Saturday, March 15, 2014
England set out to score 50+ points against Italy in the hope of surpassing Ireland's superior points difference to give themselves a solid chance of winning the Six Nations, but they only beat Italy 52-11, so have to rely on a French win to hand them the title.
Seven tries in Rome impressed coach Stuart Lancaster, who said he was proud of his team for going there and doing something not many other sides have ever done.
"We scored some great tries and we've come here and scored 50, and not many teams have done that," said England coach Stuart Lancaster. "There were some errors in the first half, but I'm just proud of the boys. It's a great squad we've got developing and the bigger picture is important."
Mike Brown scored twice, while Owen Farrell, Jack Nowell, Mako Vunipola, Manu Tuilagi and Chris Robshaw all crossed for tries, with Italy's Leonardo Sarto snatching an intercept try for the hosts.
A string of substitutions late in the game appeared to affect England's rhythm as they struggled to really kick on and pile on the points as planned. A late Robshaw try brought up the fifty though, rubbing salt in the Italian wounds.
Italy coach Jaques Brunel has a lot of work to do ahead of the June internationals after Italy took the Wooden Spoon, having lost all five of their Championship matches. They play Fiji, Japan and Samoa in what will be a tricky summer series of matches for them.
"We started this tournament well and we finished negatively," said Brunel. "We're behind in terms of what our goals were."
UPDATE: Official extended highlights (7 mins long) are now included below
Posted at 5:35 pm | 41 comments
Friday, March 14, 2014
Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll plays his final Test match this weekend when Ireland take on France in Paris. To commemorate the occasion, and a fine career, adidas have put together this video that features top players from various countries giving their final thoughts on O'Driscoll.
Feel free to leave your thoughts on BOD in the comments below. Greatest Irish back ever?
Posted at 1:59 pm | 28 comments
The popular Plays of the Week from Fox Sports has changed format slightly, with the weekly installment now a thing of the past and instead, a monthly wrap-up can be expected. There will be other short bits too, which we'll share the best of on here.
For now, this is Rugby HQ's Plays of the Month for February, with Sean Maloney taking us through all the best, worst, funniest and most entertaining in Super Rugby since it kicked off.
You can browse our Plays of the Week section for more great moments from previous seasons
Posted at 11:39 am | 0 comments
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
England avenged last year's Cardiff defeat to Wales with a 29-18 victory at Twickenham on Saturday, ending the defending champions' chances of a third successive win, while putting themselves in contention for the Six Nations title.
England scored tries through Danny Care and Luther Burrell, and came close to a third late in the game, but the manner in which they played will have pleased fans the most.
Powerful up front, solid defence and attacking intent all combined to outplay Wales, who play Scotland next in what will be a bit of a dead rubber, but a chance to restore pride.
In this week's O2 Inside Line England fans get a look behind the scenes ahead of the clash with Italy, which is a must win fixture if they're to stand a chance of taking the title. They'll be hoping Ireland don't win against France, and they score plenty of points in Rome.
Player Analysis with Jack Nowell and Tom Johnson looks at some of the tries that were scored, and there's a focus on Italy's strengths, and talisman Sergio Parisse at the back of the scrum. They then voice-over Player Cam during the behind-the-scenes footage in the gym.
In team mates we hear from a number of players including Danny Care, Mike Brown, Joe Launchbury, Owen Farrell, Joe Marler and Chris Robshaw to find out who the funniest team mate is.
There's also an interesting look at team analysts Mike Hughes and Duncan Locke, who go through the ins and outs of all the video analysis that is available leading up to and during Test matches.
Italy vs England, Stadio Olimpico, Saturday 15 March 2014, 12.30pm GMT
UPDATE: England have selected an unchanged starting lineup for the match against Italy. There is one change on the bench, with Manu Tuilagi coming in for Alex Goode.
Italy team: TBC
15 Mike Brown, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Danny Care, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Dylan Hartley, 3 David Wilson, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Courtney Lawes, 6 Tom Wood, 7 Chris Robshaw, 8 Ben Morgan
Replacements 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Dave Attwood, 20 Tom Johnson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 George Ford, 23 Manusamoa Tuilagi
Posted at 3:39 pm | 13 comments
Above is a quick round up of the best tries scored in Round 4 of Super Rugby this past weekend. There are six in total, scored by the Brumbies, Cheetahs, Reds, Stormers, Force and Sharks respectively. The Sharks stay top of the overall and South African conference logs.
After four rounds of play, the top points scorers are all goal kickers, with impressive Lions back Marnitz Boshoff out ahead of the pack on 70 points, followed by Johan Goosen on 42 and Jaques-Louis Potgieter on 41. Of those three, Potgieter is the only player to have scored a try.
Waratahs fullback Israel Folau is the top try scorer with 5 tries from two matches.
Posted at 12:15 pm | 5 comments
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The 2014 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is just around the corner, with less than three weeks until festivities kick into gear. Sevens Series Sponsor HSBC has produced a great advert, for the first time featuring players from the Sevens circuit.
It is the first ever advert featuring numerous players that will be taking part on the Sevens circuit, so if you look carefully you'll spot stars from five different international teams, including England, New Zealand, Kenya, Hong Kong and the USA.
The night shoot took place in December and features the likes of Dan Norton, DJ Forbes and Carlin Isles battling against the fancy-dressed fans that regularly attend the famous stadium.
Social media is central to this year's campaign, with fans encouraged to get involved online. You can do so by tweeting #BRINGYOURGAME with a photo of you in your best fancy dress outfit.
The advert itself is very well produced. It's also a lot of fun, mixing the spirit of free flowing Sevens rugby with the traditional party atmosphere that we're so used to seeing in Hong Kong.
We'll have official highlights and best tries from the tournament in our Sevens section
Posted at 12:38 pm | 1 comments
Monday, March 10, 2014
Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny won't take any further part in the Six Nations after he injured his shoulder during Wales' 29-18 loss to England on Sunday. Halfpenny left the field after making a brave try-saving tackle on 6ft3 England centre Luther Burrell.
As if this year's campaign couldn't get more disappointing for Wales, Halfpenny is now out for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder. Scrumhalf Rhys Webb also left the field with an injury.
"Leigh has dislocated his shoulder and that is him gone for the rest of the season," said coach Warren Gatland. "We are not sure about Rhys, but it's Leigh's season over anyway."
Halfpenny kicked all of Wales' points, but he'll take no further part in the tournament and will likely be replaced by Liam Williams, who was penalised within minutes of coming on against England.
Burrell, who has had an impressive start to his Test career, nearly crossed again but a foot in touch, due to the strong tackle by Halfpenny, meant he wasn't able to finish off an exciting bit of play.
It wasn't a technically sound tackle, but Halfpenny's commitment is what prevented the try. It also ended his season though, meaning he has played his final match for the Cardiff Blues (in January) ahead of his move to Toulon next season. He will be there for at least two seasons.
Wales play Scotland in Cardiff in this coming weekend. The team will be announced on Tuesday.
Posted at 6:46 pm | 51 comments