Thursday, April 17, 2014
It's not called Plays of the Week anymore but ahead of Round 10 of Super Rugby, Sean Maloney brings us all the best, biggest, worst and funniest from last weekend's Super Rugby action.
Posted at 4:33 pm | 9 comments
Courtney Lawes made another of his trademark crash tackles at the weekend, this time on England team mate, Owen Farrell. The Saracens flyhalf didn't return from the tunnel at halftime but has since been cleared as not having a foot injury, and will resume training this week.
Lawes flew out the line and smashed Farrell just as he passed the ball, resulting in a tough landing on the artificial pitch of Allianz Park for the smaller, but tough as nails flyhalf.
This is from the same match as the Marcelo Bosch big penalty kick (and Kelly Brown try), and it was Brown himself that was on the wrong end of another big tackle, that time by Samu Manoa. You can view that on page two, and see more big Lawes (and Manoa!) hits in the Related Posts below.
Posted at 2:10 pm | 41 comments
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Toulon's Mathieu Bastareaud, often affectionately referred to as the Tank, is the type of player you generally want to avoid when he has ball in hand. His ability to get over the gain line is what makes him so valuable a player. His tackling isn't half bad either.
Bordeaux wing Matuisela Talebula experienced the full (considerable) weight of the man this past weekend when Toulon beat Bordeaux 22-20 in a tight Top 14 clash. Talebula received an awful, floated pass from centre Julien Rey, and got man and ball at the exact same time.
Unfortunately for him that man was Bastareaud, who took full advantage of the hospital pass to make this big rib tickling tackle, earning Toulon a turnover as a result. Fair play to Talebula for keeping his eyes on the ball and taking the hit though.
Freddie Michalak, who made an interesting pass here, actually scored 14 of his team's points on the day though, with Bryan Habana scoring a try as Toulon came back from trailing 20-9 at one stage.
"To win the match after a catastrophic first half where we weren't in the match, I have to congratulate the players for their comeback," said acting head coach Pierre Mignoni.
Toulon are third on the Top 14 table, equal with Clermont one point behind Montpellier. They face Perpignan in Barcelona this weekend, while Bordeaux, in 7th place, are away at Stade Francais.
Posted at 1:43 pm | 17 comments
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Marcelo Bosch played his part as Saracens extended their lead at the top of the Aviva Premiership table by beating Northampton Saints 28-24 on Sunday. Bosch scored one of three tries, but this massive penalty from about 58m out impressed the most.
It's not the biggest ever seen - Francois Steyn of the Sharks did the same thing twice at the weekend - but the casual strike from Bosch and the way it sailed through was something to behold.
Argentine Bosch took over from Farrell when the long distance kick opportunity arose. The England flyhalf didn't emerge after half time, instead ending up on crutches with a foot injury.
"Owen Farrell will resume training towards the end of this week," said a Saracens statement today.
"The Saracens and England fly-half sustained a foot injury during the match against Northampton Saints on Sunday, but scans have indicated no serious damage."
You can view the official highlights wrap on the next page, which includes Bosch's try and another look at the 58m kick. It also features a fantastic team effort that was eventually finished by flanker Kelly Brown, after hooker Schalk Brits handled the ball twice and carved up the midfield.
You can view more famous long range kicks in the Related Posts below
Posted at 11:21 am | 13 comments
Monday, April 14, 2014
Saturday's dramatic West Country derby between Gloucester and Bath is set to be investigated after ugly scenes followed a late penalty try, awarded by referee Tim Wigglesworth, who showed two red cards and five yellows as Bath won the game 18-17.
Bath won at Kingsholm in the Premiership for the first time in eight years, but it came late in the contest as Gloucester, who ended the match with just 11 players, pulled down a driving maul and gave the referee little choice but to award the penalty try below the posts.
What followed was threatening to happen all match, as Tavis Knoyle boiled over and lashed out at Leroy Houston, striking him in the face. Houston retaliated, as did Nick Abendanon and a few others, but order was restored swiftly and Wigglesworth red carded Knoyle for being the instigator.
"What happened at the end with Tavis Knoyle, there is no place for that in the game. He just assaulted one of our players and we had to defend ourselves," said Bath head coach Mike Ford.
Earlier Gloucester replacement Sila Puafisi was also red carded, that time for an awful looking high tackle on Abendanon. Those were the two red cards, but there were also five yellow cards in total, ranging from professional fouls to high tackles.
