Friday, September 12, 2014
Few players have had the kind of impact that Julian Savea has since scoring a hat-trick on debut for the All Blacks two years ago against Ireland. For his size and power, the Jonah Lomu comparisons are always there, and for the try-scoring, it's Joe Rokocoko that comes up.
With an unbelievable 26 tries in 25 Tests, and a match against the second best team in the world tomorrow, Savea talks Sky Sport NZ through what drives him, the legends and his recent tries.
See more of Savea in action, including at under 20 level, in the Related Posts below
Posted at 8:27 am | 5 comments
Thursday, September 11, 2014
This is an amusing try from Leicester Tigers in last weekend's Aviva Premiership opening round victory over Newcastle Falcons. Replacement number eight Robert Barbieri came on and with the result all but sealed, he felt that this was the best way to control the ball for a pushover try.
As you can see, as David Mele dived on it to score the try, he made a pretty good point.
We saw Denis Leamy do this for Munster a few years back actually, in 2007, with great success.
The Tigers won the game 36-17, scoring four tries in total, including a hat-trick to Niki Goneva.
Posted at 6:09 pm | 14 comments
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Benito Masilevu has extended his contract at Brive just days after scoring a stunning try that helped them beat Toulouse 26-19 in their Top 14 clash. He showed up young star Gael Fickou with some outrageous stepping before scoring the match winner.
The late try gave Brive a well deserved home victory over the giant club, after they had led 16-6 at halftime. Scores were tied late in the game but the former Fiji Sevens flyer came on as a replacement late in the match, and lit up the turf with virtually his first touch of the ball.
He got it from a standing start but produced two huge steps to get the better of France centre Fickou, who couldn't contain last season's second highest try scorer on the 7's World Series circuit. He actually scored 27 tries over the nine-leg tournament, so knows his way to the whitewash.
The 24-year-old joined Brive on a two year deal in June last year but this week signed a contract extension, meaning he'll be at the club for another two years on top of that, taking him to 2017.
He said he was very happy to continue the adventure, and would give everything on the field to be able to thank the entire sports staff, who trusted him. "Brive gave me the opportunity to evolve in the Top 14, the best league in the world," Masilevu said.
Vice President in charge of sport, Max Mamers said: "We are proud to welcome to our group for the next two seasons Benito Masilevu. The Fijian magician will worry opposing defenses with his speed and deadly pressure."
Fickou didn't have time to be worried, as before he could think about it, Masilevu was past him with his well balanced out then in then out again. Absolutely deadly one-on-one finishing.
Posted at 5:35 pm | 12 comments
Monday, September 08, 2014
The Aviva Premiership is up and running and that means Northampton Saints' bone-collector Samu Manoa is on the loose. He made this crunching hit on Gloucester's Billy Twelvetrees in the 53-6 thumping at Franklin's Gardens at the weekend.
We've seen lesser tackles penalised recently, so even if he started low and slid up, with the way things are sometimes viewed these days, he was probably quite lucky to get away with this one.
View more huge hits in the Big Hits section and more Manoa tackles in the Related Posts
Posted at 3:25 pm | 14 comments
Sunday, September 07, 2014
The Springboks suffered a heartbreaking defeat in Perth as a dubious yellow card to Test centurion Bryan Habana turned the match on it's head, as the Wallabies fought back brilliantly to score late in the game and win 24-23 in the rain.
The Wallabies struck first through magic man Israel Folau, who crossed with just a minute on the clock for a dream start. The Boks bounced back though, scoring an excellent try through Cornal Hendricks after some lovely hands from star fullback Willie Le Roux.
The Springboks shot out to a 23-14 lead in the second half but as the Wallabies attacked, Habana's desperation tackle was deemed high by Irish referee George Clancy. While reaching for the pocket he was told by the assistant ref to take another look, which he did, but still chose to card Habana.
Australia threw everything into attack and while some impressive defence held them out, a poor Morne Steyn error - not finding touch from a turnover penalty - gave them another crack with time almost up. Some brilliance from Kurtley Beale and Folau allowed Horne to finish well in the corner.
Waratah Foley stepped up and converted, giving them a 24-23 victory. Steyn's poor few minutes were capped off by him failing to kick the ball 10m from the restart, handing possession back to the home side, who hung on and celebrated a famous come from behind win.
It was the first Springbok in 11 months, but coach Heyneke Meyer chose not to comment on the Habana incident, or the puzzling high tackle penalty on Duane Vermeulen in the first half.
"What happened is done and it can’t be changed. We're very disappointed with the defeat because we played very well. I thought we controlled the second half very well, playing against the wind, and the yellow card disrupted our plans on how we wanted to use the bench.
"No excuses though, it's a defeat and it really hurts. We now need to set our sights on our next match, which is our third away from home on the trot, and rectify matters against New Zealand in Wellington. It will take a monumental effort and we’ve got a lot of respect for New Zealand, but I believe we can beat them there," he added ahead of next weekend's match.
Posted at 3:43 pm | 20 comments
Julian Savea scored a brace of tries to take his tally to 26 in just 25 matches as the All Blacks beat Argentina 28-9 in Napier on Saturday. Los Pumas were highly competitive but a few key turning points allowed the home side to get a comfortable win.
Refereeing was a source of contention again this weekend, as the first Rugby Championship match of the day featured two key moments that had commentators, fans and pundits questioning how the officials managed to get them so wrong.
The first was early in the match, when powerful wing Savea was held back without the ball, and then later on with the score still close, Argentina's Leonardo Senatore charged down a kick, regathered and scored the try, but it was disallowed.
"There are things that happen in a game unfortunately," said captain Agustin Creevy post match.
You have to feel for the Pumas in particular, who were playing well away from home and could have been in with a chane in wet weather conditions if that try was given.
As it was, the All Blacks continued their dominance with a four-try victory and despite a poor kicking performance by Beauden Barrett, who was starting at number 10 for the first time in a Test, they scored through Liam Messam and Aaron Smith, as well as a try to Savea in each half.
"From a scrummaging point of view we should be very proud." said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. "We sometimes get underestimated at scrum time by others and tonight we scored a try right on half-time from their ball."
Injuries to flanker Messam and lock Sam Whitelock, and perhaps Barrett's kicking at goal, will be the only real concerns ahead of next weekend's Wellington Test against South Africa.
Posted at 12:33 pm | 32 comments
Friday, September 05, 2014
James Haskell and Chris Ashton will be on this weekend's Clare Balding Show, so here is a quick preview of a funny moment during one of the chats. Clare asked purveyor of all things banterish, London Wasps flanker Haskell, a peculiar question from a user on twitter.
England team mate Ashton chirps, but Haskell's trademark wit very quickly puts an end to that.
Viewers in the UK can watch the full Clare Balding Show on Saturday at 7pm on BT Sport 1
Posted at 1:45 pm | 3 comments