Friday, July 31, 2015
July was a busy month for rugby around the world, and we've been treated to some thrilling games and brilliant tries. Here is a look at some of the best, as World Rugby have compiled 11 top quality five-pointers, mainly from the Rugby Championship and Pacific Nations Cup.
There is a 7's try thrown in there too, as well as a great score from Uganda vs Botswana.
Which is your Top 3?
Browse our Great Tries archive for more top quality bits of play from around the globe
A few weeks back this huge collision took place in the final of the Ekstraliga, Poland's top league for rugby. You may have come across it but we haven't featured it yet, and it really is a must see hit. It's been described as the 300kg clash, as these two giant men met in midfield.
The final was between two of the best teams in the league, Rugby Club Arka Gdynia and Budowlani SA Lodz. It was a close contest but Arka Gydnia came out on top, 24-19.
This tackle by Gdynia lock Mateusz Bartoszek, on massive prop Toma Mchedlidze, was clearly one of the highlights of the match. It looked a bit like gladiators colliding, as burly Mchedlidza, who looks like he spends his days chopping down trees while eating small children, took a well timed crash ball from his number ten.
Bartoszek was waiting though, and despite making the huge tackle, actually ended up in trouble, as the savage impact looked like it injured his arm or shoulder. Brutal.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Michael Hooper strikes Nicolas Sanchez off the ball
Michael Hooper strike on Nicolas SanchezPosted by Great Rugby Videos on Monday, July 27, 2015
Wallaby flanker Michael Hooper has received a one week suspension for striking Argentina's Nicolas Sanchez during their Rugby Championship match at the weekend. Hooper will miss just one club game, and is free to play in the Wallabies' next match.
The SANZAR Judicial Hearing, chaired by Nigel Hampton QC via video conference, first started on Wednesday, but was adjourned and completed today. Hampton viewed multiple video angles of the incident, medical reports, and heard submissions from legal representatives.
In summary, Hooper's described as a push with the open hand, similar to a fend, rather than a punch. This was not accepted, as Hampton rules that despite mitagating factors (Sanchez holding him back), the game cannot allow players to retaliate in such a manner.
Hooper's good disciplinary record resulted in a reduced suspension from 2 weeks to 1 week. He will miss just one club rugby game in Australia, when Manly play Randwick this weekend.
UPDATE: SANZAR have appealed the decision, so another hearing will take place on Sunday.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Two years ago Toulon played Olympique Marseille in a charity match that comprised of half football, half rugby. They've done it again, this time against France's 1998 FIFA World Cup winners, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps taking part.
Eric Cantona refereed the last time they played the novelty match, but this time it was Bernard Laporte, as Stade Mayol got to watch some legends of both sports have a go at one another, all in the name of charity. Proceeds will go to the Association de Pascal Olmeta charity.
Zidane scored a try but Toulon won the rugby 30-20, with the footballers scoring more goals to win 6-3 in the soccer half. The final score was 33-26 to the European Champions.
You can view highlights from the match above, and some photos on page two
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Richie McCaw's winning try against the Springboks on Saturday was hailed as a moment of genius, while some have called it illegal, and it has had a fair bit of scrutiny this week. Technically legal or not, it was very well created, but it's not the first time we've seen it.
Two years back Samoa did the exact same thing against the Springboks, also resulting in a try. It's almost a carbon copy of McCaw's, and equally effective. But who is to blame defensively? You can work that out for yourself, as you can watch both tries together below.
The Springboks beat Samoa convincingly in 2013, but McCaw's try on Saturday proved vital and there will have been plenty of headscratching in the South African camp.
Interestingly, the legendary All Black skipper said that it was a move they practiced during the week, and while it was going to go to number nine originally, as with the Samoa try, he pulled rank and said he'll step up and take it on.
"I had to pull rank," McCaw jokingly told reporters. "When we practiced the move during the week there was a debate as to whether I or a half-back would execute it. I am pretty relieved that it worked out."
New Zealand won 27-20. You can view post match interviews and the full match replay here
EXTRA: The match against Samoa in 2013 is the same one in which Alesana Tuilagi was red carded for almost taking Jean De Villiers's head off. You can watch that here.
Samoa and Fiji played out an extremely entertaining 30-30 draw in their Pacific Nations Cup clash in Sacramento, California at the weekend. There were plenty of big collisions, but none more enjoyable than this trademark Alesana Tuilagi tackle.
It was another fascinating round of Pacific Nations Cup rugby, as the USA upset Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool B opponents Japan 23-18, while Tonga beat hosts Canada 28-18 in Burnaby.
The battle for Pacific pride went the full 80 minutes as Samoa and Fiji couldn't be seperated, despite a some great bits of running rugby. A late 78th minute penalty by Samoan replacement Patrick Fa'apale ended up cancelling out Fiji's earlier 76th minute kick.
A feature of the match was not only the high tempo, but the brutal clashes between some giant players. And there is no bigger than Alesana Tuilagi, who put a monster hit in on Waisea Nayacalevu, who at 6ft5 and over 100kg's, is far from the smallest wing in world rugby himself.
The crowd loved it, as did former US players Dallen Stanford and Dan Power, who both came out with a number of rugbyisms in commentary to keep the viewers entertained.
"The biggest hit in Sacramento since the Beatles rolled through in the sixties!"
Tuilagi's younger brother, Vavae, actually made his debut for Samoa recently and was involved in number of highlights, including a big charge that sent USA back Thretton Palamo flying.
The PNC pool stages conclude on Wednesday in Toronto when USA tackle Tonga, Pool B leaders Fiji face Japan and Canada meet Pool A leaders Samoa. The final rankings will then determine who faces who on the finals day in Vancouver on 3 August.
View the big tackle below, and official highlights on page two
Bhubesi Pride Foundation has been running projects in Africa for the last four years. The latest video showcases these very goals. Featuring Malawi, Botswana and Zambia, a new team member with a great back story has had his life changed through the charity.
Back in 2011, Wordsworth Rashid emailed Bhubesi Pride Foundation from Malawi, hoping the charity would bring rugby to one of the Lilongwe-based schools where he supports children with special educational needs. Today, four years on, Wordsworth is actively using rugby as a tool for life-skills education in four local schools the charity now links with.
To help Wordsworth, 43, develop his project management skills, the charity arranged for him to join the Pride in May, travelling into Zambia and Botswana on a life-changing trip. Until this year, he'd never left Malawi.
In this latest update you can see his story and the charity's ongoing work contributing to rugby and education development in these particular regions. Also in this feature, the team visits three schools in Zambia; and G4S Botswana launch a valuable legacy project in Gaborone, where the business significantly improves the facilities and security of a local school.
"It's exciting to already be signing up team members for our 2016 project, knowing that they have a solid foundation to build on and the opportunity to experience rugby in Africa," says Operations Director Oliver Munns, referring to the ongoing application process.