Matt Toomua Falcon vs the All Blacks

Malakai Fekitoa smashes Conrad Smith

Sebastien Chabal knocks out Marc Giraud

Buck Shelford tribute

Random great tries from 2008

Visser penalised for preventing lineout

Isa Nacewa tackle on Gareth Owen

The Top 5 Crazy Cards of All Time

Carlos Spencer & Stephen Larkham fight

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Best Tries in the Top 14 - All from the last Six Rounds

There have been some outstanding tries scored in the Top 14 lately, with both the best of individual efforts and team tries being celebrated in Canal Plus' compilations of the Top Ten Tries. Today we've got no less than six for you, a total of sixty tries for you.

With so much on around the world of late, including Test rugby in the Rugby Championship, it's been a bit of a challenge to get everything posted as it happens. The French Top 14 Top 10 tries in particular are something that, although they were queued up to post, were neglected a bit.

It is a popular feature though so rather than not share them at all, today we've pumped a whole lot into one post so that you have the option of watching them all, a few randomly, or skipping ahead to the number one tries as we suspect you might do. Either way, sixty great tries is good value.

In the latest round, Round 7, the number one try went to Metuisela Talebula and his superb effort against Racing Metro. Good power, perfectly balanced and with quick thinking, it's a fantastic finish.

There are many other great tries but have a look yourself by using the page numbers under the video, the  links below, or just click 'View All', which will place them all on one page. Enjoy.

Round 6 | Round 5 | Round 4 | Round 3 | Round 2 | Round 1 (separate post)

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Posted at 2:12 pm | 3 comments

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Rupeni Caucaunibuca looking slim, trim and determined at Northland

As we reported a month back, former Auckland flyer Rupeni Caucau is back in New Zealand, plying his trade with Northland in the hopes of finding the form he showed in the early days. Total Rugby caught up with him for some insight into his world.

Still regarded as one of the greats that failed to maintain his incredibly high standards, Caucau is back where it all began and looking in pretty good nick, despite being injured at the moment.

In this player profile we hear from the man himself, as well as Northland head coach Derren Witcombe,  former Auckland hooker and teammate of Caucau's when he first burst onto the scene.

While there was speculation that he might be returning to France with Lyon, who are in search of an outside back, today it was confirmed that he is unavailable so they will have to look elsewhere.

The former Agen and Toulouse winger played earlier in the ITM Cup season, scoring a couple of tries and combining well with Rene Ranger to set up a few, but unfortunately picked up an injury against North Harbour that has halted his progress somewhat.

He's more determined than ever though, saying that he wants to be a role model for the younger players, and of course wants to put his family in the best possible position for when he retires.

"Now I have three kids. I'm working hard now before I retire, for their future. So when I finish, I have something for my kids, for my family," he explained.

Caucau admits that age isn't on his side so it's a bit of a struggle at times, but he says that he wants to show everyone that he's still got it. We can't wait.

We'll be archiving more Player Features such as this one over time. All feedback is welcomed.

Posted at 9:46 am | 14 comments

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Cardiff launch of the 2013/2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup

The European club rugby season kicked off in Cardiff yesterday, where we had the opportunity to speak with the captains and coaches of some of the English and Welsh clubs that will take part in the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup.

The 11 club captains were on hand at the Millennium Stadium to provide their thoughts ahead of the upcoming European season, including Test stars Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan Davies, Chris Robshaw, Dylan Hartley, Matthew Rees, Steve Borthwick and Toby Flood.

We were fortunate enough to get some time for a casual chat with a few of the players and coaches ahead of what could be the final year of the tournaments as we know them.

ERC Chief Executive, Derek McGrath, who is of course tasked with trying to keep European club rugby together, spoke at the press conference, reiterating ERC's strong commercial performance with the tournaments having generated 520 million Euro to the professional game since 1995.

The Heineken Cup kicks off on October 11th, with the Amlin Challenge Cup kicking off on the 10th.

You can view a portion of the press conference with Derek McGrath over on page two of this post

Thanks to Lloyd and Rockadove

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Posted at 5:44 pm | 3 comments

DTH van der Merwe goes headfirst into the post

A few weeks back in the Rabodirect Pro 12, on Friday the 13th strangely enough, Glasgow Warriors winger DTH van der Merwe experienced this horror collision with the post as he came close to scoring against Ulster at Ravenhill in Belfast. 

Canadian international Van der Merwe was okay luckily and managed to play on, but tweeted after the game that his neck was still a bit sore after the 'postheadbutt'.

He also joked that it's another bizarre moment shared by Rugbydump (via Twitter), following on from a year ago when he tore his hamstring but still managed to set up a try against Zebre.

You can view official highlights from the match on page two of this post

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Posted at 7:19 am | 8 comments

Monday, September 30, 2013

New Zealand in strong position following bonus point win over Argentina

New Zealand are favourites to claim another Rugby Championship title after they beat Argentina 33-15 on Saturday, scoring a four try bonus point in the process. They travel to Ellis Park for what should be a mouthwatering finale this coming weekend.

Argentina produced a strong performance first half, but couldn't quite maintain their intensity and hold out against the silky skills and power of the experienced All Blacks.

