Sunday, May 31, 2015
Glasgow Warriors created history last night as they became the first Scottish club to win the Guinness PRO12 with a convincing 31-13 victory over Munster in Belfast.
After finishing the regular season at the top of the table, Gregor Townsend's men showed just why they are the best team the league with a spectacular first half performance, virtually putting the game to rest with three fantastic tries.
At the forefront of most things good for the Scots, was Fijian second row Leone Nakarawa. The 6ft4 giant used his famous offloads to excellent effect as he orchestrated the first two tries, for Rob Harley and DTH van der Merwe respectively.
Despite Nakarawa's deserving man of the match title, scrum-half Henry Pyrgos controlled the game superbly from the start, and his third try after half an hour - latching onto a pass from a sumptuous break from Stuart Hogg - virtually ruled out any chance of a full Munster comeback.
Glasgow dominated Munster for the majority of the match and kept up their intensity despite the worseneing weather conditions. The Munstermen didn't relent however and struck back with a fine effort from centre Andrew Smith on the brink of half-time.
They should have bagged a second after the break but Glasgow just never looked like a side ready to give up on making history. Sublime defensive efforts prevented a further score as they held up Paul O'Connell over the line.
This proved a crucial turning point as the momentum swung back to Glasgow entering the final 20 minutes. And with it came Munster's capitulation as Finn Russell finished a prolonged period of pressure on the Irish line to score the fourth try, and all but seal the title.
A long range Duncan Weir penalty seven minutes from the end took them past 30 points in a commanding and emphatic victory.
Arguably one of the best moments in Scottish rugby in the professional era, Glasgow now combined sheer exaltation with an equal sense of releif as they became the first Scottish club side to ever win a major trophy.
And head coach Gregor Townsend is convinced there is more to come.
Speaking to BBC Scotland after the match, Townsend said, "We will be a much better team for having won."
"Jonny Gray is 21, Finn Russell 22, Stuart Hogg is 22. These players have committed to staying at the club and they have seen they can win trophies."
And he added: "There's a lot more to come from this group of players and they have now had the experience of winning something, which is fantastic."
Viw match highlights below, with some of the Glasgow celebrations on page two
Friday, May 29, 2015
Yoann Huget could find himself in trouble after footage emerged of what appears to be the Toulouse winger stamping on Bordeaux Begles lock Jan Andre Marais' head/face.
The incident occurred 18 minutes into Saturday's Top 14 clash between the two sides.
Huget appears to lash out with his foot at Marais but it is unclear whether it was intentional or not, with the fullback checking on the lock and genuinely showing some concern for the player.
The commentators did not react and neither do players from either team, but it does happen just to the edge of camera shot. No replays were shown, and as yet there has been no sign of a citing or further repercussions, so one can only assume it was viewed as purely accidental.
Toulouse prop Census Johnston received a straight red card in the first half of the game for punching Metuisela Talebula. View the punches here
The Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) ban guidelines state that a low offence can carry a ban of two weeks, while a high end offence can carry a ban of nine. The maximum offence that can be given - but only in extremely rare, severe circumstances – is 52 weeks.
Huget went on to score the momentum-changing try, with Toulouse running in eventual 23-22 winners after finding themselves 15-9 down with 20 minutes left to play.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Rugby HQ's Sean Maloney gives us the run down on some of the more bizarre bits of play that took place in the world of rugby last weekend. This is the latest edition, round 16, and you can also view last week's video, round 15, on page two of this post.
This week's wrapup is loads of fun, with a few things that you definitely wouldn't want to happen to you. First up there is one of the most lethal looking falcons ever, as a player charges down a clearing kick, with his face. It looks pretty bad, but we're assured he's okay. Moving on.
Hurricanes forward Blade Thomson did little to raise the bar as he celebrated by slapping himself in the face, while referee Marius van der Westhuizen got pushed around in the Waratahs vs Crusaders game. And we get to see the same happen to Stu Dickinson.
Finally, there's a quick look at a lovely try from the Australian Women's 7s side.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The Aviva Premiership Final is fast approaching as fans gear up for an epic showcase, as Saracens edged Northampton and Bath ran riot in Leicester in the semi finals. Today we're letting you know about a way to get your hands on tickets for the big day at Twickenham.
