Wednesday, March 19, 2014
It was a massive weekend for rugby as the Six Nations drew to an exciting finale, but domestic rugby also took place around the world, including down south, where Super Rugby's Round 5 produced some fantastic match ups and excellent tries. Here are some of the best.
A mixed bag this week, including a controversial decision that went the way of the Lions, and brilliant individual efforts from Test stars Beauden Barrett and Israel Folau.
Other tries featured here were scored by Gio Aplon, Phillip van der Walt, and Coenie Van Wyk.
Posted at 1:32 pm | 24 comments
Bhubesi Pride's multi-national team are currently in the heart of Africa, coaching hundreds of children and empowering local staff as they set up sustainable community programmes in twelve locations. This is the first of their project videos for 2014.
Last month we caught up with Oli and Ed, two of the coaching staff who first heard about the annual expedition through a post about it here on Rugbydump. From reading that article, they're now in Africa, and by all accounts they're having an amazing once in a lifetime experience.
Living with the Pride is Bhubesi Pride's fresh approach to creating a short film that effectively portrays the terrific project work the team are doing on the 5 month venture. There is more of a 'behind the scenes' feel to it, allowing you to connect with the coaches on this unique initiative.
The footage starts out with the action packed training week at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, then moves to community coaching programmes in Ethiopia and Kenya, focussing on the great work done, the extensive stakeholder base in each location, and a few of the outings in down time.
The first 25 days were a great success and the charity has since been to Uganda, where they coached at four primary schools (252 pupils total), with a 95% participation rate, and 50/50 boys and girls. They also helped 21 visually impaired pupils, and empowered 14 local staff members.
Bhubesi Pride are now in Rwanda, where the team have continued to get youngsters to play rugby, shared their skills with club sides and have played touch rugby with locals at every opportunity.
For the latest update (that has some incredible photos), and to learn more about the work that Bhubesi Pride have done in the last few years, and are doing currently, visit Rugbyinafrica.org
Posted at 10:03 am | 0 comments
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
It's been a good few days for Ireland fans. They won the Six Nations, Brian O'Driscoll went out in style, and flanker Stephen Ferris, who has been out with a long injury lay-off, made his return. He marked it with a typically determined and powerful tackle.
Ferris, who missed out on last year's Lions tour because of the knee injury that kept him out of the game for two seasons, has finally been passed match fit. He made his return for Ulster on Friday night as part of their 26-13 Pro 12 victory over the Scarlets at Ravenhill.
The Ireland flanker hasn't played since November 2012, but has been working hard to regain fitness, and has all the support of his teammates, who have followed his progress closely.
"We've all come in here every morning and he's been busy a couple of hours already. He's had to do so much rehab, so many extra sessions and to see him back playing again, we're all excited," said star scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, who can be seen putting up the bomb in the clip below.
"We know what a great talent he is and what a brilliant player he's been for Ulster in the past and to see him back at his best will be great for us as a club and all of Ulster will be excited to see him running onto this pitch again."
Ferris got the biggest cheer of the night as he came off the bench in the second half. It didn't take long for him to impose himself, making a great driving tackle on Scarlets back Kristian Phillips.
The contact was a little high so he didn't smash him to the ground, but he did keep his feet well and get the leg drive going, testing that knee and driving Phillips back a fair few metres in the process.
Paddy Jackson scored two tries, with the other two scored by Tommy Bowe and Tom Court.
Posted at 4:31 pm | 13 comments
By now you've probably seen the Stuart Hogg red card incident from Saturday. It was posted as part of the official match highlights, but for archive purposes, it's up separately here now. Hogg has since apologised, details of which are below.
The Scotland fullback was sent off by referee Jerome Garces for a clumsy challenge he made on Dan Biggar during Wales' 51-3 win in Cardiff. Hogg first received a yellow card, but it was later switched to red when Garces saw the TV replays on the big screen.
Hogg has since admitted that he let his teammates down, and has issued a public apology.
"I would like to apologise to my teammates, the Scotland management and all Scotland supporters. I have said sorry to Dan Biggar and I have apologised to the referee," said Hogg.
"I always try to play hard and fair and what happened was out of character for me. Once again, I am very sorry. I have let people down. I always try to play hard and fair and what happened was out of character for me. Once again, I am very sorry," he added.
He is only the third Scotland player to ever be sent off in a Test match. The first was Nathan Hines against the USA in 2002, then Scott Murray against Wales in 2006.
DISCIPLINARY HEARING UPDATE:
Hogg faced a disciplinary hearing in London today and has received a three-week ban.
The charge was amended to an act of foul play contrary to Law 10.4 (f) - Playing an opponent without the ball - which is a mid range (five weeks) offence.
This was reduced by two weeks for mitigating factors, including the player's remorse for the incident both on the day of the match and subsequently through the media.
"I'm very sorry, I have let people down and apologise to my team-mates, the Scotland management and all Scotland supporters," he told scottishrugby.org today. "I am disappointed to be missing three games but fully respect the committee's decision."
