Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Two Argentina forwards are facing possible suspensions following the ill-tempered Pumas vs Springboks game in Mendoza at the weekend. Leonardo Senatore and Pablo Matera have been cited for biting and eye-gouging respectively.
The Springboks won the game 22-17 but it was Argentina that led for a large part and took it to the visitors physically, not standing back to a forward pack that is renowned for bullying the opposition.
Shortly after the halftime break things got a little ugly though, as Bath flanker Francois Louw claimed that he had felt Matera's fingers around his eye.
"He's eye-gouging me!" could be heard over referee Steve Walsh's mic. Followed by "What the f*ck are you doing" and then a more composed "He went for my eye there."
Walsh referred to the TMO but replays were inconclusive. Matera has since been cited after the incident was deemed to have met the Red Card threshold for foul play. He is alleged to have contravened Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship.
Fifteen minutes later South African lock Eben Etzebeth cleared out Argentina number eight Leonardo Senatore at a ruck but after getting him in some kind of choke hold, Senatore allegedly bit his arm.
In what was an interesting exchange between skipper Jean De Villiers and referee Walsh, De Villiers rejected the offer of making a note of the incident for the citing commisioner, and instead told Walsh that they'd like the benefit during the game. Walsh acknowledged his point, but somehow communication with the TMO failed at that time, so they played on.
After a review of the video footage, the citing commisioner felt that the alleged bite was also worthy of a red card offence, so Senatore has been cited.
"These are things, I believe, which are not part of rugby and I would like them to be sorted out," said De Villiers upon arrival in South Africa on Monday. "Those are things that you don't want to be sorted out afterwards - you want the benefit during the game.
"It is out of our hands now. I just tried to put pressure on him (Walsh) to take care of it on the field and, unfortunately, at that stage the lines of communications weren't there."
The judicial hearings will take place on Wednesday night (GMT). IRB suspensions for biting range between 12 weeks and four years. Gouging offences could carry an even longer ban.
You can view both incidents below, including the scuffle between Morne Steyn and Horacio Agulla
UPDATE: Senatore was suspended for 9 weeks while Matera was cleared
Posted at 8:24 am | 54 comments
Monday, August 26, 2013
The All Blacks secured the Bledisloe Cup as they beat the Wallabies 27-16 in Wellington on Saturday. Directly after the match AllBlacks.com's James Somerset took to the field to have a chat with some of the key players from the winning side.
Tom Taylor, who you can see in a bit of pain at the end of the video, injured his ribs and will be out for three weeks. He played well on debut but is now the fourth injured All Black flyhalf.
Taylor said the pressure ahead of the match was immense. Not only was he a surprise selection, but he is the son of 1987 RWC back, Warwick. "It hasn't been a normal week but I tried my best."
In the above video we get to hear from Israel Dagg, Ma'a Nonu and Taylor
Posted at 9:52 am | 1 comments
Sunday, August 25, 2013
The Springboks stuttered to a 22-17 victory over a much improved Argentina side in Mendoza on Saturday. Last year they drew 16-16, and on this occasion it was the home side that looked ready to take the win, if it were not for two late Morne Steyn penalties.
Argentina, who were crushed 73-13 by the Springboks in Soweto last weekend, bounced back well and started the better of the two teams, scoring within two minutes of kickoff.
They matched up physically and chopped down the big Bok runners, and managed to counter the powerful lineout maul, a weapon the Springboks usually use with success.
Juan Manuel Leguizamon, who was outstanding up front, scored the first try then later centre Marcelo Bosch crossed following some weak tackling. Bjorn Basson scored South Africa's only try, while Morne Steyn kicked five penalties.
"We did not play too well," admitted Springboks skipper Jean de Villiers. "But let us give credit to Argentina for stopping us from imposing control over the game. I was hoping that we could play more expansively.
"The breakdown was a massive fight which both teams contested well, but we must sharpen up in that area before playing in Australia and New Zealand," he added.
In what was a brutally physical match, tempers flared when Francois Louw claimed he was eye gouged, and Eben Etzebeth alerted referee Steve Walsh to bite marks on his arm. An interesting few minutes followed as Walsh said he will get the citing commisioner to look at it, but De Villiers said they'd rather have the benefit of the punishment during the match.
At that moment, the communications with the TMO failed, so there was no further action. Argentina number eight Leonardo Senatore has since been cited, as the citing commissioner deemed the biting incident to have met the red-card threshold for foul play.
The Springboks and All Blacks both have 9 points, but the Boks are top of the Rugby Championship table due to points difference. Argentina have a single point, while the Wallabies have zero.