"The one person Wigglesworth hasn't yellow carded today is himself.. that's the mistake he's made," said commentator Austin Healey, reacting to some of the decisions that were viewed as harsh.
It was a scrappy affair and the rugby wasn't pretty, with things only really hotting up in the last ten minutes. Bath's penalty try came after a series of attempts at the line, one of which was halted courageously by Jonny May when he threw his body between the tryline and Anthony Perenise.
In the end George Ford's conversion gave Bath the lead, and while Gloucester had hoped to control the restart, the visitors were awarded a penalty on the half way line for Knoyle's indiscretion.
"Well the rugby's been absolutely rubbish but everything else has been fascinating," added Healey.
Gloucester became only the second team in Premiership history to get two red cards in one match. The first was Bath, although one of those (to Francois Louw) was later rescinded.
Referee Wigglesworth reportedly had a bottle thrown at him as he left the field, just one element of a tumultuous affair that will be investigated by the RFU, while both teams - frustrated by the consistency of the officials - will submit reports.
UPDATE: Tavis Knoyle and Sila Puafisi will appear before a RFU Disciplinary Panel on Wednesday, for striking and committing a dangerous tackle respectively. Nick Abendanon and Paul James have been given post-match Level One citings – the equivalent of a foul play yellow card – for striking Knoyle and a stamp on Shaun Knight respectively. No hearings will be held for these citings.
Below is the penalty try and fight, with official highlights (including all cards) on page two
Posted at 1:47 pm | 20 comments
Sunday, April 13, 2014
The Western Force have done it again, this time upsetting the Waratahs 28-16 in Perth to claim their fifth consecutive win. Winger Nick Cummins, aka the Honey Badger, scored a hat-trick as the in form 'Tahs came off second best in the Aussie derby.
Before the match there were a few calls for Cummins to back up his off-field chat by scoring a few tries, and score tries he did, becoming only the third Force player to ever grab three in a match.
His first was a brilliant intercept and 90m sprint after an incredible passage of play saw the Waratahs work their way up field - with some big hits in the process - before Cummins snatched a long pass and sped off. His handshake with a fan in the front row was a nice touch.
The atmosphere in Perth, where there was a crowd of 14,281, was outstanding, and the players fed off that as both teams smashed into one another, with the Honey Badger picking up the scraps.
His second came from a sniping break by Alby Mathewson, before he collected a loose ball for his third, forcing his way over the line despite a good chase back by Cam Crawford.
The Waratahs scored through Kurtley Beale but the Force had this one wrapped up, jumping to second place on the Australian conference ahead of next weekend's meeting with the Rebels.
"Dane Haylett-Petty played 60 minutes of club football today and arrived an hour before the game, and then played 75 minutes of Super Rugby. Nathan Charles plays himself into a standstill and collapses on the sidelines," said Force coach Michael Foley.
"We had a lot of heroes out there and we have now gone past what we did last year, which is nice, and we have a really big challenge in six days against the Rebels. That's a significant challenge on the back of what was Test match intensity out there."
You can view two post match chats with Hat-trick Honey Badger on pages two and three of this post
Posted at 5:55 pm | 12 comments
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Sebastien Chabal is in his final season of rugby but as we saw in December when he knocked out a player with one punch, the he is still very much in the thick of things. Here is a short clip from last weekend of a dominant tackle he made that led to a try.
Not long ago we saw 36-year-old Chabal as a fairy in a new TV advert that went viral online, but a month prior Chabal hit headlines after he struck Agen number eight Marc Giraud and knocked him out cold. He was suspended for three weeks for the punch.
Chabal and teammate Lionel Nallet recently said that they will probably retire at the end of the season, despite their ProD2 team Lyon topping the table and heading for promotion to the Top 14.
"I haven't taken a final decision yet," Chabal told a French newspaper recently. "There is a job to finish first, but quite honestly the chances are 99% that I will retire at the end of the season."
As you can see in this short clip, Chabal is still giving his all and making his physical presence felt. Here he picks up and drives back Bourg-en-Bresse flanker Josselin Grange, before former Springbok scrumhalf Enrico Januarie snatches the ball and speeds away for a sneaky try.
It would have been great to see exactly how Januarie stole the ball, but unfortunately there were no other camera angles available. If you watch Chabal's technique closely though it was a great tackle as he got down low then drove into the flanker, before dumping him to the ground legally.
This was only the second of the match, but Lyon scored ten tries in total, winning the match 64-3.
Posted at 1:38 pm | 8 comments