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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Massive try saving hit by Israel's Yonatan Kaplan vs Gibraltar

On Saturday Gibraltar hosted Israel in what was only their third ever Test match, held at Victoria Stadium. The underdogs achieved an impressive 25-12 victory, but felt the might of the 49th ranked side in the first half with this thundering try saving tackle.

Israel, who play in division 2B of the European Nations Cup, were reportedly treating this as a warm-up game and clearly didn't expect Gibraltar to offer much resistance. The hosts played their first Test in 2011, and are currently battling for FIRA/AER (European Rugby Federation) recognition.

They surprised everyone with the win, and it'll go a long way towards building rugby in the region.

A packed stadium were on hand to witness the victory, and seemed to enjoy this huge tackle too, even if it was on one of their own players, centre Adrian Thomas. 

Flyhalf Harvey Armstrong made a great break with a dummy and offload, putting Thomas through the gap as he broke the tackle. A try looked certain, but big number eight Yonatan Kaplan came out of nowhere to make a massive covering hit.

Thomas seemed to jump into it slightly, which no doubt made it more spectacular as he was flung onto his back and slammed to the turf, right in front of referee Julian Bevan of Wales.

Mr Bevan felt that the tackle was okay, and reportedly viewed Kaplan's tackle as having been legal due to an attempt to grasp the player with both arms (even if it did look like a clothesline).

To his credit, Thomas presented the ball nicely and his team continued to attack. The Gibraltar union have since told us that they have no complaints about the tackle.

View an animated gif of the tackle on page two of this post. Note: We realise the quality of both the image up top and the video is poor. If we get better we'll replace asap.

credit to Rockstream.tv

Page: 12View All

Posted at 1:28 pm | 65 comments

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Best Tries scored in Round 2 of Super Rugby 2014

Super Rugby is now officially under way with a full set of matches in the second round, and one or two big upsets to keep everyone on their toes. Here's a quick look at some of the best tries scored over the course of the weekend.

Look out for great power from Robbie Fruean, up against his former side the Crusaders, to start things off. The Highlanders, Blues, Reds, Lions and Waratahs also scored excellent tries.

Are there any tries that aren't here that you think should be? Which is your favourite?

Posted at 10:09 am | 13 comments

England hold on after tense battle with Ireland at Twickenham

There is a four-way tie at the top of the Six Nations table following England's tight 13-10 victory over Ireland on Twickenham on Saturday. England, Ireland, France and Wales are all on four points with two rounds left to play.

England came back from being 10-3 down after a well taken Rob Kearney try from Ireland. Mike Brown's break in the second half led to scrum-half Danny Care sprinting away, before the home side held on for a tense win.

Attention now turns to Wales, who England play next in two week's time.

"The Six Nations is open for everyone given the way the results have gone. It's been a fantastic championship this year," said coach Stuart Lancaster.

"We'll enjoy this win but we know that there's a big, big challenge coming in two weeks' time."

"We respect Wales because of what they've achieved over the last couple of years and their performance against France has given them confidence, so it will be a great game," he added.

An England win over Wales will give them the Triple Crown, but no team in the tournament can win a Grand Slam. Ireland are in the best position for an overall victory, with a points difference of +42, compared with England's +21, Wales' +6 and France's +1.

So despite the loss, Ireland are looking good and face Italy at home next, in what will be then Test cap record holder Brian O'Driscoll's final test at home. All four sides are still very much in it though, so the final two rounds of play will be fascinating to watch.

Posted at 7:00 am | 121 comments

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Scotland snatch victory from Italy with late drop goal in Rome

Scotland scored two tries and slotted a drop goal with time up to snatch a 21-20 victory from Italy in Rome on Saturday afternoon. Duncan Weir took his team into the lead at the death in what has become the yearly battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

Alex Dunbar scored twice for the visitors, while Tommy Allan and Joshua Furno scored for Italy as they looked on course for their first win of the campaign. Weir's calm head under pressure broke the hearts of all at the Stadio Olimpico. He said he was 'absoultely delighted' with the kick.