Posted at 2:35 pm | 25 comments
Monday, March 17, 2014
Force winger Nick Cummins gave another amusing interview after beating the Highlanders 31-29 in the fifth round of Super Rugby. The Honey Badger has had a few hilarious moments in the past, and this chat is right up there with the best.
He starts with speaking about getting a bit of meat, which if you don't know by now is short for a meat pie, which is rhyming slang for getting a try. He then went on to explain his nickname.
"The badge? Long story short, basically there was a documentary on National Geographic or Animal Planet.. and I watched this thing and this honey badger was going toe to toe with a male lion and it was underneath him, the underdog obviously.
"But he's on his back, clawing away, one, two, and then bloody.. the big fella got his 'canastas' (testicles) clawed off and he trotted off round the corner and fell over and the badger gets back up and I thought 'what an animal, it's bloody, that's impressive'."
Melodie Robinson, who is no stranger to live interviews - one shocker in particular comes to mind - clearly knew that Cummins has a bit of a way with words, so set him up nicely. She couldn't help getting the giggles though, before Scotty Stevenson summed things up perfectly.
More Cummins quotes:
- "I bloody nearly ran up a drainpipe, one of them runs there"
- "If I end up getting a gig I'll be going off like a cut snake."
- "My old man woke me up in the morning. He was going off like a bag of cats.''
- "I've been doing it a good five years now. Lucky for me every bugger fell over and I got a gig."
- "One of my old man's sayings was if you want to make god laugh, you tell him your plans."
- "He was sweating like a gypsy with a mortgage when he got up after scoring that try."
- "We're more focussed on tredding softly and carrying a big stick."
- "The flamboyant French? They look all right. They have a good style about them with their hairdos. I might take a few pointers and go to a stylist to sort myself out. A few of the boys tell me I look a bit ordinary at times."
Posted at 4:04 pm | 12 comments
Brian O'Driscoll got the fairytale farewell Ireland fans had hoped for as the team he represented 133 times beat France 22-20 in Paris on Saturday to claim the 2014 Six Nations. Ireland's superior points difference proved crucial on the final weekend.
England fans wore blue on Saturday evening as they came within inches of claiming the title, only to have a French try-scoring pass ruled out for being forward. A France victory would have handed them the title, instead Ireland's impressive points tally made all the difference in the end.
O'Driscoll, now 35-years-old and having achieved all there is to achieve in the Northen Hemisphere (plus a Lions tour victory), bows out of the game a year before the Rugby World Cup.
"I don't want to take it off, because I know when I do, it will be for the last time," he said of the famous number 13 Ireland jersey that he's owned for the best part of fifteen years.
"It's a sheer delight to have won the championship. I have had a lot of good memories from the times between winning here 14 years ago and now, but to finish like this is incredibly special.
"Not many get the chance to end their careers on their own terms. I am just thankful to have been part of a great team who have massive potential to become even better," O'Driscoll added.
"I tried to channel my emotions into my performance. I couldn't let the occasion get the better of me. I think I played fair today - I did think I might get in for a try, but I had to come inside as I knew I didn't have the gas to burn on the outside.
"At the end, I did have a frog in my throat, there was a fair bit of emotion. There were some great emotions in the dressing room - and I wouldn’t bet against a few tears later on after a lot of beers!"
French coach Phillipe Saint-Andre, who appeared to question if that final pass was actually forward or not, paid tribute to O'Driscoll and said that next year France might have that extra bit of luck.
"Next year Brian O'Driscoll will not be here and maybe we will have the God of rugby on our side."
Congratulations to Ireland and O'Driscoll. Below are official extended highlights from the match.
Posted at 9:44 am | 23 comments
Scotland suffered their biggest ever Six Nations defeat as Wales piled on the points to crush them 51-3 at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. Scotland went a man down in the first half as fullback Stuart Hogg was shown a red card for a dangerous challenge.
The Scots never fully recovered and after trailing just 10-3 at the time, they went on to concede another six tries as Wales looked to right the wrongs of their 2014 Championship campaign.
"I thought we were in the contest but it is a hell of a position to fill for that length of time," said Scotland coach Scott Johnson. "Once they were on a roll they played some pretty good rugby, too."
Hogg's late challenge on Dan Biggar was initially punished with just a yellow card, but after seeing replays on the big screen, referee Jerome Garces called Hogg back to show him red.
"We'd seen it in the box but we got a message pretty quickly to Sam Warburton to ask him to have the TMO have a look at it," said Wales coach Warren Gatland. "Sam hadn't even got to him (Garces) when he saw the replay on the screen and made his own decision after that."
Wales had a fairly easy ride after that, attacking from deep and scoring some lovely tries. George North and Jamie Roberts scored two apiece, while Liam Williams, Toby Faletau and Rhodri Williams all crossed to add to the miserable outing for the Scottish.
Wales finished in third position overall (equal with France but with a better points difference), while Scotland came in second from bottom, with Italy taking the Wooden Spoon.
Official extended highlights from the match, including the Hogg red card, are below
Posted at 8:06 am | 35 comments