Better quality highlights and more from this game will be posted soon
Posted at 9:42 am | 18 comments
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Ben Smith scored two tries as he and the All Blacks continued their fine form, beating the Wallabies 27-16 to retain the Bledisloe Cup in Wellington. Debutant flyhalf Tom Taylor kicked 14 points, while Tony Woodcock picked up his 100th Test cap.
The Wallabies started off well and it looked like this occasion was going to be entirely different to what happened in Sydney a week ago, when they were thumped 47-29.
A 6-0 lead in the first half from two Christian Lealiifano penalties gave them the edge before the All Blacks responded with two very well taken tries by Ben Smith, after some wonderful handling.
With a 15-6 halftime lead, the All Blacks didn't look too troubled in the second half and as Taylor got into the swing of things with the boot, even an intercept try by Israel Folau, who stepped namesake Israel Dagg beautifully, proved nothing more than a consolation.
The Wallabies haven't held the Bledisloe Cup since 2002 so will have to wait another year, although they will be able to have another crack at New Zealand when the two sides meet again in October.
Their next match is against South Africa in Brisbane on September 7th, while New Zealand host Argentina in Hamilton on the same day. The Springboks take on Argentina in Mendoza tonight.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the match. Below are some discussion topics
Talking points: Register account | Login
- Tom Taylor's performance on debut
- The battle at scrumtime
- Referee Jaco Peyper not going upstairs for the Stephen Moore attempted try
- Ma'a Nonu shoulder on James Slipper
- Your Man of the Match
- Peyper failing to reach for his pocket after numerous All Blacks infringements
- The Wallabies repeatedly kicking away potential counter-attack ball (with poor kick chase)
Posted at 9:37 am | 40 comments
Friday, August 23, 2013
The All Blacks are the current World Champions so this year we've launched our new All Blacks channel, brought to you by AIG, and we'll be focussing on them throughout the season, starting with the first in our series of features with Nick Evans.
Evans, a star with Harlequins since 2008, played for the All Blacks 16 times and is still considered one of a best number tens to have played for New Zealand.
We caught up with him this week to get his thoughts on the current performances and quality of the All Blacks, to hear what he thinks of the British & Irish Lion depth and a whole lot more.
Rugbydump: What are your thoughts on the All Blacks crushing the Wallabies in the first Bledisloe Cup Test, and were you surprised it was so emphatic?
I was surprised actually. It was 20 odd points and it probably could, and should have been more.
The All Blacks got into their stride early on. The Wallabies spoke in the week about being physical and trying to match New Zealand physically, but that didn’t happen. The one thing when you're playing the All Blacks is that you have to match them or beat them physically.
Where New Zealand stung them is in the turnover ball. You could call it a non-structured attack from a turnover or a loose kick; it’s their ability to realign and find the space which makes them so dangerous. They scored two or three tries from turnover ball, so the Wallabies forced errors cost them. The All blacks were clinical and it has set the tone for the series.
With Dan Carter out injured, how impressed were you with Aaron Cruden, and do you think he has now cemented his place as the next AB’s number ten after Carter retires?
I was impressed, I did an interview before the game and someone asked me how I thought he would go, you have to remember Cruden has been around for a while, he has played in 20 odd tests now and he has taken his opportunities well. He has a had a few more opportunities than I did.
Carter has been injured and is about to go on a sabbatical. Cruden has fitted in to the dynamic well. One thing with the All Blacks is that you don’t lose too much when you lose a player like Carter now. The guys around him are very experienced and the guys coming in to fill know what goes on. When the All Black forward pack is going forward, it can be a bit of an armchair ride, it is pretty easy to make decisions. It will be interesting to see what happens when they are in a close test, but he has proven himself in those tight games before.
He has definitely cemented his place if Carter retires, the question is, will he be patient enough to wait around? Carter has been around for a bit longer and he has an eye on the next World Cup in England. He is still young, so he has time to hang around. That was my issue, I was 28, so I didn’t have the luxury to hang around for long enough. But yeah, I was really impressed and I hope he does well this weekend.
Following the recent Wallabies vs Lions series, do you think that the current depth in talent up north will stand them in good stead for the 2017 Lions tour of New Zealand, and more than likely produce a very different result to 2005?
There was a lot of talk about if this was a tough series for the Lions. There was also talk about the Lions being favourites due to the lack of depth in Australian rugby. I think the Wallabies proved a lot of their doubters wrong; they put up a good fight and took it to the decider. I guess the depth of the Lions squad showed in the last test. They were a big side, I played against them for the Barbarians.
It’s going to be a big tour to new Zealand in 2017. I think that’s the big tour to go on and one you will really want to do well on. We all know what happened the last time.
I think the last Lions team were a good side. Are they good enough to beat the Abs team in 2017? There is a lot of water to go under the bridge between then and now, I think there will be a lot of confidence if some of those core Lions players are still involved in four years. With my New Zealand hat on, I think they will clean sweep it, but that’s just me.