StubHub UK are giving fans a chance to be at the game, which promises to be a fascinating battle between the flair of Bath's talented backs, and the power Saracens have shown up front. Fill out your details here for a chance to witness the season finale.
With all to play for at a packed house, make sure you don’t miss out on what is sure to a classic final. Follow the link then hit the day to enter to win a pair of tickets for the final.
Dylan Hartley will appear before a RFU Disciplinary panel later today, charged with striking an opponent with the head in the Aviva Premiership semi final between Northampton Saints and Saracens. If found guilty, Hartley could jeopardise his position with England.
Defending champions Saints lost 29-24, but the incident took place as flanker Tom Wood drove over to score. As you can see, Hartley was celebrating, then turned around and walked straight into opposition hooker, Jamie George, making contact with his head.
A scuffle ensued and ref Greg Garner asked the TMO to bring it up on the big screen, but he was satisfied that there was nothing in it, so play continued. Hartley was later cited.
Hartley has been suspended five times for various offences ranging from biting to gouging, to insulting a referee. All of that will play against him if found guilty at the hearing.
The hearing will be held at the Coventry Holiday Inn on Wednesday 27th May at 7.15pm.
UPDATE: Dylan Hartley has been suspended for four weeks.
Gloucester scored twice in extra time to beat Connacht 40-32 in a thrilling European Champions Cup playoff match. The Irish side led with a minute left to play, but Gloucester took the game to extra time, then Jonny May settled it with a brilliant 75-meter try.
With 40 seconds left in the match Connacht led 25-18. The Man of the Match was chosen, and the commentary team spoke in jest about going to extra time. Referee Romain Poite then made a huge call, penalising Connacht when it looked like Gloucester were infringing.
A try followed, as Billy Meakes danced his way through despite calls of obstruction, leaving Connacht coach Pat Lam scratching his head. "That try [by Meakes] looked like a block to us but the TMO ruled against and you've got to live with those tough calls."
Greg Laidlaw converted the try and the sides were taken to Extra Time at 25-25.
Connacht scored a try in the 92nd minute through Matt Healy, before Gloucester drove over the line to take a 33-32 lead with five minutes left.
From the kickoff the wise thing to do would have been to hang on to the ball, or pump it downfield, but it landed in the arms of Jonny May, and he felt like having a bit of a run.
May's dazzling footwork allowed him to beat no less than four players, before linking with Billy Twelvetrees who fed Meakes and then got the return ball back, then fed May on the inside for an outstanding try and the killer blow that drove the nail in the coffin for Connacht.
"I don't know where that came from," said May post match. "I'm seeing stars. I'm so exhausted, but you just find the energy. It's just a case of getting the ball and running into space and trying not to think."
Gloucester's director of rugby, David Humphreys, said that May should have kicked it out, but his natural instinct took over and that's what makes him such a valuable player.
"The instruction was to kick the ball out but Jonny just does what he does. A fantastic try. Every great team needs X-factor players and Jonny gives us and England that X-factor.
"It was a moment of individual brilliance for a remarkable try. I have run out of superlatives for him, he's an X factor player and if England want to win a World Cup, I think it would be very hard for them to leave him out."
The victory sets up a Champions Cup play-off final against Bordeaux-Begles in Worcester on May 31st. The winners of that game will secure the final Champions Cup spot.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Most young rugby players fail hard in the gym because they use crap workouts meant for bodybuilders and not rugby-specific training. Any amount of training is going to help, but it will be boys against men when you face players who are properly trained for rugby.
Today, we’re launching our new Rugby Strength Academy which is the fastest, most effective way to get trained for rugby. And for this week, you can get your first two months FREE:
Enter Rugby Strength Academy Now
- train like a professional rugby player, 365 days/year including off/pre-season
- watch your gains soar month after month by implementing "periodization"
- average 1-2kgs per week during your mass building phase with "the double rep method"
- return from injury more confident than ever, and reduce risk of re-injury
- use rugby-specific exercises to train for rugby for tackles, rucks, and scrum
- get training from pros like ex England and Lions hooker Andy Titterrell
See an example of coaches Dave, Andy and Ben in action below