Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Motor Neuron Disease has been in the spotlight of late as the ALS Ice Bucket challenge has taken over social media, with celebrities and indeed rugby players taking part to raise money and awareness. One man who knows about it first hand is Springbok legend, Joost Van Der Westhuizen.
Van Der Westhuizen, who played for South Africa 89 times between 1993 and 2003, has been diagnosed with ALS, and has made it his personal mission to improve conditions, support and facilities for other sufferers out there. He does this through awareness, and his J9 foundation.
In a fascinating and harrowing 10 minute interview with Carte Blanche, he has spoken about how this has become his life's mission, and rugby was perhaps only there to get him to this point.
The video is hosted on DSTV's website - click the image above or watch the interview here
Posted at 3:29 pm | 5 comments
Everyone loves a good lookalike, so the guys at Rugby HQ put together their selection of the Top 5 in Australian rugby. Actor Michael Rapaport comes to mind whenever Kieran Read is interviewed, but who has the most spot on doppelganger in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below.
For more great selections from Rugby HQ, view our archived Top 5 section
Posted at 1:15 pm | 11 comments
Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna has been cited for pushing referee Glen Jackson during the ITM Cup round 3 match vs North Harbour on Saturday night. The charge is for acting against the spirit of good sportsmanship, and he looks likely to be found guilty.
The incident - alleged according to the disciplinary statement, but quite clear from the video - occurred late in the game as Waikato attempted to hold out the opposition. With Tameifuna on the tryline, Jackson got in his way, so he gave him a bit of a shove to clear his defensive line.
Jackson didn't appear too bothered about it, barely looking in the All Black tourist's direction. Irony, or perhaps karma, was at play though as the former professional flyhalf was given the chance to show yellow to the giant prop just seconds later.
The two incidents weren't related, but one has to wonder if there would have been a talking to if the slowing down of the ball didn't happen. Perhaps Tameifuna apologised as it happened.
Following the match, the incident was picked up by Citing Commissioner John Wootton, who cited under law 10.4 (m), which deems that a player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure.
The review will take place tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday 3 September, by Judicial Officer Chris Morris via video conference. Waikato held on to win the match 22-16, after Tameifuna had earlier scored a try in the first half.
View similar incidents in the Related Posts, featuring Brian Mujati shoving Nigel Owens in the back, Neil Best pushing George Clancy out of his way, and Lifeimi Mafi actually tackling a referee. There are a few other good ones there too, as well as some typically hard-hitting Big Ben Tameifuna clips.
Posted at 10:23 am | 22 comments
Monday, September 01, 2014
England Rugby 2015 launched the ticketing drive for next year's Rugby World Cup today with an advert that features actor Charles Dance of Game of Thrones fame. More significantly, it also includes Test players from some of the competing nations.
The video features Dylan Hartley, George North and Andrea Masi as well as legends such as Martin Johnson, Serge Betsen and Sir Ian McGeechan mixed in with fans, mascots and referees.
It's directed by Peter Cattaneo of Full Monty fame, and stars Dance, who himself is a big rugby fan.
It's an impressive production, but sadly falls short without any key members of the best three teams in the world included, namely the World Champion All Blacks, the Springboks and the Wallabies. Logisitical reasons no doubt, but Ashley Johnson is there, who last played Test rugby in 2011, so perhaps they could have tracked down someone relevant to wear a black or yellow jersey.
Aside from that, there are some fascinating extras included, for example the Millennium Stadium groundsmen, Aston Villa and Leicester City mascots - representing two of the RWC 2015 match venues - and Great Britain wheelchair rugby player Paul McDerby.
The world's best 20 teams will compete in 48 matches, played at 13 venues up and down England (and Cardiff) with 1 million tickets going on general sale this month.
"Tickets are at a range of prices starting at £7 for children and £15 for adults and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the event next year," said Debbie Jarvis, organising committee CEO.
Tickets for RWC 2015 go on general sale Sep 12-29 at tickets.rugbyworldcup.com
Posted at 4:44 pm | 27 comments
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Going back a few weeks, this is the excellent try that Wester Province scored against the Blue Bulls in Round two of the Currie Cup in Cape Town. Juan De Jongh was on hand to finish it, but it was all about little Cheslin Kolbe, who set it up with some dazzling footwork and a brilliant no look pass.
View more sensational pieces of play in our Great Tries section
Posted at 2:24 pm | 2 comments
Friday, August 29, 2014
Waikato lost 46-17 to Taranaki in the ITM Cup on Wednesday, conceding six tries in Hamilton, but it was the home side that provided the moment of the match. Trailing and in need of something special, Tawera Kerr-Barlow delivered in the second half.
The released All Black contributed towards Waikato's first try in the 43rd minute, scored by Declan O'Donnell, with a flick pass, but it was the second in particular that was from another planet.
We've seen similar reverse type passes before, namely with Brock James and Tamati Ellison last year, but those - equally brilliant - were to do with momentum. This was a stationary, calculated decision, and he pulled it off perfectly. Straight to hand, and certainly not forward.
Taranaki picked up their biggest win against their provincial neighbours, as Marty McKenzie scored two of his team's tries, and kicked six from eight attempts at goal. Waikato's only tries were those by Joe Webber and O'Donnell in what was a good few minutes, having trailed 27-3 at the break.
The 46-17 loss comes a week after being thumped 58-27 by Canterbury. They face North Harbour on Saturday, while Taranaki take on Auckland away on Sunday.
While this pass won't mean too much to the Waikato outfit after a loss like that, it's well worth watching again. Another thing to note is that the advantage was only called by the referee after he made the pass, not before, so it took a lot of skill and a serious amount of self-belief to pull it off.
The updated video below includes the assist for the first try, as well as the pass for the second
Posted at 5:36 pm | 8 comments
Joe Marler is at his best in front of camera. He's a pretty good rugby player too, obviously, but as fans have picked up on, the guy has great banter. Here the Harlequins prop talks about what goes on in the team bus, and his amusing pets.
Marler recently took up the skippers's role at Harlequins, after Chris Robshaw stepped down to focus on the England captaincy. The 24-year-old has said that he's looking forward to starting things well against London Irish in the Twickenham Double Header next weekend.
"The Double Header is always a great day, but in the past both teams have been a bit negative against each other, so hopefully we can play some good rugby and have a good day," he said.
"I love a little London derby and to be honest I think it needs to be a little bit more derby-like. We're getting a bit itchy and excited to get out there for the Double Header now."
"Pre-season has been as brutal as any other pre-season, but it's gone really well. Most of the boys are in great shape although some aren't in such good shape and I'd probably be in that category."
More of Marler in the Related Posts below, and more humour in our aptly named funnies section
Posted at 12:47 pm | 3 comments