What is the All Black psychology? You're the best rugby team on the planet, but where do you go from there? [Question submitted by Gavin Dillon via Facebook]
It’s a question I regularly get asked actually. It's always tough at the top and there is that saying that when you are at the top, the only way is down, but the All Blacks haven't really done that ever. Every team goes through their blips, but the thing with the All Black’s is perfection and the culture that is created.
What is good is when they need to blood players, they don't blood players six or seven at a time as that changes the dynamic of the team. They blood one or maybe two players at a time to get those guys clued in to what it takes to be an All Black on and off the field. Once they are integrated, they will blood someone else.
The thing when I was there was that you are an All Black 24/7 on and off the field. There are standards you need to live up to. You do get to have a lot of fun, but when it’s time to get the work done, it’s done to the best of your ability. That's basically the psychology.
It may have changed now, but when I was there, you are in a fish bowl and there is a lot of expectation in the country and you don’t want to let your mates down.
How do you feel about concussion management of late, and is there an obvious best practice solution from your point of view, or are the correct procedures in place?
It's a tough one this. I think at the top level it is right. When someone has a knock, you have the concussion bin and it takes the decisions away from coaches and players and puts it into the hands of doctors. That is the right way to go for me, but there is still an issue at grass roots level.
There was a case in New Zealand at club level where a guy had two head knocks in a game and then collapsed and sadly passed away from brain swelling. At the top level we are very well protected. It's a physical game and there will be head knocks, but you've got the best people there to take control and make the right calls.
In the amateur school and club level, you don’t have that luxury. It's something that needs to be looked at. It's a difficult one because having a doctor at every game would cost a huge amount of money and you can't logistically do that.
There needs to be a bit more training for coaches and physios at these lower levels so if someone does get knocked, then there is someone there who knows the signs and we can hopefully avoid another case like that in New Zealand.
For more on concussion awareness and prevention, be sure to check out AIG's new programme called aHead of the Game. You can also follow them on Twitter @AIG_AOTG and on Facebook at AIGAheadOftheGame
We'll chat to Nick again soon and follow the All Blacks progress throughout the year on our new All Blacks channel, brought to you by official partners AIG.
You can watch Nick take on the best in Europe this season. For details on Harlequins membership or to secure your tickets to a game at The Stoop visit www.quins.co.uk
Posted at 1:22 pm | 0 comments
Thursday, August 22, 2013
The Brumbies beat Auckland 17-14 to win the inaugural World Club 7's at Twickenham at the weekend. Today we feature the highlights, as well as some of the best tries scored over an interesting weekend of rugby Sevens.
The tournament featured sides from Russia, England, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Argentina, and South Africa. While not all could send their strongest squads, some entertaining rugby was played and it was a great opportunity for some youngsters to shine.
The Brumbies had Super Rugby talent in their ranks and proved too strong in a close fought final, after having progressed thanks to a 26-7 semi final victory over Buenos Aires, who finished the tournament in third place.
Henry Speight was the star of the all Southern Hemisphere final, and said the win means a lot.
"It means a whole lot to win this. It's not only for us but for the whole Brumbies team back in Canberra," he said. "We've been though the whole season together and it's great to end on a good note and take some silverware home.
1. ACT Brumbies (Cup Winners) 2. Auckland 3. Buenos Aires 4. Harlequins 5. New York City (Plate Winners) 6. Gloucester Rugby 7. VVA Saracens Moscow Region 8. San Francisco 9. Kuban Krasnodar (Shield Winners) 10. Blue Bulls 11. Western Province 12. Northampton Saints
Below are highlights of the final, and on page two you can view five of the best tries, including some that featured some incredible passes. Do you like the concept of this tournament?
Posted at 1:56 pm | 1 comments
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
The Top 14 is back in full swing and with it comes the many characters that such a diverse league brings. One of those is Damien Traille, who was never far from the action during Biarritz's 22-18 loss to Clermont at the weekend.
Traille and referee Romain Poite had a few disagreements during the match, and at one stage the French center even needed to be pushed away by teammate Dimitri Yachvili after too much protesting in the refs ear.
In the last ten minutes he took things a bit far in his quest to get the ref on his side, and it worked.
A theatrical dive, as seen in certain other sports, might have actually even been penalised by officials, and it looked for a second like Poite considered it, but instead it resulted in a yellow card for Clermont's Julien Bardy.
The flanker was probably in the wrong, but Traille's dive was nothing short of ridiculous.
The commentator says it's part of French rugby, and while some players or teams might do it more regularly, over the years we've seen some shockers from different parts of the world.
You can view those in the Related Posts below. They're all comical, but also quite sad to see.
Posted at 12:07 pm | 47 comments