Monday, February 10, 2014
While New Zealand won the Wellington Sevens, there were some great tries scored by a number of teams, particularly Australia who produced two of the best individual efforts seen in recent times.
View Seven of the Best tries here, as picked by the IRB, featuring Carlin Isles, Sherwin Stowers, Samisoni Viriviri, Allan Fa'alava'au, Nanyak Dala, Shannon Walker and Bryce Heem.
Posted at 8:09 pm | 3 comments
New Zealand picked up their first win over South Africa in the HSBC Sevens World Series since 2012 when they put on a clinical display in front of their home crowd in Wellington on Saturday. The 21-0 victory sees them move back to the top of the table.
South Africa were denied a third successive tournament win as they were outplayed and outmuscled by the All Blacks Sevens team in wet conditions at the Westpac Stadium.
Sherwin Stowers and Tim Mikkelson scored the tries and kept the Blitzbokke scoreless as New Zealand conceded just 12 points all tournament, coming in their opening loss to Fiji.
"The loss to Fiji woke us up a little bit, to the extent that we got our defence right," said coach Gordon Tietjens. "Defence wins tournaments. What really capped it off was the final tackle of the final - it was a great, great tackle."
"We had the game won but the drive for no one to cross our line was still there," he added.
Fiji themselves claimed third place after a 14-7 win against England, while Australia took the Plate, Kenya lifted the Bowl and the USA claimed a second successive Shield.
New Zealand are now two points clear of South Africa on 99 points, while Fiji are in third spot overall with 73. The next round is in Tokyo on 22-23 March.
View the all the knockout stages of the tournament, including the final, below
Posted at 10:57 am | 0 comments
Sunday, February 09, 2014
France scored three second half tries to ease past Italy with a comfortable 30-10 victory in Paris. Louis Picamoles, Wesley Fofana and Hugo Bonneval all scored within ten minutes as France showed a clinical side that they lacked in the first half.
Jean-Marc Doussain kicked France to a 9-3 lead at halftime as both sides looked fairly well matched, but in the second half France arrived, blitzing Italy with three tries in ten minutes.
Picamoles scored from a maul three minutes into the half, before Fofana sprinted down the wing for the second, then helped to set up Bonneval, who scored on debut. All three tries were converted.
Italy scored a late try through Tommaso Iannone, but the match ended on a fairly dull and sour note as two players were red carded for head butting as a scrum broke up.
Rabah Slimani and Michele Rizzo were both sent off by referee Jaco Peyper, who referred to both the TMO and touchjudge Craig Joubert for advice. Sebastien Vahaamahina was yellow carded for kicking the ball away shortly before that.
Official extended match highlights (8 minutes long) are now updated below
With players like Picamoles and Fofana making big impacts, do you think France are now serious contenders for the Championship, or is it still too early to say?
View the red cards incident (page two)
Posted at 4:56 pm | 20 comments
England ran out 20-0 winners in a one-sided Calcutta Cup match at a boggy Murrayfield on Saturday. Both Luther Burrell and Mike Brown scored tries again, converted by Owen Farrell. Conditions underfoot were awful, hampering the efforts of both teams at times.
Try scorer Brown, who had another good game at fullback, paid tribute to his team mates.
"The forwards put an outstanding shift in. Faz (Owen Farrell) at 10 and DC (Danny Care) at nine just pulling the strings, it was overall outstanding," he said.
Captain Chris Robshaw however said that his team needs to be more clinical.
"We weren't too happy with our attack, I felt we left some points out there," Robshaw told BBC Sport. "We got away with it today, we might not get away with it next time."
Scotland struggled with their lineout, losing 5 in total, and conceded 14 turnovers.
"You're not going to win with a lineout that doesn’t work," said Chris Cusiter post match.
"We just couldn't get anything going. We seemed to be committing too many to rucks, not getting any fast ball, and we started missing tackles at the end. We just could never put them under pressure. It's hugely disappointing."
Scotland were kept scoreless in the Calcutta Cup fixture for the first time since 1978. They haven't scored a try in their last four Tests and travel to Italy next, where they haven't won in eight years.
Extended official highlights are now updated below
Posted at 10:47 am | 51 comments
Saturday, February 08, 2014
Ireland never looked out of control in Dublin as they beat defending Six Nations champions Wales 26-3. Johnny Sexton was on fine form, kicking two early penalties and converting Chris Henry's try, before Paddy Jackson came on and rubbed salt in the wound with a converted try of his own.
*Updated: Official extended highlights now updated above
Posted at 4:39 pm | 39 comments
Friday, February 07, 2014
If there's one thing worse than being told that you're acting immature, it's being told when playing rugby, on TV and in front of millions of people. That's what happened to Mike Brown and Yoann Huget when they got in a tussle during Saturday's game in Paris.
Nigel Owens intervened, and while a lot of people don't like the way that he tends to command the spotlight at times, there's no doubting that he's one of the very best referees in world rugby.
That post actually sparked one of the most entertaining comment/discussion threads on here in a while, so have a read through that if you have some time - there are some great stories from players who have been told off in weird and wonderful ways by referees.
On Saturday fullback Brown and wing Huget got into what could have been a bit of an incident, especially in this day and age with TMO's involved, slow-mo replays exaggerating things and commentators tending to overact occasionally.
In this situation Huget did push his head into Brown but it was innocuous at best, and Owens' handling of it was a breath of fresh air, and pretty funny too. "You finished? You're both acting very immature. Get on and get on with the game, both of you," he said as he diffused the tension.
There was actually a great moment with Wayne Barnes a few years back when he controlled two overzealous forwards with ease, reminding them of their place in the grand scheme of things. View that here - Wayne Barnes laying down the law to Corry and Borthwick
Posted at 11:32 am | 22 comments
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
England took heart from their narrow loss to France last weekend and have been in camp preparing for Scotland and the Calcutta Cup. Hosted by the brilliant Alex Payne, this latest episode of O2 Inside Line gives superb insight and build up for the match.
Despite the loss to the French at the weekend, England have kept faith in the same starting XV for this Saturday's Murrayfield clash with Scotland.
"It's good to be able to select the same players and they are all determined to put last week's result behind us and build on the performance," said head coach Stuart Lancaster.
"Scotland will be hugely motivated by their defeat in Dublin and, as we found two years ago, Murrayfield is a tough place to play," he added.
England have won the last four Calcutta Match encounters but will be wary of a Scotland team that contain the likes of Stuart Hogg, who is always willing to attack from deep. In this week's O2 Inside Line Player Analysis features Hogg himself, as they look at ways to cut down his space.
There's also a look back at a great bit of play by Billy Vunipola, and then Player Cam gives us a look into a gym session, where Brad Barritt casually bench presses roughly 120kg's.
There is good banter between the players when they talk about who would play them in a film, and then we learn about the Head of Stadium Events for the RFU, Nigel Cox, and what his role involves.
Kickoff at Murrayfield on Saturday is at 5pm (local)
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
Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Matt Scott, Sean Lamont, Duncan Weir, Greig Laidlaw, Ryan Grant, Ross Ford, Moray Low, Tim Swinson, Jim Hamilton, Ryan Wilson, Chris Fusaro, David Denton Replacements: Scott Lawson, Alasdair Dickinson, Geoff Cross, Jonny Gray, Johnnie Beattie, Chris Cusiter, Duncan Taylor, Max Evans
Posted at 5:23 pm | 5 comments