Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Alex Payne and O2 Inside Line are back to look ahead to the start of the Six Nations with France vs England on Saturday. Both teams have now named their teams, which include uncapped players for both sides, including at flyhalf for France.*
England included youngsters George Ford, Jack Nowell, Luther Burrell and Anthony Watson in their squad, who according to coach Stuart Lancaster, have impressed at club level and in training.
"We are excited about the players we are taking to Paris and what a great place to open our RBS 6 Nations campaign against a French team who will be massively motivated, especially after the last two games between us," Lancaster said.
In this week's O2 Inside Line fans get an exclusive look into life in the England camp, with Dylan Hartley and Brad Barritt starting off with their Player Analysis and their views on the French team.
Some of the funniest things to happen on a rugby pitch are then discussed, we see some of the team training and then operations manager Tom Stokes runs through what his job entails.
*Updated: Both teams have now been named
Mike Brown, Jack Nowell, Luther Burrell, Billy Twelvetrees, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Danny Care, Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Wood, Chris Robshaw, Billy Vunipola Replacements Tom Youngs, Mako Vunipola, Henry Thomas, Dave Attwood, Ben Morgan, Lee Dickson, Brad Barritt, Alex Goode
Brice Dulin, Yoann Huget, Mathieu Bastareaud, Wesley Fofana, Maxime Medard, Jules Plisson, Jean-Marc Doussain, Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser, Nicolas Mas, Alexandre Flanquart, Pascal Pape, Yannick Nyanga, Bernard Le Roux, Louis Picamoles
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Yannick Forestier, Rabah Slimani, Yoann Maestri, Antoie Burban, Damien Chouly, Maxime Machenaud, Gael Fickou
What are you predictions for France vs England this weekend? (Sat, 18:00 Paris time)
Posted at 5:14 pm | 7 comments
Namibian flanker Jacques Burger is one of the Aviva Premiership's top tacklers. He was one of the more physical Saracens players against the Sharks at the weekend, where he made a few big hits. He's managed to combine his physical attributes with solid technique, as well as a fearless mindset.
In November he set a new record for tackles in a Premiership match, 36, breaking the previous milestone of 27 set by former England and Leicester Tigers flanker Lewis Moody.
In this amusing and informative masterclass video from Rugby Tonight he shows us how he does it.
Posted at 1:58 pm | 17 comments
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Quick video from London Wasps featuring some impressive stepping from Will Helu against the Exeter Chiefs recently. It very nearly resulted in a try too. Clip courtesy of @WaspsRugby
Posted at 3:37 pm | 2 comments
The England Saxons came within inches of possibly snatching victory from the Ireland Wolfhounds but it wasn't to be as the Irish scored two first half tries to one and prevailed 14-8 in Gloucester on Saturday.
Leinster halfback pairing Isaac Boss and Ian Madigan crossed in the first half, while England's try came from a Wolfhound mistake, and was snapped up well by young Anthony Watson.
Elliot Daly came within inches of scoring a late try, before Freddie Burns dived over without the ball.
Saxons coach Jon Callard was pleased with the overall effort despite his team not sneaking the win.
"We had four great opportunities in the second half, four great opportunities, from sustained pressure. It's a credit to the lads that when Ireland turned it over and kicked it down our throats, Rob Miller set off on a counter attack and we were a whisker away from winning it.
"I think potentially out of this group there are numerous options to go forward into the full squad, whether that will happen next week, across the course of the Six Nations or the summer tour, I can't say," added Callard.
Ireland Wolfhounds coach Anthony Foley meanwhile said they were relieved to hold off the Saxons.
"We had to hang in there towards the end, but it's a credit to the players that they did," he said. "They just stuck at it in fairness to them, right until the end. They knew the week's work was on the line, and they didn't let it go to waste."
Who do you think should make an appearance in their respective senior side this Six Nations?
Posted at 8:32 am | 12 comments
Monday, January 27, 2014
Saracens beat the Sharks 23-15 in Saturday's friendly Super Rugby warmup game for the Currie Cup champions. Both teams were extremely physical at Allianz Park, so here is one of the biggest hits of the game, plus a compilation of some of the others.
It was billed as a friendly but there was no love lost out there as both sides looked like they had something to prove, with cross-hemisphere rivalries coming to the fore, as well as a few old friends getting reaquainted. Saracens do have a decent South African contingent after all.
One of those is big lock Mouritz Botha, who seemed to enjoy the physical tussle with the big Sharks players. His heavyweight clash with wrecking-ball Jean Deysel was brutal, even if Deysel was sold by an unforgiving pass from his scrum half.
"I love it when big lads just run straight at you, and they had some really big, physical guys playing for them. It was just a great day and I really enjoyed myself out of there today," said Botha.
Both sides made impressive big tackles and charges, with Deysel and Willem Alberts particularly prominent. View a compilation of the rough stuff on page two of this post, the match highlights on page three and Botha's thumping tackle on Deysel below.
Should these type of fixtures be played more regularly?
Posted at 4:16 pm | 15 comments
The South African Sevens team beat New Zealand 14-7 in a tense Cup Final at the Las Vegas Sevens on Sunday. It's the second year in succession that they've won in Vegas, taking them top of the overall world series standings, one point ahead of New Zealand.
South Africa beat Samoa to reach the final while New Zealand came through against Canada, who got an early lead but weren't able to capitalise. The Canadians came third overall though, beating Samoa in a thrilling third place playoff that saw them come back from 12-0 down to win 22-19.
The USA won the Shield, Fiji won the Bowl and England won the Plate on another enjoyable weekend of Sevens rugby in the entertainment capital of the world. South Africa's win over the bigger All Blacks Sevens team is their fifth in succession, a record that started back in 2012.
"Unbelievable feeling, but well deserved for the players. They work hard back home and it is all credit to their them. The guts, the commitment it is unbelievable," said coach Neil Powell.
"We really work hard on our defensive structures, and even the smaller guys like Cecil and Branco throw themselves into the tackles and punch well above their body weight."
The series now heads to Wellington, for which the pool draw was made last night.
South Africa will be in Pool A with England, Wales and Portugal, while New Zealand take up Pool B with Fiji, France and Spain. Pool C is made up of Canada, Argentina, Scotland and USA, while a tough Pool D has Samoa, Australia, Kenya and Tonga.
Posted at 8:06 am | 3 comments
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Local hero Carlin Isles scored a brilliant try on day one of the USA Sevens but it wasn't enough for the home side to get a win, despite coming close on two occasions. New Zealand, South Africa, France, Samoa and Argentina all went unbeaten.
Uruguay came close to a big upset but were edged out by Samoa, while England, who earlier lost to Samoa, produced the biggest win of the day as they beat Portugal 54-0. South Africa are yet to concede a point after beating Wales 43-0 and Canada 29-0.
The United States lost 19-12 to Argentina and were pipped 14-12 by France.
"It is Incredibly frustrating, the guys put so much into that. But they have to learn from things like this, and they need to come back tomorrow and pick themselves up. We are doing the right things, but we just need to get the results in our favour," said USA coach Matt Hawkins.
Today is the final round of pool play, which includes exciting matchups with New Zealand vs Fiji and Argentina vs France, before the quarter finals are decided. The Semis and Finals are on Sunday.
The official IRB highlights wrap (8 minutes) can be viewed below, and we'll have more as it happens
Posted at 11:00 am | 7 comments