A few months ago young Motu Matu’u knocked out a player with a brutal hit, but made sure he helped him straight away. It was reminiscent of this famous incident almost ten years ago, which featured a huge tackle and some wonderful sportsmanship.
Back in 2003, ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Australia, Wales had a summer tour down south which included a 55-3 walloping at the hands of the All Blacks.
The moment that stood out in the game – aside from many great tries – was when Jerry Collins demolished opposite number Colin Charvis with a powerful hit that put the number eight in hospital. He suffered whiplash, and was reportedly checked on every two hours through the night.
After the tackle took place, play continued but Tana Umaga, seeing the seriousness of Charvis’ condition, went to his aid to clear his breathing passage, and placed him in the recovery position.
“When I got knocked out Tana was brilliant – I was unconscious but he rolled me over and ensured I didn’t swallow my gum-shield,” Charvis said when recalling the incident later.
Umaga’s act of concern for his fellow player resulted in him receiving an international fair play award, the Pierre de Coubertin medal, and was also acknowledged by the Welsh Rugby Union.
“It shows you there are things in life that are bigger than just a game,” said Martyn Williams.
“Worse things can happen in life than defeat. You still wake up the next morning and get on with life. It was a great thing for Tana to do.”
Collins, who made the huge hit, said: “I was a bit worried when he went down. I could hear something go crack. Years later he downplayed the incident though, saying that the media makes too much of that tackle.
“Colin is a nice bloke and he’s a lot bigger than me, so I don’t want to say anything about it! In the loose forwards people get hit like that all the time and it might happen to me anytime.”
You can view the infamous tackle below, however at the time the television producers didn’t realise what Umaga was doing, so there was no clear footage of it on the live feed