"It's the first time I have dropped a goal for Scotland and it has never been more important.

"In those pressure moments you can only focus on your routine. I made sure I got my ball drop right and got a clean connection. I'm just so thankful it went over.

"I ran off celebrating, going off my head. It was an immense feeling. I had no doubts about taking it on. Chris Cusiter put it on a plate for me, on the right side of my body. The whole thing went perfectly," added Weir.

Despite Weir's confidence in his own ability, Scotland coach Scott Johnson said he was surprised.

"I've been watching him in training for the three weeks and he hasn't looked like kicking one. I was delighted for him, because his is a position that carries a lot of responsibility. I seen some growth in the lad and I'm so pleased for him," Johnson said.

"We can't get carried away with a win that could have gone the other way. We got a little bit of luck but we showed great resolve. But it won't mean a lot if we don't put on a show against France."

Scotland play France at Murrayfield in two week's time, while Italy travel to Dublin to play Ireland.

Posted at 4:38 pm | 8 comments

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wales bounce back with strong win over France in Cardiff

Wales's Six Nations campaign is back on track after they scored two tries to beat France 27-6 on Friday night. The defending champions ended France's unbeaten run in the tournament and bounced back from their own disappointing loss two weeks ago.

George North, starting at centre for the first time in a Test match, scored Wales' opening try before camptain Sam Warburton powered over in the second half. Referring to the loss to Ireland, Warburton said that this was exactly the response he wanted from his side.

Coach Warren Gatland added that they are back in contention (for a third successive title).

"I am often grumpy with these guys, but I am happy with that. The performance against Ireland wasn't good enough. We let ourselves down in Dublin. They responded well, with a good performance and a fantastic result," he said.

"The atmosphere was sensational and the players responded brilliantly to the pressure we put on them. I'm a great believer in giving players a chance to redeem themselves, and I think that's definitely what happened.

"When you're involved in a game that doesn't go your way, you want the chance to go out there and put things right. We have got a big game at Twickenham in a couple of weeks, but hopefully today will be a platform for that," he added.

Note: Below are updated extended highlights from the match

Posted at 1:03 pm | 68 comments

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beauden Barrett wins IRPA Try of the Year 2013 for try against France

New Zealand's brilliant try in their second Test win over France in June last year has been named the International Rugby Player's Association (IRPA) Try of the Year for 2013. Tryscorer Beauden Barrett becomes the first New Zealander to win the award.

The panel of judges comprised of Andrew Mehrtens, Tony Diprose, Paul Wallace and Thinus Delport. They chose Barrett's try from the shortlist of nominations, which included great tries by Ben Smith, Stuart Hogg, Jean De Villiers and Zane Kirchner.

"It was a great feeling to deliver this try for the team," said Barrett upon receiving the award.

"Like all tries, the ground work is done on the training field and by your team mates, and the buzz when any of the guys manages to dot down is why we play for each other. I am glad that others enjoyed watching it all unfold," added the 22-year-old.

The award capped off an amazing 2013 for the All Blacks, which included 14 wins out of 14 matches, and the Coach and Player of the Year awards, to name a few.

"With so many great international tries during 2013, involving both individual brilliance and collective effort, it is never an easy process to settle on one try," said Mehrtens. "However, when it came down to it, Barrett's try stood out for the judges due to the high level of skills involved by different players, and, most importantly, the teamwork required to make it happen."

Previous winners:
2012 – Bryan Habana (South Africa) – South Africa v New Zealand
2011 – Radike Samo (Australia) – Australia v New Zealand
2010 – Chris Ashton (England) – England v Australia
2009 – Jaque Fourie (South Africa) – South Africa v British & Irish Lions
2008 – Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland) – Australia v Ireland

Posted at 9:11 am | 26 comments

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

O2 Inside Line - Season 4 Episode 6

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.

England Team:
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

Ireland Team:
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

 
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