It was close at the break with just two points separating the sides, but in the second half the visitors scored three unanswered tries, including the vital bonus point score by Ben Smith at the death.

Smith earlier scored the try of the match after Ma'a Nonu put him through the gap superbly before he stepped the cover with ease, adding to his already impressive try scoring record for the season.

The bonus point try ensured that the All Blacks will be sitting pretty come Saturday, knowing that even a loss could result in them claiming the championship title.

Coach Steve Hansen said that with the Springboks needing to score four tries to win, it could open up the game and leave them falling into the trap of playing too loose against a highly talented outfit.

"They are going to have to play some rugby. That will suit us as much as it will suit them," Hansen said post match, before paying tribute to the ever improving Argentina team.

"It was nothing more than we expected. They are a side that is getting better all the time. They're very, very good up front and they tried to play a bit of rugby today and played it quite well so we had to work for it, and the bonus point right at the end was exactly that, a bonus for us." 

Posted at 2:23 pm | 16 comments

Flip van der Merwe suspended for one week for dangerous play

Springbok lock Flip van der Merwe has been suspended following the 28-8 victory over the Wallabies on Saturday. Van Der Merwe was yellow carded by referee Jerome Garces, but was later cited for the offence that was deemed worthy of a red card.

A SANZAR Judicial Hearing found Van der Merwe guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (e) Dangerous Tackling, which also constituted a breach of Law 10.4 (a) Striking after he was cited following thet Rugby Championship match at Newlands.

The SANZAR Judicial Hearing was held via video conference on Monday 30th September. Van der Merwe has been suspended for one week up to and including 5th October 2013.

In his finding, Nicholas Davidson QC ruled the following:

The player was initially sin-binned for a dangerous tackle but the citing alleged a deliberate striking.

After hearing from the player's counsel, the player and the South African Manager, the Judicial Officer concluded that this was a breach of Law 10.4 (e) as a dangerous tackle executed high and leading with the forearm and without any attempt to grasp the player in the initial contact. 

It was also a strike under Law 10.4 (a) but not intentional as cited. Mr Mike Mika, a former professional player, assisted the Judicial Officer.

Van der Merwe has a good disciplinary record at international and Super Rugby level and has never before been suspended. Springbok manager Mr Schwartz spoke extremely well of him as a player and a personality in the game.

Although breach was denied, the Judicial Officer concluded that his record and conduct including a concerned approach to the Australian player warranted a discount to a one-week suspension only.

The Springboks have called up namesake Franco van der Merwe to the squad as cover.

"Losing any player, for whatever reasons, is never ideal but Franco knows our structures and plans very well, having been part of the squad since June last year," said coach Heyneke Meyer.

It was an awkward looking 'tackle' and while being spoken to by Garces, Van der Merwe claimed that he fell over. He was also quick to point out the difference between his and Michael Hooper's tip-tackle (that also resulted in a yellow card).

View Springboks vs Wallabies Highlights

Posted at 10:14 am | 14 comments

The Springboks claim convincing win over the Wallabies in Cape Town

The Springboks were disappointed to miss out on a much needed bonus point as they beat the Wallabies 28-8 in an eventful Rugby Championship Test on Saturday. They are now set up for a deciding encounter with the All Blacks, but have it all to do.

A record win over the Wallabies in Cape Town wasn't enough to satisfy skipper Jean De Villiers, who came off the field saying that he's never been so disappointed to beat them by twenty points.

Scoring three tries in total, two in the first half and one ten minutes out, the Springboks failed to pick up a crucial bonus point that would have put them in a good position going into next week's crunch championship decider with the All Blacks.

"If you had given us a 20-point win over Australia at the beginning of this year, we would have grabbed it," a frustrated De Villiers said post match. "To beat a very good Australian side by that margin is a great achievement, but having given ourselves 40 minutes to score two tries in the second half, there is some disappointment that we did not manage it."

Discipline was a bit of a problem as a yellow card to Flip van der Merwe, who was has since been suspended, didn't help matters. Duane Vermeulen was also yellow carded for a deliberate slapdown, while the Wallabies lost two players of thei own, with Michael Hooper sinbinned for a dangerous tackle, and Sitaleki Timani carded for leading with the shoulder.

The home side will be pleased with some of the rugby they produced, specifically the play of Fourie Du Preez and the try scored by Zane Kirchner, but will be unhappy with the loss of momentum in the second half, and the try they let in, scored by debutant Chris Feauai-Sautia.

"I want to see a lot of improvement against the All Blacks. We want to be the best team in the world and win the World Cup and to do that we must improve game-by-game," said coach Heyneke Meyer, who seemed content with looking at the bigger picture.

New Zealand scored a bonus point victory over Argentina, so are five points clear going into the final match. To win the Rugby Championship next weekend at Ellis Park, the Springboks will need to beat the All Blacks by seven or more, and score four tries in the process.

Below are extended match highlights, including some huge tackles, great rugby and one quality sidestep in particular. There were a few talking points, good and bad, so let us know your thoughts.

Posted at 6:55 am | 42 comments

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