Sunday, January 19, 2014
Ospreys and Wales lock Ian Evans faces an anxious wait to see what his Six Nations availability will be like after he was cited for a red card for stamping in Friday's Heineken Cup clash against Leinster in Dublin. Leinster won the game 36-3.
Evans has been a key player for Wales in recent times but will likely miss out on at least the first two of their Championship matches after Romain Poite red carded him for stamping on the face of Leinster lock Mike McCarthy, who left the field with blood pouring from his head.
Ospreys backs coach Gruff Rees admitted it might have been reckless, but said that even after multiple TV replays, Evans alleged stamping wasn't clear and obvious.
"It was a big moment, but I'm not sure about it to be honest, like a lot of observers, I think. Perhaps it was a bit reckless, but there were a lot of replays needed to make a decision, which suggests it wasn't that clear and obvious.
"It took five or six times in slow-mo to isolate the incident. I don't know if that's clear and obvious from a red card point of view, and it changes the game.
"You have to be absolutely certain with a red card, and that there were so many replays and there are still so many differing opinions on it suggests that the clips may not have been totally conclusive," he added.
It looked as though a number of players could have been guilty of stamping, but as the one angle shows, Evans' boot seemed to do the most damage. View a short post match studio analysis.
Posted at 3:19 pm | 43 comments
Thursday, January 16, 2014
While condoning fighting on the rugby field is naturally frowned upon, most fans would admit that they enjoy seeing a good scrap occasionally. With that in mind, there are few places that do it better than France, especially in seasons gone by. Here is a compilation of some of the best ever.
Canal Plus have put together this video that features some of the biggest punches, fights and dirty bits of play in French rugby over the last decade or so. It was created for the show 'The Rugby Session' (Le Séance Rugby) on Canal+ Sport, and is somewhat of a masterpiece.
The Top 14 doesn't have the reputation of being one of the toughest leagues to play in for nothing, and that's all on show here. And yes, Irishman Trevor Brennan seems to be in there a helluva lot.
View more classic French punchups and brawls in the Related Posts below
Posted at 6:12 pm | 66 comments
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Continuing with Sky Sports' brilliant School of Hard Knocks series, today we look at episode 3 of this compelling show that through the vehicle of rugby, gives you an insight into the hearts and minds of a group of troubled individuals from Glasgow.
In the first two episodes we were introduced to the lads and watched on as they tried to form a team and blend into a unit, with mixed results. In this the third episode the boys train with professional side Glasgow Warriors, and get introduced to a previous Hard Knocks player, Pedro.
Pedro featured in last year's series in Tottenham, and through his determination and resilience he soon became one of the most inspirational leaders we've seen on the show. He talks to this year's group and explains that by taking opportunities with both hands, anything is possible.
After training Scott Quinnell and Will Greenwood have to pick the team for their first match, and despite not having the biggest pack, they manage to scrape together what looks like a solid unit.
Their match against HMP Oakwood, a prison team, is the first ever rugby game for the majority of the guys. It brings home the reality of where they could be if they end up on the wrong side of the tracks. It also serves as somewhat of a lesson in how tough rugby can be.
Later in the show tensions boil over at training before they play against Cartha Queen's Park XV.
The final episode will be featured soon, and you can view the first two in the Related Posts below.
Posted at 4:02 pm | 4 comments
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Harlequins lost 16-13 to Clermont in the Heineken Cup on Saturday but one of the moments of the match came from Quins scrumhalf Danny Care, who produced a piece of magic for Matt Hopper's try. Care unfortunately limped off later with an ankle injury.
Care set up Hopper's try with a superb piece of skill after a Chris Robshaw kick ahead, but later in the game he injured his ankle and now faces a race for fitness ahead of the Six Nations. Coach Conor O'Shea praised his attacking instinct that gave Quins a 13-3 lead.
"We didn't start particularly well but then a piece of absolute genius from Danny changed the energy our way and we were pretty much on top for the rest of the first half," said O'Shea.
"Danny's piece of skill was quite exceptional. You can't practice that. He gave us a bit of momentum and he's a game changer."
Clermont came back with a try to Napolioni Nalaga, and then fellow Fijian Sitiveni Sivivatu scored to level things at 13-13 before Brock James slotted an easy penalty late in the game.
As a result Clermont have reached the last eight, while Harlequins are now effectively out the running. This excellent try, that included a chip ahead by a forward, will live long in the memory.
Posted at 10:47 am | 30 comments
Friday, January 10, 2014
You probably wouldn't say it to his face, but Sebastien Chabal is a fairy. The man once known as the Caveman, who was recently suspended for knocking out a player, has taken part in a TV ad that is sure to go viral, for the sheer bizarreness of it if nothing else.
Chabal, who plays for Lyon in the French second division, was banned for 3 weeks after he punched Agen's Marc Giraud with one punch recently. The 36-year-old former France star lashed out at Giraud after he held onto his shirt at the breakdown. Chabal knocked him out with one punch.
He publicly apolologised for the incident but was given the three-week suspension after being leniently dealt with (yellow card) at the time. The incident clearly hasn't affected his popularity though, and if anything it probably added to his fearsome reputation.
He made headlines again today for a slightly different reason though, as this currency conversion company TV advert sees him dressed up as a fairly... a currency fairy. The ad airs on UK TV soon and is sure to make rugby fans snigger whenever they see it. Your thoughts?
Update: You can now view some outtakes from the ad on page two
View more of the best and worst of Chabal in the Related Posts below
Posted at 8:16 pm | 6 comments
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Benson Stanley made arguably the biggest hit of the new year when he smashed Yoann Huget with a great tackle at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday. Toulouse went on to beat the Top 14 leaders 19-12 as they maintained their excellent home record.
Toulouse have won all nine home games this season but have a poor away record, losing all of their seven matches on the road. They are up to fourth on the overall log now, while Clermont remain top with their losing bonus point.
"It's good to beat the leaders Clermont during this period where we weren't playing very good rugby," said Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir.
"That gives us a boost before the visit of Saracens (in the Heineken Cup this coming weekend)."
Benson Stanley, who forged a reputation for himself as a big hitter when still playing in New Zealand, made another trademark crunching tackle as he smashed Huget, who in fairness received the ball on a hiding to nothing.
Stanley is the smaller of the two players so as with Sam Tuitupou's hit in the previous post, it was nice to see good tackling technique prevail. It was also good to see no TMO intervention, as has become the norm these days when a dominant tackle is made.
You can view more great hits from (and on) Stanley in the Related Posts below
Posted at 2:49 pm | 31 comments
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Here's a short clip of a big tackle that Sale Sharks centre Sam Tuitupou made on 6ft4 London Irish centre Eamonn Sheridan when the two sides met in the Aviva Premiership recently.
Sheridan had kicked the ball ahead so possibly wasn't expecting the contact, but Tuitupou commited himself and smashed the bigger man to the floor with a perfect tackle.
Great hit and even though it's a short clip, it has been added to the RD Big Hits archive.
Posted at 6:11 am | 2 comments