Monday, January 27, 2014
The South African Sevens team beat New Zealand 14-7 in a tense Cup Final at the Las Vegas Sevens on Sunday. It's the second year in succession that they've won in Vegas, taking them top of the overall world series standings, one point ahead of New Zealand.
South Africa beat Samoa to reach the final while New Zealand came through against Canada, who got an early lead but weren't able to capitalise. The Canadians came third overall though, beating Samoa in a thrilling third place playoff that saw them come back from 12-0 down to win 22-19.
The USA won the Shield, Fiji won the Bowl and England won the Plate on another enjoyable weekend of Sevens rugby in the entertainment capital of the world. South Africa's win over the bigger All Blacks Sevens team is their fifth in succession, a record that started back in 2012.
"Unbelievable feeling, but well deserved for the players. They work hard back home and it is all credit to their them. The guts, the commitment it is unbelievable," said coach Neil Powell.
"We really work hard on our defensive structures, and even the smaller guys like Cecil and Branco throw themselves into the tackles and punch well above their body weight."
The series now heads to Wellington, for which the pool draw was made last night.
South Africa will be in Pool A with England, Wales and Portugal, while New Zealand take up Pool B with Fiji, France and Spain. Pool C is made up of Canada, Argentina, Scotland and USA, while a tough Pool D has Samoa, Australia, Kenya and Tonga.
Posted at 8:06 am | 3 comments
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Local hero Carlin Isles scored a brilliant try on day one of the USA Sevens but it wasn't enough for the home side to get a win, despite coming close on two occasions. New Zealand, South Africa, France, Samoa and Argentina all went unbeaten.
Uruguay came close to a big upset but were edged out by Samoa, while England, who earlier lost to Samoa, produced the biggest win of the day as they beat Portugal 54-0. South Africa are yet to concede a point after beating Wales 43-0 and Canada 29-0.
The United States lost 19-12 to Argentina and were pipped 14-12 by France.
"It is Incredibly frustrating, the guys put so much into that. But they have to learn from things like this, and they need to come back tomorrow and pick themselves up. We are doing the right things, but we just need to get the results in our favour," said USA coach Matt Hawkins.
Today is the final round of pool play, which includes exciting matchups with New Zealand vs Fiji and Argentina vs France, before the quarter finals are decided. The Semis and Finals are on Sunday.
The official IRB highlights wrap (8 minutes) can be viewed below, and we'll have more as it happens
Posted at 11:00 am | 7 comments
Friday, January 24, 2014
Not since George Robson slipped when leaving the change room a few years ago have we seen such an ominous start to an evening's rugby. In Robson's case he slipped, but for Bordeaux's Australian lock Cameron Treloar it was a case of forgetting that he is actually 6ft7, and not ducking.
He probably should have considered just turning around after those first few steps as Bath won the game 54-13, scoring eight tries to maintain their 100% record in pool two of the Amlin Challenge Cup. They head through to the quarter finals with 28 points from their six matches.
This is just a quick clip that was requested by someone who found it hilarious when seeing it live on TV last Thursday. No disrespect intended to big Cam, of course. Remember that if you see something this weekend that you think should be shared on RD, get in touch and we'll take a look.
Posted at 8:23 pm | 7 comments
Fascinating insight from Toulon chairman, and the man credited with turning the club around, Mourad Boudjellal. He talks candidly about his previous involvement in rugby, his success in business and how Toulon now pay for the big stars without his help.
On a related note Leigh Halfpenny, who will be joining the club next season, has said that he still hopes to play for Wales despite being based in France. He said that Toulon being supportive of his international duties was one of the main deciding factors behind the move.
"Having taken time to consider every option in detail, I believe the decision to move to Toulon is the best decision for me and my continued development as a rugby player and as a person."
"I'm very excited about joining Toulon. They are an outstanding club, very ambitious, full of world class players and are the current European Champions so I'm very proud to have been given the opportunity to be part of that," said Halfpenny.
He'll join the likes of Bryan Habana, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Mathieu Bastareaud and Jonny Wilkinson, all of whom are there due to Toulon's recent success under enigmatic Boudjellal.
Extra: View a slightly longer version of the interview (UK only) on the BT Sport website
Posted at 2:00 pm | 26 comments
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Referee Nigel Owens, who we all remember for his 'This is not soccer' comment, delivered another round balled reference this past weekend as he officiated the Leicester Tigers vs Ulster Heineken Cup match. Ulster won 22-19 away from home.
Owens, who has garnered much praise in the last 12 months for two stand-out performances in particular, took exception to the way that Anthony Allen was complaining about his decision.
'The Football stadium is 500 yards that way' was his response, followed by some rumblings that couldn't be heard on TV but no doubt had something to do with the manner in which football players speak to the referees, and how that won't be tolerated in rugby. Ouch.
What's the strangest or harshest thing a referee has ever said to you on a rugby field?
Posted at 12:39 pm | 71 comments
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
A year ago Sky Sports came up with an excellently made Super Rugby 2013 promo that featured Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh, Dewi Morris and as the driver, Thinus Delport. It's that time of year again, so with Super Rugby kicking off in a few weeks, here is the sequel.
Does this year's ad hit the mark as well as last years? You decide. Either way, Super Rugby starts on February 15th so get ready for some fast paced, hard hitting entertainment from down south.
Click page two to view the 2013 promo
Posted at 12:57 pm | 3 comments
Monday, January 20, 2014
New Zealand born Connacht prop Rodney Ah You made one of the tackles on the weekend despite his side being thumped 64-6 by Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday. Kiwi Ah You was recently named in Ireland's extended Six Nations squad.
Saracens were completely dominant against Connacht and as if to rub salt into the wounds, they even scored a try after this cracking tackle was made. It's worth seeing though, and former boxer Ah You's story is an interesting one.
Ah You made the move to Ireland after not quite cracking the Crusaders or Super Rugby setup back home, despite having played for New Zealand at both u19 and u20 level.
After arriving in Ireland things weren't entirely plain sailing, but they're now starting to take shape and after 62 Connacht appearances - with 52 coming off the bench - he has now extended his deal and could possibly play for his newly adopted country very soon.
"My initial reaction was pure shock," he told the Irish Times after hearing about his selection.
"You know: it can't be true. It can't be true. But yeah, it has slowly been sinking in.."
In December he signed a contract extension that means he'll be with Connacht until 2016. It's a long way from Christchurch but for Rodney, wife Bella and their children, it's now very much home.
In October he qualified to play for Ireland through residency, and this could be the year that sees him wearing the colours of the country he beat with the Baby Blacks at junior level in 2007.
"We made the big decision to move here from New Zealand over three years ago and we've never looked back. Galway is our home. It’s where our two boys were born and we love it here," he said.
While it might be some time before he's a regular fixture in the Ireland squad, with hard hitting tackles like this he's sure to get the attention of the Ireland coach, fellow Kiwi Joe Schmidt.
Posted at 7:37 pm | 43 comments