Monday Jul 2, 2012 Manu Tuilagi vs Jean De Villiers in the first Test in Durban

Manu Tuilagi vs Jean De Villiers in the first Test in Durban
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Expected to make a big impact during the three-Test series against the Springboks, England’s powerhouse center Manu Tuilagi showed patches of what he’s capable of, but was for the most part contained by the midfield combo of Jean De Villiers and Francois Steyn. Here is a quick look back at some of the best collisions from the first Test.

De Villiers, who was playing in his first match as captain of the Springboks, said prematch that he was expecting a tough physical challenge when going up against Tuilagi.

“Manu Tuilagi has shown he is a massive threat on attack and defensively he is very solid as well. Frans and I will have our work cut out tomorrow. It is going to be a tough day at the office but it is a challenge we are looking forward to.

“We are representing our country, they are representing theirs and that is what Test match rugby is all about. It is putting your bodies on the line and digging in for your country,” De Villiers said.

Both players did exactly that, with Tuilagi perhaps getting the points victory in their first meeting, but De Villiers coming out winner over the series, having successfully limited the damage the Samoan wrecking ball managed to inflict.

Below is a quick look at some of the big charges from both players, and includes a try saving tackle from Tuilagi on Pierre Spies that wasn’t replayed during the match, but was excellent.

You can have a browse through the Related Posts below the video for the match highlights, as well as some of the best and worst moments from both Tuilagi and De Villiers over the years.

12 Comments

  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Watched the vid a while back but I do remember him tripping, not sure if its the same incident but he bumps JDV and JDV gets up and makes the tackle...or helps make the tackle...

    Reply
  • Agree that Manu is playing like a junior and is too focussed on smashing his opponent. The big smash where he knocked jdv on his ass and then tripped over him is a perfect example. Big deal. He didn't offload the ball after, he didn't even get pass his opponent, he barely made the gainline. He does it again and gets thrown to the ground and then gets a penalty. He needs to focus on moving the ball, not his opponents.

    Reply
  •  breakaway
    breakaway

    To clarify, the vid looks pretty even to me, but I think JDV is currently the better all round player and going by what I saw of this whole series, if I had to chose one or the other for my side right now I'd go for De Villiers. But if Conrad Smith was on offer these two wouldn't get a look-in. I agree that Tuilagi will probably improve and my point is that one of the things that will make him a more effective player is having fast creative players around him, and he needs to connect with them. Maybe Jonathan below is right, I'll keep watching.

    Reply
  •  coops
    coops

    Manu is a great player who could become world class - as long as he is used effectively. I see him filling the same role as Nonu has the the ABs - originally a powerhouse wing/13, evolving into a powerhouse 12 with a cracking pass and intelligent lines! A find a lot of the people who criticise Tuilagi will, in the same breath, sing the praises of Jamie Roberts. Both are big physical players who are used to get over the gainline. In fact, I think Manu would be more effective if he is used the way Wales use Roberts - first receiver off a lineout just to smash into the 10. Route 1 but boy it's good.

    Reply
  •  rugby08
    rugby08

    Eh? JDV won the battle because he's a better player? That's not how it works is it? I thought whoever wins the battle, wins the battle and it certainly looked like Manu won most of the collision battles!

    Reply
  •  rugby08
    rugby08

    I bet Manu loved playing agains the Boks. Get in there son!!!!

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    Based upon this series I think that's a pretty accurate conclusion, simply because England lack a quality playmaker at flyhalf. I don't think Flood or Farrel have the ability to really give this guy the space he needs against top flight international test teams. Throw someone like Jonny Sexton or Berrick Barnes into this England team and I really think we'd start to see this backline come alive. The likes of Tuilagi, Joseph and Ashton would thrive off of their defence splitting passes. Perhaps Cipriani or Ford can be this missing link? Not sure.

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Thinking back to the autumn series I got to say the song "Invincible" by Skindred reminds me of the final NZ IRE test....

    Reply
  •  guy
    guy

    I am all for spiffy and skillfull line movements by the 3/4ers but man, this kind of battle has something epic about it too. And I love it. Imho Tuilagi matches the physicality of the Springboks centres. He might lack a little bit skill at the moment but hey, that's what they said of Nonu too in the first 15-20 matches he played for the All Blacks....let's just give him some time to evolve. At least there seems to be nothing wrong with his commitment to the white shirt. All in all: great to watch those clips in a row. Thanks RD!

    Reply
  •  breakaway
    breakaway

    I agree that from what I saw of the series JDV did win this battle, mostly because he's just a better player. I only see Tuilagi every now and then and maybe I'm missing something but, as ilovebacon says, he's a great battering ram but it seems to so often just end there. I think he needs the support of creative runners with better lines than England can offer at the moment, someone to offload to after the bash.

    Reply
  • The brush-off by JdV on Tuilagi in the clip reminded me of my favorite moment from the mid-year tests: Rob Kearney shoving SBW to the side as if he weren't a giant of a man. But that's another story. I thought the write-up summed it up well. Tuilagi had plenty moments of great play - his battering-ram-brilliance, but nothing that lifted England up to another level or anything. But that's the way things go sometimes. I was also glad to see de Villiers playing as though he were still in his 20s. I thought he captained his side pretty well.

    Reply
  •  pretzel
    pretzel

    Looks like a brilliant individual battle between the two blokes. Magnificent to see. Loved the picture describing the post (with the hug). It does make the game when you and an opponent have a good battle through the 80 minutes and then have a laugh a handshake and a drink about if afterwards. Really brings about the spirit of rugby in my opinion. I don't really know of any other game where teams or individuals share this kind of experience. Especially not something that involves knocking lumps out of each other. For the record, from the video I'd say JDV won that battle through experience...

    Reply

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