Thursday, June 18, 2015
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
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Ahead of September's Rugby World Cup, the governing body, World Rugby announced that current laws will be more strictly enforced by referee, assistant referees and television match officials.
The World Rugby Laws Representation Group (LRG) met in April and agreed on the implementation of certain rules, such as in-the-air contact - which has developed into a highly contentious issue in recent months - truck-and-trailer at mauls and feeding in the scrums.
The group decided that from now on, any player making a high or so-called choke tackle around the neck can be at risk of being sin-binned or sent off. It also said that dangerous clean-outs around the neck at rucks and mauls must be penalised.
The main enforcement changes are as follows:
High Tackles and Neck contact - Law 10.4(e)
- Every time the head or the neck is deliberately grabbed or choked, the offending player runs the risk of receiving a yellow or red card
- Cleanouts around the neck must be penalised
Challenging players in the air - Law 10.4(i)
- Play on – Fair challenge with both players in a realistic position to catch the ball. Even if the player(s) land(s) dangerously, play on
- Penalty only – Fair challenge with wrong timing - No pulling down
- Yellow card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player is pulled down landing on his back or side
- Red card – Not a fair challenge, there is no contest and the player lands on his head, neck or shoulder
Scrum feed - Law 20.6(d)
- Ensure that all scrum feeds are credible
- FK if clearly not straight
- Look for shoulders not being parallel
- Manage the situation
Chairman of the LRG John Jeffrey said: “The eyes of the rugby-loving world will be on the Rugby World Cup later this year and, as always, there will be plenty of attention paid to the decisions of the match officials. The LRG has sought to clarify to players, coaches, media and spectators exactly what they can expect from referees in these key areas during the tournament.
“It was felt that law changes were not necessary in these areas but that referees needed to apply the current law more effectively in some cases.”
The full list of amended laws and video examples can be found by visiting the World Rugby website here
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
England will defend their U20 World Championship title against New Zealand as they beat South Africa 28-20 in a physical battle in Calvisano, Italy. It will be England's third successive final, having won on the two previous occasions.
South Africa were made to pay for indiscipline as two of their key forwards were sinbinned for high tackles. England took advantage and went into the halftime break with a 18-6 lead, before being in what seemed like complete control late in the second half.
Last year's finalists, South Africa, mounted a late comeback, scoring two tries in the last ten minutes, but it was in vain as England never looked like losing this hard-fought contest.
"I am so proud of the boys and how they played, particularly up front," said Head Coach Jon Callard. "The South Africans are very big and physical and we more than matched them – not just for size and heart, but for speed of thought and game management.
"The way we disrupted the line out and scrum was also very impressive. I would consider this evening a proper game of test football!"
South African coach Dawie Theron felt that the cards really cost his side in the first half.
"You must give credit for England, who are the defending champions. They came with a massive forward onslaught and were very physical and direct. Both our forwards who were yellow carded are jumpers in the line-out and that disrupted us.
"The fact that we played with seven forwards for 20 minutes in the first half really sapped our energy and left us with too much to do in the end," said Theron.
The final between England and New Zealand will take place in Cremona on Saturday, 20 June. New Zealand will be after their first title since 2011, while England are after a hat-trick of wins, having claimed the trophy in both 2013 and 2014.
Losing semi-finalists South Africa will play France for third place, at the same venue.
New Zealand Under 20's were in dominant form as they notched up a 45-7 semi final victory over France in the U20 Championship in Calvisano on Monday. They will face England in the final, after the reigning champions beat South Africa in the second semi.
Blues star Tevita Li scored a hat-trick of tries, becoming the tournament's all-time top try scorer with a total of 13 tries so far, to place him ahead of Australia's Andrew Kellaway.
After the match New Zealand head coach Scott Robertson praised the leadership of Otere Black, and also said that having players with Super Rugby experience, such as wing Li and flanker Akira Ioane, has been a huge asset for them.
"What we did today with Otere steering us round, and the experience of a couple of Super boys, everyone just put their hand up and executed. We were quite clinical at times and I think it just showed the clarity of our preparation and the mindspace we're in."
The big win was the highest ever score in an Under 20 semi final, beating England's record of 42 scored against Ireland last year.
It's actually the first time that the Baby Blacks have reached the final since 2012, having last been champions in 2011. It will be their sixth ever final where they will face champions England, who beat South Africa 28-20 to reach their third successive final.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Catch up on the final round of pool play in Super Rugby, as Sean Maloney pulls out the best tries, biggest hits, and most unfortunate You're Kidding Me incident in round 18. This time, it's Jannie du Plessis coming close to his first try in over one hundred matches.
Special mention for the Fijian freak that is Nemani Nadolo, who scored another beauty.
Sean Maloney from Fox Sports Australia is back with another edition of The Wraparound for us, featuring all the weird and wonderful things that make the sport we all love so special. Here is a look at what went down in the last week or so.
Kicking us off this week is Georgia Page, the internet sensation who heroically played on with a broken nose. Not only that but the nose didn't stop her from carrying on making some crunching challenges. She is one tough cookie thats for sure.
Talking about tough cookies and broken noses, a flashback to 2013 with Australian sevens player Sharni Williams, who catches a knee to the face breaks her nose also. Did that stop her? Not a chance, as she goes on to score the match winning try.
Following on from this, not involving any broken bones this time, is Blade Thompson of the Hurricanes. Blade might want to work on his hand-eye coordination skills as he completley misses his teammates high five to inadvertently slap himself in the face. Blade has made it his own and used the slap as celebration after his try against the Highlanders!
Sticking with New Zealand we move on the one of the best tries you will see this year, courtesy of the Baby Blacks. The try will certainly go down as one of the best in the U20 World Cup, the perfect combination of pace, power and teamwork.
Staying in Italy, we move onto the Samoan team and one heck of a great finish from them. A leap followed by a twist and turn, something probably more suited to gymnastics, finishes off a great try for them.
Before the boys say "Hasta La Vista" (say it in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) the final clip of the week features Chloe Dalton and Cory Jane both showing off their Schwarzenegger impressions, both not too bad but with room for improvement.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
Chiefs centre Sonny Bill Williams made his return to Super Rugby this weekend following a month off with a nagging back injury. He got right back into the swing of things, and made this massive crunching tackle on All Blacks teammate Conrad Smith in the first half.
Following a solid shot from Liam Messam, Williams outdid him with a huge tackle on veteran Hurricanes midfielder Conrad Smith. The tough-as-nails All Black legend took the hit well, but asked referee Chris Pollock if it was worth looking at. Pollock said he was comfortable with it.
Williams has since been issued a warning by the citing commissioner however, for contravening Law 10.4 (e) for Dangerous tacking, which states the following:
10.4 (e) Dangerous tackling, A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponents neck or head is dangerous play.
A Citing Commissioner Warning may be issued by the SANZAR Citing Commissioner for foul play incidents that are very close to, but do not meet the red card threshold for citings.
Upon further review of the match footage the Citing Commissioner deemed a Citing Commissioner Warning was appropriate.
Do you think it was high and could have actually been penalised? Whatever the case, it was a massive hit, and Smith did very well to bounce back up from it.