Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Fiji women's sevens team produced one of the best scores you will see this year, definitely in the shortened down version of the game anyway, at the Canada 7s this past weekend.
Lavenia Tinai starts off the sequence of play with an outrageous dummy in her own 22.
She exchanges passes with Asinate Savu before a series of dummies, offloads and miss passes finds Pricilla Siati on the other wing who offloads in the tackle to allow Rusila Nagasau to score in the corner.
The Cup quarter final match was in the fourth round of the Women's Series in Langford, Canada, against New Zealand women, who went on to win 26-5.
The Harlem Globetrotters have nothing on these girls.
Monday, April 20, 2015
Sean Maloney and the team from Fox Sports are back with the Shortball highlights from Round 10 of Super Rugby. Sit back and enjoy the try of the week, which is another classic from Beauden Barrett, along with some bone-crunching hits and unusual happenings, as the guys at Rugby HQ have put together another great recap.
Barrett is certainly enjoying his rugby right now having also won try of the week in Round 9 - a score which many are tipping for try of the season - and his form surely won't go unnoticed by the All Black selection committee come September.
Also, get another look at referee Nick Briant's brilliant reaction to taking a powerful pass right on his nose, along with probably one of the worst bombed tries you'll ever see from Hurricanes flanker, Ardie Savea.
The Hurricanes' loss means they are only a single point clear in the New Zealand conference after the Chiefs dominant display over the Crusaders moves them up to fourth overall.
The Waratahs see themselves leapfrog into seventh spot as they try to salvage their season, and inflicting the first loss on the top ranked side will have done wonders for their confidence ahead of the next round.
The Cheetahs' week goes from bad to worse, as not only did they suffer a home defeat to the Reds by a single point, their flanker Heinrich Brussow has broken his arm and looks likely to miss the remainder of the Super Rugby season.
With more shock results this week and the teams fighting for places on the table, Round 11 is set to be full of exciting match-ups.
For more Shortball highlights head to our Plays of the Week section
credit: Fox Sports Australia
Arch poacher Bryan Habana broke the deadlock in extra time as Toulon got the better of Leinster 25-20 in a see-saw battle of a Champions Cup Semi Final on Sunday. They will face Clermont in the final, and are on track for what would be a sensational treble.
It was far from pretty, but the tension of a European Cup semi final provided a fascinating game of rugby, one that at one stage was very close to ending with penalties.
Toulon had to dig deep, but through the boot of Leigh Halfpenny, and a very well taken intercept try by Habana, the defending champions got home, and will contest their third straight European Cup final. It will be an occasion that requires far more precision and according to the South African star, discipline.
"If we want to be contenders to win the European title, we will have to go back to the drawing board. As a team, we are going to have to look really hard at ourselves after that performance," Habana said.
"Our discipline needs to be better and we can't afford to make as many errors. Mentally, I think we turned up and thought it was going to be a walkover, but the game ended up being on a knife-edge.
"We have the chance to make it a special end to the season for players like Carl Hayman, Ali Williams and Bakkies Botha, who are retiring. We've got 80 minutes - or maybe 100 - to try to put them into the history books as legends with a third successive European win."
For Leinster coach Matt O'Connor, it was a tough loss but he said he was proud of the effort.
"The overwhelming emotion is one of pride. The effort the lads put in was fantastic and we are obviously incredibly disappointed to come second. Habana's intercept was the turning point - he is world-class - but the positive for us was the effort. It was second to none.
"A lot of people had written us off coming into this game, but we will back ourselves to go anywhere and beat anybody."
Toulon face Clermont in the Champions Cup Final at Twickenham on May 2nd.
Highlights wrap below, with the option of highlights with commentary on the next page
Wesley Fofana scored the only try of a tight first European Champions Cup Semi Final on Saturday, as Clermont beat visiting Saracens 13-9 to set up an all-French final meeting with Toulon. They faced the same team in the 2013 final, but came up short on that occasion.
Stade Geoffrey-Guichard was packed with 42 000 fans and despite the close scoreline, they were not dissapointed, as a piece of brilliance from flyhalf Brock James set Fofana up for what proved to be a crucial score in the grand scheme of things.
Earlier bustling winger Napolioni Nalaga came within inches of crossing, but was bundled into touch by Chris Ashton, who on another day might have been dealt with for a no-arms tackle.
Clermont's Welsh centre Jonathan Davies has said that wins like that justify his move to France.
"Days like today are why I joined Clermont. As a rugby player you want to play in front of big crowds and you want to win things, and the reason I came to Clermont was to win things.
"That was a big thing for me: Clermont were traditionally always up there competing for championships. So the opportunity for me to come here and play with some great players and be involved with a great club, I'm very lucky.
"There's a lot of rugby to be played and I look forward to being involved in it and hopefully we can get some silverware, because this club deserves some silverware after some painful, close shaves. We need to make sure that we get championships for this great club," Davies said.
Fullback Nick Abendanon said that he feels it's time for Clermont to take the top spot.
"It is another final for Clermont and we honestly believe this is our year. We have worked so hard to get here that, hopefully, it will be our year. It has been a hell of a ride in the Champions Cup this season."
He too said that days like that were one of the reasons he moved to France.
"The noise in the stadium was deafening and you simply don't experience anything like that kind of atmosphere in English rugby."
The final against defending champions Toulon will be played at Twickenham on 2 May 2015.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Referee Nick Briant found himself a little closer to the action than he would have liked when the the Crusaders hosted the Chiefs in their Super Rugby derby. Chiefs scrumhalf Brad Weber fired the ball to switch play, so Briant could do nothing but take the full brunt of it in the face.
We've seen some bad ref knocks in time, some being tackled, and others getting hit in the head, but this one was square in the nose, with possible comparisons to when Wayne Barnes and Andrew Small both got hit in recent years.
Briant's immediate reaction though, was priceless.
Through teary eyes, cool as you like Briant quipped "Falconned, right in the nose."
View more funny, and sometimes hard to watch, referee incidents in the Related Posts below
Friday, April 17, 2015
Europe's elite clashes once again this weekend with the Semi-Finals of the Champions and Challenge Cups being played over three days. After the excitement of the Quarters we look forward to the biggest teams in Northern Hemisphere club rugby going toe to toe and analyse in detail each fixture for you, pointing out who and what to look out for.
View our previews, focusing on the strengths, weaknesses and key players from each side.
Despite losing their European Champions Cup quarter-final to Leinster 18-15, George Ford put in a top flyhalf display, capped off by setting up a try and scoring one of his own. Here is a quick nod to his quality play as he looks likely to star in the upcoming World Cup.
After an impressive Six Nations for England, young playmaker Ford has come back into his club setup with a renewed confidence and a willingness to put his team on the front foot.
Always aware of the game around him, Ford scored the first try of the day as he cut through the Leinster defence and then turned on the pace to beat the full-back, Rob Kearney.
Not long after the halftime break, the Bath fly-half found a similar gap in the Irish line, but this time unable to make it to the try line himself, he produced an impressive offload to his captain Stuart Hooper, who's big enough to see his momentum carry him over the whitewash.
With their European campaign now over, Bath turn their sights back to the Aviva Premiership, where they remain a distinct threat to first placed Northampton Saints.
With a home World Cup on the horizon, and current first choice flyhalf for England, 2015 has the potential to be a massive year for George Ford.
As for Leinster, we wish them luck this weekend as they take on defending champions Toulon in the European Champions Cup Semi Final, in Toulon, on Sunday.