against Argentina Jaguars in the Americas Rugby Championship in Langford, BC recently. The big lock first hit number eight Facundo Isa, then got back up to smash centre Juan Ignacio Brez.
Impressive stuff from a tight forward, shifting around the park and timing the tackles perfectly.
View more great tackles and huge hits in our Big Hits section
Monday, October 27, 2014
Fijian flyer Metuisela Talebula has been making his mark in the Top 14 this season with some sensational performances for Bordeaux, and on Thursday night he continued that fine form against London Welsh in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Talebula was actually the top try scorer in the French Top 14 last season, so the former Fiji Sevens star knows his way to the tryline, and given a sniff, usually finishes with aplomb.
Bordeaux-Begles recently played some beautiful rugby to thrash Castres 59-7, so they're in with a real shout this year and their 52-20 win away at the Kassam goes some way to confirm that.
They scored four first half tries, with Lucas Blanc, Talebula, Clement Maynadier and Matthew Clarkin all scoring to give them an imposing 31-6 lead at the half time break.
"There are no margins at the top of the Aviva Premiership or the Top 14. You have got no room and once you make a mistake you are toast basically," said London Welsh head coach Justin Burnell.
By the end of the match they'd scored seven in total, with Pierre Bernard adding to his points with the boot, and Darly Domvo scoring twice, thanks also to Talebula.
The latter's finish to his first half try was outstanding, as Bordeaux counter-attacked from a turnover deep in their half, before he sprinted away then put the ball on the boot twice and collected to dot down in the corner in one motion.
It was supreme control and another example of the kind of talent Fijian rugby regularly produces.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Here are some great tips from the crew at Rugby Tonight, with Brian O'Driscoll, Rhys Priestland, Austin Healey and Martin Bayfield giving pointers on setting up and defending a drop goal. O'Driscoll also shares the best advice for preventing your nose from getting smashed.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Referee Nigel Owens has always fancied himself as a bit of a comedian on the field. The openly gay referee has actually done a bit of stand up comedy in his time, and also happens to be arguably the best referee in the world these days.
While he's been criticised as liking the spotlight a bit too much at times, there's no denying that he is a funny man, and if he lets the game flow and positively influences some of the classic matches we've seen of late - particularly in the Rugby Championship - then more power to him.
In the Harlequins vs Castres European Rugby Champions Cup game last Friday night Owens was on hand to spot a very skew Dave Ward lineout throw, and delivered this well timed comment.
If you didn't know already, Owens is gay, so the not straight comment was as amusing as it was refreshing to hear. You'd imagine it probably threw the front rowers slightly though.
You can view more of Owens' quips in the Related Posts below this, which include him telling off 30 grown men, pointing a player in the direction of a football field, and his 'This is not Soccer' line.
You can always watch a really interesting feature on him from ITV a few years back, where he talks about stand up comedy, steroid use and contemplating suicide. Those dark days are over, and now he simply excels on the field with his refereeing, and the occasional comedic sideshow.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
A video of Juan De Jongh taking on Terry Crews in a short dance off has gone viral of late, despite it taking place and being uploaded over a year ago. The original Youtube clip was actually submitted it to us earlier this morning, but it has also been ripped and re-uploaded on other facebook pages, resulting in thousands of views.
If you don't know who Crews is, he's a former NFL player but also a well known actor, comedian and clearly, he knows how to move. De Jongh is known for his silky moves both on and off the pitch, but was put to shame on this occasion as Crews, who filled out a Springbok jersey nicely, dominated with his robot, much to the amusement of the other Bok squad members.
Incidentally, De Jongh got a call up to the Barbarians squad yesterday, where he will be part of the team that take on Australia at Twickenham on November 1st. Coached by former All Black John Kirwan, the squad is dominated by Kiwis, but also features a few Pumas players, 'Honey Badger' Nick Cummins, Ali Kellock of Scotland, and Mahonri Schwalger of Samoa.
