Saturday, July 04, 2015
The Highlanders earlier beat the Hurricanes 21-14 in a sensational Super Rugby Final that featured brilliant offloads and an incredibly high tempo of play throughout. One of the tries of the match was scored by flanker Elliot Dixon, or was it?
The first half was played at a thousand miles an hour, with both sides showing that despite it being a final, if the mindset is right, players can attack from anywhere on the park, retain possession and produce some thrilling rugby.
Both sides threw the ball about, with very little kicking for territory, and very few scrums. Referee Jaco Peyper let the game flow, and fans were treated to a spectacle that will not only go down as one of the best finals of all time, but easily one of the more memorable Super Rugby games to have been played.
Following a well taken Ma'a Nonu try, the Highlanders hit back when Elliot Dixon surged over the line, showing incredible pace and power before grounding the ball. He didn't look too convinced himself - probably not helping his cause - but TMO Ben Skeen decided that after many looks at it, the try was indeed scored.
Dixon said post match that he's had a few close calls this season, so expected this one to go against him too. Luck was on his side though as the try was awarded and the Highlanders stayed ahead, as they were all game.
"I actually thought he'd lost the ball but we tend to look at these things out of our own eyes," said Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd. "At the end of the day, it was pretty critical."
They went on to win their first ever Super Rugby title, a phenomenal effort away from home to what has been the best team in the competition. Congratulations to Jamie Joseph and his entire squad.
View the try below, with more highlights and clips to follow soon
Friday, July 03, 2015
Sky Sport New Zealand have put together this quick compilation featuring some of the biggest tackles of the 2015 Super Rugby season. Most of the big ones were featured here on RD, but some weren't and they're all worth another look anyway. Enjoy
The Super Rugby final between Highlanders and Hurricanes kicks off tomorrow and it promises to be an exciting, fast-paced, high-intensity, full-blooded affair.
The two teams faced each other in Round 17 with the 'Canes running out easy 56-20 winners, but tomorrow night's final will be different.
Highlanders field the same side that beat the Waratahs 35-17 and are in to the final thanks to their dogged forwards, the calmness and vision of Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga, and the clinical play of Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and the underappreciated Patrick Osbourne.
The Hurricanes meanwhile have blitzed everything in their path, bar the Tahs and Crusaders. Beauden Barrett has returned from injury to steer the ship while Julian Savea, Ma'a Nonu, Nehe Milner-Skudder and James Marshall look to score every time they touch the ball.
Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith will have an emotional night as he plays his last game for the franchise before he moves to Pau in the summer.
Kick off is at 19.35 (07:35 GMT, 08:35 BST) on Saturday in Wellington.
You can view the best bits from each side's semi finals in the video below
1.Reggie Goodes, 2.Dane Coles, 3.Ben Franks, 4.Jeremy Thrush, 5.James Broadhurst, 6.Brad Shields, 7.Ardie Savea/Callum Gibbins, 8.Victor Vito, 9.TJ Perenara, 10.Beauden Barrett, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.Conrad Smith (c), 14.Nehe Milner-Skudder, 15.James Marshall Reserves: 16.Motu Matu'u, 17.Chris Eves, 18.Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19.Callum Gibbins/Mark Abbott, 20.Blade Thomson, 21.Chris Smylie, 22.Rey Lee-Lo, 23.Matt Proctor
1. Brendon Edmonds, 2. Liam Coltman, 3. Josh Hohneck, 4. Alex Ainley, 5. Mark Reddish, 6. Elliot Dixon, 7. James Lentjes, 8. Nasi Manu (co-captain), 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Lima Sopoaga, 11. Patrick Osborne, 12. Richard Buckman, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 14. Waisake Naholo, 15. Ben Smith (co-captain) Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown 18. Ross Geldenhuys 19. Joe Wheeler 20. Gareth Evans 21. Shane Christie 22. Fumiaki Tanaka 23. Marty Banks
Who do you think will win and by how much?
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Australia and Waratahs fullback Israel Folau has signed a fresh three year flexible contract with Australian Rugby this week. It is a deal that will keep the 26 year-old available for national selection until the end of 2018. More info below, plus a tribute video.
An omnipresent figure in the Wallabies setup since his debut in 2013, Folau has remarkably played in the last 29 consecutive matches and scored 17 tries.
He marked his arrival on the Union stage after 6 years in League with a two-try performance in the first test against the British and Irish Lions.
Last season, he played a significant role in the Waratahs' first Super Rugby title and has since shown equally standout form in 2015. His 25 tries for the Sydney based side put him just four behind leading try scorer Lote Tuqiri.
But he won't be adding to his Waratahs scorecard any time soon however. Folau will join Japanese Top League side NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes along with fellow Super Rugby players Eben Etzebeth and Handre Pollard after this year's Rugby World Cup.
The flexible deal will allow Folau to play his rugby outside Australia and still be available for selection for the Wallabies. Speaking of his new deal, Folau said: "I've already had so many great moments and experiences in Rugby over the past few years, but I feel like I am still just scratching the surface of what I am capable of, which is something that really excites me."
"In the end, there is still so much I want to achieve playing Rugby in Australia and am thrilled to now have my contract sorted through until the end of 2018."
A man who is just as pleased to have retained Folau's services for the forseeable future is current Waratahs and Australia coach Michael Cheika.
"He works extremely hard at being the exceptional talent he is, and is someone all Australian Rugby fans can be excited about seeing in the gold jersey for a long time yet.
"He has developed his game so much in the two and a half years since he initially joined the Waratahs, and I know he has a burning desire to continue growing as a player over the next few seasons. Israel is one of Rugby's truly world-class individuals, and he is the type of person and player that you want setting the standards in any team environment," Cheika said.
You can watch some of Israel Folau's best moments of 2015 in this tribute video below:
video credit: 7rugbyvids
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Last week we saw Brumbies back Christian Lealiifano mic'd up, giving us insight into what goes on during a professional rugby match. Well the BBC have stepped things up, placing a mic on courageous rugby league forward Ashton Sims of the Warrington Wolves.
Sims charges around the paddock, making tackles, big carries and giving his teammates a mouthful on the way to a Challenge Cup quarter final victory over Leigh Centurions.
Australian Sims, now 30-years-old, has played in the NRL for St. George Illawarra, the Broncos and the Cowboys. He has also played for Fiji in the Rugby League World Cup.
He said post match that the footage was cringeworthy, while fans of all sports will no doubt disagree, appreciating his commitment, leadership and sportsmanship. It really is awesome to watch. Also, look out for the sensational finish by Kevin Penny about 35 seconds in.
You can watch that great try in full, with replays, on page two
What does it feel like to be tackled by a rugby league player? This is the closest most of us will ever get.Posted by BBC Sport on Sunday, June 28, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Saracens winger Chris Ashton sits down with Nick Heath to discuss taking his opportunity with England, how he's perceived by the fans, his young teammate Maro Itoje and what it will take for England to get the mental edge at the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
On his perceived arrogance in some quarters, particularly around the 'Ash Splash' dive when scoring tries, Ashton says that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
"There's nothing I can do to alter that perception really. I enjoy scoring tries and if that offends people, me diving over the line, then that is their decision."
View more clips from Ashton's colourful career so far in the Related Posts below
Thanks to Nick from Rugby Media for the insightful chat