Saturday, June 20, 2015
Chiefs playmaker Andrew Horrell felt the full impact of Malakai Fekitoa's hit in Saturday's play-off game against the Highlanders. The Highlanders have qualified, so will play the Waratahs in Sydney in their semi final on June 27th.
The Chiefs had a promising scrum deep in Highlander's territory after half an hour but Fekitoa read the play like a seasoned pro and absolutely smashed Chiefs fly half Andrew Horrell.
Fekitoa, still only 23, has developed a bit of a reputation for his big hits in Super Rugby, as you can see below. His tackle on Conrad Smith last season comes to mind.
The Highlanders went on to reach the Super Rugby semi final for the first time in 16 years, beating Chiefs 24-14 thanks to two tries from Waisake Naholo.
They will face the Waratahs, while the Brumbies will face the Hurricanes in Wellington in the other semi final, following the Canberra side's win over the Stormers earlier today.
Rugby HQ once again gave us something special last week as they mic'd up Brumbies star Christian Lealiifano in the match against the Crusaders.
As you will hear in the video, the talking that players do during a game is constant and the impacts in the tackle area are nothing short of thunderous.
We love mic'd up players here at RD and believe there should be at least one every game.
During the regular Super Rugby season, Lealiifano scored the most points for the Brumbies with 155; made the most tackles with 129; made the third most metres with 580; the second most carries with 123; and beat the third most defenders with 28.
His total of 155 points means the playmaker was the fifth highest points scorer in the entire league. He also scored the third highest amount of conversions with 30.
Do you think Lealiifano should be starting 10 or 12 for the Wallabies during the Rugby Championship and World Cup? Or do the stats not tell the whole story?
Statistics courtesy of Opta Sports and SANZAR
Fans have another great opportunity to secure tickets for Rugby World Cup 2015 with an additional 30,000 tickets, including five matches at Twickenham Stadium, set to go on sale at 10:00 BST on Thursday, June 25.
This means that there will be around 80,000 tickets on sale for 26 matches at 10 venues.
There will be 3,000 tickets for the Opening Ceremony and England v Fiji on Friday, September 18, 4,000 tickets for each of the quarter-finals at Twickenham Stadium, as well as tickets for Australia v Wales on Saturday, October 10, and France v Italy on Saturday, September 19.
The newly released tickets are a mixture of handbacks from the Rugby World Cup Limited commercial programme, extra seats from the venues and tickets that have been registered for resale from fans that can no longer use their tickets.
More info and a full list of available tickets
Friday, June 19, 2015
Richie McCaw, gives away some of his secrets in this excellent breakdown masterclass from Sky Sport NZ. Along with hosts Ian Jones and Jeff Wilson, both capped over 60 times for their country, we get to see some of the key aspects of breakdown work.
Now 34-years-old and no doubt heading into his final Rugby World Cup, the most capped All Blacks captain of all time talks about the various ways to clean out players at the breakdown, as well as protect and steal ball.
As he explains, it's all about making key decisions as you approach, and then winning the shoulder battle when making contact. If that doesn't work, there are other things you can do.
It's a fascinating look at an aspect of the game that is always hotly contested, and policed, and is more often than not an area that McCaw has dominated, for well over a decade now.
Unsurprisingly, All Blacks legend McCaw mentions Wallaby breakdown powerhouse David Pocock, saying that once he's set over the ball, he's almost impossible to move.
While there are specialists such as McCaw, Pocock and over the years, George Smith, each and every player on the field can learn from these techniques, as you're sure to encounter similar situations regularly. Take note, and get that body position correct.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
The latest Wraparound is great, with random clips of the best and worst in world rugby in the last week. First up there's a look at a hilarious, must-see Stade Francais celebration, then that old favourite, a referee tripping over before being hit in the face with the ball. Brilliant.
We also get to see some great hits from Super Rugby and grassroots rugby in Australia, before Sean highlights some badass behaviour from two Fox Sports commentators.
It's all in good fun, and a nice way to look back on the week that was. Enjoy.
Waisake Naholo did extremely well to outpace Julian Savea when the Highlanders met the Hurricanes two weeks ago... before running into King Julian's brother Ardie.
A promising Canes attacks saw Julian kick ahead before Naholo gathered the ball and absolutely burned the (similarly) big winger in the dead ball area.
Naholo did well to escape from a dangerous position but what he didn't expect was to run into little Savea brother Ardie and get buried back five metres.
The Hurricanes went on to blitz the Highlanders 56-20 with Julian Savea getting on the scoresheet later on in the game.
Big Julian is nailed on for a spot in New Zealand's World Cup squad, but do you think there's room for Waisake Naholo and Ardie too?
Jerry Collins was laid to rest yesterday as thousands turned out to honour the great All Black, who died in a car crash, along with his partner Alana, recently. Touching tributes were made by great friends Chris Masoe, Tana Umaga, Ma'a Nonu and Jonah Lomu.
Some great stories were told by former teammates Nonu and Conrad Smith in particular, while the likes of Richie McCaw, Piri Weepu and Sonny Bill Williams were all in attendance, amongst other All Blacks past and present.
Michael Jones spoke fondly of Collins and the impact he had on the sport, while Lomu and Alama Ieremia spoke of what a loyal man JC was.
While Collins' baby daughter Ayla remains in critical condition in hospital in Montpellier, it was revealed that he gave her a fighting chance by shielding her from the impact of the crash.
A fund setup in New Zealand to raise financial support for young Ayla has raised over $45,000 so far. If you'd like to contribute to it in any way possible, please visit here.
credit: OneNewsNZ/NZAUTV Rugby Union