Barbarians squad to face the Wallabies:
Tim Nanai Williams (Chiefs), Joaquin Tuculet (Grenoble & Argentina), Patrick Osborne (Highlanders), Frank Halai (Blues & New Zealand), Juan de Jongh (Stormers & South Africa), Nick Cummins (Coca Cola West Red Sparks & Australia), Francis Saili (Blues & New Zealand), Colin Slade (Crusaders & New Zealand), Marnitz Boshoff (Golden Lions & South Africa), Tomas Cubelli (Belgrano Athletic Club & Argentina), Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs), Fumiaki Tanaka (Highlanders & Japan), Coenie Oosthuizen (Cheetahs & South Africa), Matt Stevens (Sharks & England), Thomas du Toit (Sharks), Angus Ta’avao (Blues), James Parsons (Blues), Mahonri Schwalger (Chiefs & Samoa), Michael Rhodes (Stormers), Matias Alemanno (La Tablada & Argentina), Dominic Bird (Canterbury & New Zealand), Al Kellock (Glasgow & Scotland), Adam Thomson (Canon Eagles & New Zealand), Matt Todd (Crusaders & New Zealand), Steven Luatua (Blues & New Zealand), Heinrich Brussow (Cheetahs & South Africa), Jacques Botes (Sharks).
Video credit: mrBernardMyburgh
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Some great tries were scored in the opening round of the new European Rugby Champions Cup, as the tournament picked up from where the Heineken Cup left off, capturing the heart and minds of fans. Here's a look at the best tries from Round 1.
Harlequins' Danny Care scored the first try of the new look tournament, helping his side to a 25-9 Pool 2 win over Castres at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday night.
Those were just some of the 450 points that the Champions Cup racked up, with an average of 4.7 tries being scored per match over the course of the 10 matches on the inaugural weekend.
As seen in the previous post, Munster pulled off a dramatic win on the road, the only team to do so as they beat Sale Sharks away from home. Saracens, Glasgow Warriors and Ospreys were the top performers of the weekend, all recording bonus-point victories in their fixtures.
In one of the tries of the round, Ulster's Tommy Bowe notched up his 25th in Europe in total, after a sweeping move as part of the losing cause against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.
Zac Guildford scored an excellent try for Clermont against Saracens, while Glasgow Warriors' 37-10 victory over Bath was surely the win of the weekend. One of the best individual efforts came from Christian Wade, who showed again that one on one he is lethal.
Those are just a few moments that stood out after round one. Watch some of the best tries below
European rugby was back in full swing at the weekend as the opening round of the European Rugby Champions Cup (formerly Heineken Cup) got under way. Munster's 27-26 win at the death was the finish of the round on another fascinating day of the competition.
Flyhalf Ian Keatley channeled Ronan O'Gara as Munster came from behind to pull off a thrilling victory in Manchester with time up on the clock. The last ditch drop goal shattered hopes of an upset win for Sale, who had played so well to lead 23-7 at the break.
Munster bounced back well though and tries by Andrew Conway and Conor Murray got them close enough for Keatley to kick them to a dramatic victory, one O'Gara himself was proud of.
"I watched Munster go through the phases and when Zebo made that little break, I thought, 'this is on now, do it'," said the former Munster ten, who watched from his hotel room in Paris.
"When you’re not at the venue you don’t get a full appreciation of the conditions. I knew there was a strong wind and it appeared to be blowing straight down the pitch. People think that a shot from straight in front of the posts is easier but it’s not the case, from a technical perspective.
"I watched Keats' body language. He knew instantly that he had nailed it. He set it out a tiny bit to the right and basically black-dotted it. Instinct takes over in those situations. You can hit an awful lot of balls in practice but you can't replicate the pressure of a moment like that.
O'Gara praised the flyhalf's decision making under such pressure, after choosing to wait for a better chance rather than take the first on offer.
"There's an element of stupidity in taking on a kick where the chance of success is tiny and everything rides on the outcome. He showed experience, composure and trust in his team-mates that they could work another opportunity.
"It was a wonderful moment for him personally and the team. I’m delighted for him and it’s something he’ll take forward to other matches," he added.
Match highlights are below and we'll feature more best bits from the tournament this week